Most people today are super busy, multi-tasking, and trying to juggle all of the demands of your “to-do-list." With everything we have going on, most find that when they want to lose weight and get healthy, they feel that they just don't have the time to figure out where to start.
What Is Detoxification?
Detoxification refers to the body’s ability to flush out harmful toxins and chemicals, and it has a mechanism in place for ridding itself of these harmful items that can lead to health issues. When you use the bathroom, exhale, and sweat, your body is excreting substances that it has no use for, or that could cause harm. However, the organs involved in these processes sometimes get overwhelmed and need a break. Like any system that works 24 hours a day, the human body sometimes just needs some “down time.”
Long Term vs. Short Term Detox
Detox programs can be short-term or long-term, but they all aim to release toxins from the body. Short-term detox programs may include a 24-hour juice fasting, chelation therapy, heavy metal removal, colon cleansing (colonics), skin cleansing, mercury removal, and even intravenous injections.
Long-term detox programs should include, but are not limited to dietary changes such as avoiding meats, high-carbohydrates or sweeteners, and eating more vegetables, fruits & garlic, drinking fluids (water, vegetable and fruit juice, herbal tea), and possibly taking vitamins and supplements. It is also recommended to exercise, and to try alternative therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and stress reduction like massage, herbal soaks, or meditation.
Long-term detoxing works best because everyday our bodies try to protect us from dangerous substances by pulling them aside, then surrounding them with mucous & fat, so that they will not cause an imbalance or trigger an immune response. Because of this, some people carry up to 15 extra pounds of mucous that harbors this waste.
Detoxing Does Not Mean Deprivation
Because most of us equate a detox with deprivation, and think it means enduring hunger, weird food, kale juice and colonics, many people do not even attempt one. The good news is that you do not have to deprive yourself to detox. Even though doing this may make you feel better at the end, it's difficult and unnecessary to go through the pain and suffering. You don’t have to suffer, you can detox by eating fabulous, delicious food, and it’s a giant jumpstart for your health and a reboot for your metabolism. It’s easy to do and a direct route to feeling fabulous.
Detoxification through consuming certain cleansing foods assists the body’s natural self-cleaning system. It is especially important for immune-compromised diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and chronic fatigue. However, even if your diet is good, a spring cleanse can revitalize your system and rid your body of harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. Below are some simple detox tips to get you started.
Signs Your Body Needs A Detox
If you’ve noticed that any of the following issues occur on a regular basis, you’re likely overdue for a detox. It may not be the cure-all for everyone, but in many cases it can vastly improve the situation, and is the perfect starting point towards fixing certain health issues for good.
- Digestive issues like Constipation
- Migraines, Headaches
- Hormone Imbalances, Infertility
- Anxiety, Depression, Mood Swings
- Difficulty Concentrating, Brain Fog
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Autoimmune Diseases, or Cancer
- Muscle or Joint Pain
- Skin Problems/Allergic Reactions
Cleansing The Body’s Organs
Detoxification is helpful in cleansing the blood and lymphatic systems, cleansing the colon of impurities, and giving the kidneys and liver (the main blood filtering organs) a rest. You should also work on cleaning out the lungs even if you're a non-smoker.
Nutrient-rich foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and high quality lean animal protein contain vitamins and minerals that can help heal the gut and strengthen your immune system. Toxic foods include alcohol, sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and sometimes gluten. While these foods may not be harmful in moderation, they can wreak havoc on your gut and your health when consumed in excess.
Detoxing The Skin
The skin is the largest organ and sometimes called ‘the third kidney’. The skin is constantly exposed to the elements and environmental toxins. Many toxins are then forced out through perspiration, acne and in dead skin cells that flake off. Pores can become clogged with pollutants and dirt, causing breakouts and enlarged pores. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet helps tremendously, but you may also experience an increase in breakouts in the beginning as the skin flushes itself.
What might surprise you, is that a lot of toxins also make their way into our bodies though toiletries applied to the skin such as lotions and cosmetics. A wise idea is not to put anything on your skin you wouldn't eat. It’s important to treat the skin with topical ingredients that detoxify it from the outside in. The process is simple: cleanse, gently exfoliate, and moisturize with olive or coconut oil.
How To Detox The Skin
Dry skin brushing is one of the best ways to detox the skin. It removes dead skin cells, and it also stimulates the lymph drainage system which is a passive system that removes toxins from the tissues. The brushing really stimulates the flow of lymph to the lymph nodes and out of the body.
To prepare skin for topical treatment or an exfoliant, it must be thoroughly cleansed. Wash your face morning and evening to eliminate any debris, because this will prevent topicals from doing their job. Use a cleanser that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as Alpha Lipoic Acid or Vitamin C Ester.
The other thing that really detox’s the skin is alternating hot and cold showers to help move blood in and out of the skin. This “flushing” moves fresh blood and nutrients into the cells and removes toxins.
The liver is a major organ responsible for various digestive and metabolic functions, but it's most important function is to detoxify the body by neutralizing or eliminating various toxins. The liver also processes every transaction in the body by sorting, packaging, using and storing nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The rate at which the body can eliminate toxins determines the individual's susceptibility to toxic overload that can lead to symptoms of poor-health.
Foods for Liver Detoxification
Nurture this organ by eating plenty of beets, flax seeds, citrus fruits, garlic, cabbage, green tea,avocados, artichokes, green leafy vegetables, olives, pomegranates and watercress. Antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, resveratrol, and n-acetyl-cysteine can all help support the liver as it clears toxins and unwanted chemicals from your body. Once the liver is able to filter toxins out of the blood, it sends them off to be eliminated from the body in a few different ways like through urine, feces, and sweat.
The Kidneys are bean shaped organs located below the rib cage, on each side of the spine, and are a sophisticated system that filters the blood and sifts out waste products along with extra water. Along with excretion of waste materials, kidneys also produce three important hormones that regulate blood pressure, stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and maintain calcium levels.
Foods for Kidney Detoxification
For maintaining kidney health, consume plenty of anti-inflammatory items and foods that regulate mineral balance. Foods to be included are items like parsley, pepper, cilantro, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, cranberries, pomegranates, grapes and fish.
Stomach & Intestine Detoxification
The stomach, large intestine and small intestine are all involved in the break down, absorption and elimination of food and its nutrients. The food moving through the digestive tract is broken down into substances that can be readily absorbed. During this process, nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water are absorbed then transported for use in the body. This keeps your digestive system healthy, which keeps all the other systems healthy.
Foods for Stomach & Intestine Detox
The digestive tract requires a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber, prebiotic and probiotics for optimum health. Include foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, oats, dairy products like Greek yogurt & kefir, plenty of water, flax seeds and fermented foods.
Be sure you're having at least one bowel movement a day. This ensures that unwanted toxins are removed from your body. If you aren’t having one bowel movement per day, this is a sign that your gut is not functioning properly. If constipation has become a chronic problem for you, get more magnesium citrate, vitamin C, and fiber.
The gallbladder is located under the liver, and its primary function is to store the concentrated bile, a yellowish-brown digestive fluid that is produced by the liver. The bile helps the digestive process by emulsifying fats and neutralizing acid in the pre-digested food.
Foods for Gallbladder Detoxification
Certain nutrients are necessary to maintain the quality and integrity of the bile-without which it will become dark, thick and sluggish causing gallstones. These foods include beets, apples, plums,spinach, flax seed oil, olives, cucumber and lemon.
The Pancreas is located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach, and makes digestive enzymes that help us digest food. Enzymes are substances used to speed up body's processes. The Pancreas also makes hormones that regulate metabolism like Insulin for example.
Foods for Pancreas Detoxification
Foods that support the function of pancreas are the anti-inflammatory items and foods that help regulate blood sugar. These include tomatoes, greens, yogurt, flax seeds, fish, berries, broccoli,garlic, tofu, sweet potatoes, kiwi, grapes and mushrooms.
Poor diet, alcohol, drugs, medication and environmental toxins can cause impurities in blood. The blood is a specialised bodily fluid that supplies nutrients and substances like sugar, oxygen and hormones to every cell of the body. The blood acts as a drain for waste products, as it carries these items from tissues and cells, then transports it to various organs for excretion. The blood also helps seal off wounds due to injuries.
Foods for Blood Detox
Blood building and circulatory supporting foods include dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, french beans, garlic, ginger, parsley, pepper, whole grains and dairy products.
Lymphatic System Detoxification
The lymphatic system is comprised of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts and vessels that are located throughout the body. This network helps the body's immunity and works to fight infectionand helps to filter bacteria and waste. A slowdown in the lymphatic system makes it less effective in removing toxic cellular waste.
Foods for Lymphatic System Detoxification
Foods that support the lymph function include fish, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, Greek yogurt, kefir, garlic, asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and mushrooms.
The notion that lung damage is irreparable is not true. With proper nourishment and nurturing, your lungs can repair damaged tissues eventually. Even if one has never smoked, second hand cigarette smoke, industrial pollution, vehicular exhaust fumes and now chemtrails all contribute to some level of lung damage for almost everyone. So whether you once smoked or never puffed on chemical-laden, radioactive (from the fertilizer) tobacco, detoxing and regenerating lung tissue is still be appropriate for you.
Foods That Detox The Lungs
To detoxify lungs with food you must eat an overall better diet. Processed foods while cheap, easy and convenient are a drain on your body's health. The preservatives, chemicals and fats in these items cause serious problems for your immune system, blood sugar level and other parts of your body which all place pressure on an already unhealthy set of lungs.
It is better to buy and eat fresh fruit and vegetables as well as meats, and forego the packaged, processed crap that we so often fall prey to. This helps your entire body and you will notice a remarkable difference to your lungs too. Try eating more foods like garlic, onions, ginger, water &spicy foods like chili.
Hot and spicy foods such as chili are a great addiction to your meals! These spices have an effect on your body that liquefies mucus in your respiratory system, making it easier to flush out. This will remove a lot of tar and chemicals that are trapped in this mucus. It may be unpleasant to cough this stuff up, but it really does help your lungs detox a great deal.
Inhalation Treatments Using Essential Oils
You should do inhalations with essential oils like rosemary or eucalyptus twice or three times a week, which would help you cleanse your lungs from contamination. You don’t have to buy a special device for the inhalation. All you have to do is heat some water in a big pot, put a few drops of essential oil and place a towel over your head while you inhale. This is refreshing and will also help you if you’re dealing with breathing issues. In addition, it can be helpful when dealing with the flu, cold or some other respiratory problems.
More At-Home Detox Treatments
The following at-home detox treatments are simple, budget friendly ways to start a detox regime. The below detox routines are good "starting off" points.
Drink More Water
Water is essential for optimal health, as every cell in your body needs water to function properly, making hydration a crucial step in proper detoxification. Since more than half of the body is comprised of water, it’s important to take note of the quality of water that you consume, both by drinking and bathing. We absorb water internally as we drink it, but we also absorb water through our skin. Drinking filtered water is a great way to save money, preserve the environment, and avoid BPA.
The quality of the air we breathe is another significant factor in optimal health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns, “Indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2–5 times, and on occasion more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels.” You can protect your home environment with a HEPA air filter.
Another way to help your entire body detoxify is to exercise and use a sauna. Saunas help your body release a number of toxins, including heavy metals, like mercury, lead, and environmental chemicals. Try a sauna for 10-20 minute session at 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Epsom Bath Salts
Hot water draws toxins out of the body to the skin's surface, while the water cools it pulls toxins from the skin. Epsom salts augment this detoxification by causing you to sweat. Also, when added to water, these natural salts can help to cleanse the colon.
Just add lemon to your water through out the day, because the acid in the lemons assist the cleansing process. Citrus fruits, such as lemons, contain a pure concentrated form of citric acid that works like bleach on fat. Due to its acidity and high pH, citric acid is able to actually penetrate and break down fat molecules.
Prevention: Items To Stay Away From
Keeping toxins out of your body is the first step in detoxification. The best way to detoxify your body on a daily basis is to think about the food that you eat, the water that you drink, the items you absorb, and the air that you breathe.
Excessive amounts of certain foods can weaken your immune system and increase your risk for illness and inflammation. If your diet is high in tuna or other mercury-containing fish, consider reducing your intake or avoiding them altogether to avoid exposing your body to additional toxins, such as heavy metals. The best way to prevent toxins in your diet is to:
- Avoid Packaged Foods
- Avoid Inflammatory Foods (like gluten and processed foods)
- Avoid GMO Foods (like GM corn, GM soy, and canola oil)
- Avoid Fish That's High in Mercury (shark, swordfish, grouper, farmed salmon)
- Avoid Soda
- Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
- Limit Sugar Intake
- Choose Organic Foods as much as possible
This process can make weight loss and optimal health a breeze if you use these items daily, as consistency is key. I encourage everyone to actively detoxify their bodies on a daily basis, but you don't have to live off of green juice to do it.