Our bodies remove toxins every day - eliminating and counteracting toxins through our colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph and skin.
However, nowadays we're exposed to an overwhelming number of environmental pollutants in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Likewise, chemically-laden diets — those high in processed carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol — stop our bodies from correctly carrying out their detoxification processes.
Detoxing through the diet is a great way to give your body a break and support its natural self-cleansing system.
So what can you do to support your body get rid of toxins - that won't leave you 'hangry'?
- Starting your day with warm water and the juice of a lemon is an exceptional way to begin a day of supporting your body to detox. It’s also a lovely calming ritual to get into before the onslaught of the working day. Boil the kettle, slice up a lemon, and sip on the warming brew while you contemplate your blessings and just breathe
- On that note. Breathe. Breathing deeply, right down to your belly and expel all of the air out of your lungs. Do this a few times per day. Taking in more oxygen can have wonderful health benefits. By bringing more oxygen into the body, deep breathing is one of the best ways to get more of the blood's waste, or carbon dioxide, out of the body.
- After you’ve had your lemon in water, have a green juice. This will flood your body with nutrients and enzymes.
- Then, have a smoothie for breakfast (try my Breakfast in a Glass recipe). Smoothies are easy to digest and you’ll get a couple of servings of raw fruit and vegetables before you’ve even been tempted by the call of the coffee shop.
- For one week, eliminate any foods that don’t come to your door as close to as what nature intended. That means cook a few more meals at home, and whip up a few smoothies for breakfast instead of grabbing a coffee and muffin or bagel. See how you feel after a week and then add in only those foods that you know serve your health
- Take a little apple cider vinegar (ACV) before your meals. Along with many other benefits, ACV alkalizes the body and helps detox the liver. Buy the raw, unfiltered variety.
- Emphasise vegetables from the brassica family vegetables – kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips and radishes - are rich in many organic sulphur compounds, including diindolylmethane (DIM), indole-3-carbinole (I3C) and sulforaphane, which in many studies have been shown to support the detoxification process and reduce oxidative stress and protect brain cells, by inducing production of glutathione, a potent intracellular antioxidant. So go on, get your greens!!
- Just for a few days, pass on the coffee and try a herbal tea, or coffee alternative (I like BonVit dandelion and chicory blend). Caffeine is definitely one of the chemicals you need to eliminate when supporting your body to detox
- Work up a sweat. Anything from a cardio session, HIIT kettlebells or bikram yoga will do wonders for expelling toxins through your skin. Just make sure to take a shower soon afterwards to ensure those toxins don’t get absorbed back into your body.
- Dry body brush before showering. This not only leaves your skin softer, but helps your largest elimination organ do its job of ridding the body of toxins.
A little note on supplements… I could write screeds on detox supplements, however supplementation for detox is useless without getting the dietary basics right.
If you feel the urge to support your liver a little more (especially if you’re used to drinking a fair amount of alcohol) a Milk Thistle supplement could also be highly beneficial while you sort out your diet.
You don’t need to starve yourself, or invest a whole lot of money in a cleanse programme. With just a few of the suggestions above you can keep your liver, kidneys and skin youthful, and support your body in one of its most basic functions.