If you believe eating a few raw vegetables, giving caffeine and alcohol a miss, or trying out a few pre-mixed juices or powdered supplements amounts to detoxification – think again! There are numerous ways to eliminate harmful toxins from your body and we're here to tell you how – but first, why do we need to detox?
Cleansing the body with a detox offers many potential health benefits, including increased energy, improved digestion, less inflammation, and – in some instances – a reduction in body weight. When you detox, you give your body an opportunity to recover, clean itself and strengthen your immune system.
The most important thing you can do to rid your body of toxins is to take care of your liver. Why? Over 500 fundamental bodily tasks are carried out by this large and most complicated organ. These include eliminating waste materials and foreign substances from the bloodstream, controlling blood sugar levels, and producing vital nutrients. It literally is designed to detoxify your system, and you cannot survive without it.
Changing your diet is one of the easiest ways to boost the efficiency of your body's natural detoxification system. Fried foods and sugary drinks are tough for the liver to metabolise and can lead to liver fat and eventually non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Alcohol will add even more fat to your liver. So remember: whatever you consume, including medicines, will affect how well the liver functions.
As well as toxins from bodily waste products, we are also affected by those that enter the body from the environment (exotoxins). These include pesticides in food, pollutants in the air or water, and chemicals found in cleaning products and cosmetics. All have the capacity to alter blood sugar levels, deplete nutrient reserves, cause the accumulation of contaminants like heavy metals, and induce chronic inflammation.
Jumpstart your day with a glass of warm lemon-flavoured water. Not only will this invigorating concoction flush out impurities from the body by acting as a natural diuretic, but it will also help to purify and stimulate the liver. The average citrus fruit contains 3 tablespoons of juice and, with a little grated ginger to aid digestion and boost metabolism, you'll have one of the most refreshing natural home remedies for detoxification. Don't forget, lemons are a natural energiser too, and their distinct citrus scent will leave you feeling revitalised after every sip.
Reduce your intake of sugar and avoid processed foods by switching to whole foods (preferably organic) such as cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds, sustainably raised meat, fish, eggs, and oils like olive and coconut oil, with as little processing as possible. Plant chlorophylls, such as those found in dark leafy greens like dandelions, arugula, spinach, kale, and even algae like chlorella, are effective at ridding the body of harmful toxins.
Include parsley in your detox plan. This versatile herb acts as a natural diuretic and aids in the prevention of bloating. It provides a concentrated source of nutrients and is particularly rich in vitamin C, which is anti-inflammatory. Cilantro is another excellent choice because it has been demonstrated to aid in the elimination of mercury and lead from the body.
Intermittent fasting can be approached in a variety of ways. Some recommend fasting at specific times of the day: for example, you may eat every day from noon until 8 p.m., and then abstain from food from 8 p.m. until noon the next day. Others ask you to fast exclusively on specific days of the week. Approaches and outcomes differ, but this method of restricting calorie consumption has been proven to be beneficial to health in a number of ways, including helping you to lose weight and visceral fat.
There is no more effective method to give your body a thorough spring clean than by detoxing, although simply drinking plenty of water and getting a good night's sleep are just as important when following any detox programme.
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