'Detox' has been a buzz-word among health and nutrition enthusiasts for decades now, and there's no shortage of detox diets, supplements and fancy products to support you on your journey. I see you raise your eyebrow: isn't the point of a detox to get rid of foreign elements in our bodies, not add them?
You're absolutely right! It turns out, everything we need to flush our bodies clean has been provided for us by dear Mother Earth. You can cleanse, refresh and reboot your systems with a slew of helpful foods, spices and drinks, as well as a focus on healthy lifestyle habits. These natural detox techniques guarantee that everything you're putting in your body is fresh, clean and wholesome, with no synthetic compounds or additives. You probably already have a lot of detoxing delights in your pantry and cupboards, so there's no need to splash out on an expensive cure.
Before we dive into the foodstuffs that will help you cleanse your body, it pays to look more closely at what precisely a detox is, and what you're trying to achieve.
What is a Full Body Detox, and what are we flushing out?
In short, a detox - detoxification - is the removal of toxins from your body. This could be through urination and sweat or digestion and defecation. The toxins in question are harmful agents, absorbed into your body from food, water, air and through your skin.
Your body actually has a natural capacity to flush out toxins. An innate detox system, involving your liver, kidney, digestive system, lungs and skin, keeps your insides as free from harmful agents as possible. If you've been feeling tired, lethargic or unmotivated, often fall ill, or over/under-eat regularly, it might be that your body needs a helping hand in getting rid of those pesky toxins.
An excellent place to start is simply to remove synthetic and artificial elements in your environment. Purify the air in your home, use only natural beauty and hygiene products and focus on sustainable, whole, organic food. Work up a sweat a few times a week to help flush out toxins through your skin pores, drink lots and lots of water to keep all your systems working at peak capacity and reduce the external stressors in your lifestyle.
Natural Ways to Cleanse your Body
If you've decided to give your body a detox boost and spend a few days flushing out harmful substances, then following a few easy practices is all you need to do to feel brand-spanking new!
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
High consumption of alcohol has a twofold effect on your metabolism. Firstly, it can result in the over-production of free radicals, harmful molecules that actively damage your cells. Additionally, since alcohol is mostly metabolised in the liver, it can quickly clog up your liver function and reduce your metabolic capacity. Excessive alcohol in your liver furthermore causes fat build-up, inflammation, scarring and long-term damage.
If you're going on a cleanse, there's no point removing existing toxins if you're also adding them as you go! Reduce your alcohol consumption for the cleanse period to improve liver function and metabolism, and limit the production of harmful molecules. This way, you can be sure of a complete reboot by the time the cleanse is over!
Steer Clear of Sugary, Processed and Refined Foods
You can never be too sure what, where and how these foods have been treated before they arrive on your plate. What you can be sure of is that they're higher in processed sugars, salt, oil, calories and synthetic or artificial compounds, and poorer in natural nutrients, minerals and probiotics.
Your body receives an aggressive jolt of sugars, salts and fats while lacking essential nutrition. This leaves you vulnerable to hunger pangs and cravings, making it more challenging to stick to a cleanse plan or diet. Steer clear of these foods that put lots of nasties in your body and don't actually feed you!
Decrease Your Salt Intake
A salt-rich diet can cause water-retention, leaving you feeling bloated and uncomfortable and interrupting your natural detox processes. Give your body a helping hand by reducing the amount of sodium in your diet and drinking more water, thus helping to flush out the bad guys.
Start the Day with Warm Water and Lemon Juice
Lemon contains a slew of great vitamins and nutrients that boost your general wellbeing, but for the particular purposes of a cleanse, lemon's folic acid content helps eliminate toxins and enhance metabolism. Ingested on an empty stomach, its effect is magnified. Start the day right by kickstarting your metabolism and detox systems with a yummy lemon concoction. Add grated ginger for an extra boost!
Drink Lots of Green and Herbal Teas
Green tea is chockful of anti-oxidants, which protect your cells against those free radicals we heard about earlier. They also assist in flushing out a host of other toxic substances. As well as this, green tea helps to cleanse your digestive system, improving your metabolism and boosting your body's natural detox processes.
Love Bone Broth
Bone broth is dense in amino acids, especially glycine. This particular amino acid actively supports liver detoxification, so it's the perfect ally in a full-body detox! Of course, bone broth is rich in a host of other helpful nutrients, like collagen, minerals, electrolytes and hyaluronic acid, all of which are essential to your general health.
Keep your Diet Pro Probiotics
Don't forget to keep feeding your bacterial buddies! Maintaining gut health is paramount to ensuring effective digestion and metabolism, as well as supporting your immunity while you switch up your dietary habits. Drinking kefir water and adding unrefined and unpasteurized ACV to your water, salads or smoothies is a great way to support gut health.
Eating foods rich in prebiotics is also key to keeping your probiotics happy. Some of these include tomatoes, artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, and oats.
Raw Fruits and Veggies
Raw fruits and veggies are a fantastic source of fibre, nutrients and vitamins. They also contain enzymes that support nutrient absorption, making sure you're getting the best out of your cleanse! Add them to super salads, blend them into juices or snack on them during the day to make sure you're still getting everything you need.