When somebody mentions a natural body detox, the first thing on your mind is probably a strict detox diet, binging on smoothies or obligatory fasting. But what if we told you that, in a way, this is a big fat lie (pun intended)? Your body has its own detoxification system that is usually more than capable of doing its job. However, being exposed to hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or heavy metals, especially when coupled with heavy mental and physical stress, can prove too much for our body’s natural detox mechanism to deal with. And in this case, we need to give the detoxification process a little boost. Wondering how to do it? Stick around, we’ve got you covered!
The Proper Way to Detox Your Body Naturally? Help It Do Its Job!
Our bodies have a complex detoxification system consisting of the liver, kidneys, digestive system, lungs, skin and other organs. In order for these organs to be able to flush out harmful substances, we need to keep them healthy. If they have too much load to carry, for example due to an unhealthy lifestyle and stress, they might not be able to complete their tasks efficiently.
As you can imagine, this is the worst-case scenario for our health. When our bodies become overloaded with toxins, the detoxification mechanism slows down. Consequently, harmful substances stay in our system too long, which can present problems for the metabolism and thus lead to bloating, constipation and other digestive issues, along with allergies, weight gain, exhaustion, chronic fatigue and other health issues.
So, what is the best way to cleanse your body of all this waste?
It’s important to remember that a detox diet itself doesn’t do anything miraculous that your body can’t do on its own. Such a diet is, however, vital in ensuring that your body can make use of its full detox potential.
This means that detoxification should not be seen as an instant or one dimensional solution, as drinking smoothies for 14 days and continuing with unhealthy lifestyle choices will not help you stay healthier. Instead, a successful detoxification process should be based on a well-planned healthy diet that improves your body’s own processes, provides strength, and restores energy. It is a long-term goal rather than a quick fix. Despite the fact that the term detoxification reminds us of freeing our bodies of toxic substances, this should be understood as an ongoing process of improving eating habits, as well as the overall quality of life.
In most cases, people focus on weight loss as the goal of their diet instead of cleansing the body of accumulated harmful substances by changing their approach to food. However, a long-term solution involving fresh organic foods, a healthy dose of exercise and less stress is the way to go.
What Does Detoxification even Mean?
Essentially, natural body detox means cleansing the blood of impurities. The centre of this process is the liver, which not only transforms the toxins but also eliminates them. The kidneys, gastrointestinal system, lungs, blood vessels and skin also take part in this very complex process.
And how can a detox diet aid this process? Firstly, avoiding certain foods, such as when fasting, means that we give our organs some well-deserved rest, making it easier for the liver to flush harmful substances out of the system. We also boost toxin elimination through other organs and speed up the circulation of blood. By enjoying proper detox foods, we also replenish our bodies with beneficial nutrients.
When do I Need to Detox?
If our bodies can detoxify on their own, how do we know when they need some assistance? Some experts suggest that everyone should undergo a detox diet at least a few times a year. However, not everyone is suitable for this. If you, for example, suffer from some chronic metabolic conditions, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, have some dietary disorders (bulimia or anorexia nervosa), if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you suffer from “burn-out” syndrome, as well as any other kind of chronic condition, it is wise to get approval from your doctor before embarking on your chosen cleansing journey.
But if you haven’t suffered from any medical issues lately and just can’t help but notice that your body has been acting up, these are possible signs that you need a proper detox diet and some relaxation:
- Bloating, slow digestion, constipation
- Bags under the eyes
- Increased susceptibility to infections or allergies
- Periods of unexplained fatigue
- Inability to focus on anything properly
What follows are some home detox methods that can serve as your first line of defence …
Take a Break from Drinking Alcohol …
Did you know that your liver metabolises over 90% of the alcohol that you consume? And while a glass of wine a day certainly won’t hurt, drinking too much can damage it beyond repair. Irresponsible alcohol consumption contributes to fat building up in liver cells while also causing fibrosis (scarring) and inflammation.
Once the liver stops functioning normally, it is unable to filter other toxins out of the body, keeping waste in and contributing to a multitude of dangerous health issues.
If you want your liver, and with it your natural detox mechanism, to function at its best, our advice is to first cut back on drinking. While the latest studies show that modest amounts of alcohol can improve your cardiovascular health, experts still limit the maximum daily intake to one drink for women and two for men.
… and Drink Water Instead!
If only the world knew how beneficial drinking water is for our health. It speeds up the digestive system, contributes to efficient nutrient absorption and helps to flush toxins out of the body, thus playing a vital role in natural detoxification.
We can consider water as a means of transport for harmful waste that needs to be removed from the body. As it is vital to the release of toxins while we breathe, sweat or urinate, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to cleanse your body naturally.
So how can we know we’re hydrated enough? It’s difficult, as the amount of water you need depends on several factors, such as your diet, the outside temperature or the amount of exercise you do. However, experts suggest that men should drink around 4 litres daily and women a litre less.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the adequate daily fluid intake is as follows:
- About 15 cups (3.7 litres) of fluids for men
- About 11 cups (2.7 litters) of fluids daily for women
It’s also important to remember that these recommendations cover all fluids – from water, other drinks and food. Around 80 percent of our total water intake usually comes from drinking water as well as other beverages (including coffee), while the rest comes in the form of food.
Water is also crucial if you need to remove salt from the body. Too much sodium will make it retain too much fluid, releasing a hormone that makes you unable to urinate. However, if you drink more water then this slows down the secretion of the hormone, leading to normal urination and quickly flushing your body clean. This is of utmost importance, as excess fluid retention can hurt your kidneys or liver, and thus mess up your detox mechanism.
Let’s just finish this chapter with a word of warning. Although this is very uncommon, it’s actually possible to drink too much water. Don’t think that just because it isn’t beer or wine that it can’t hurt us. When your kidneys can’t excrete the excess water, the sodium content of your blood is diluted (hyponatremia), and this can even have life-threatening consequences.
What if I just Can’t Stand Drinking Water?
If you hate the taste (or lack thereof) of water, don’t give up on your detoxification efforts just yet. You can try a glass with a little freshly squeezed lemon juice. Drinking this every morning is especially beneficial for boosting your digestion while making sure you start the day properly hydrated.
Another great idea is adding green tea to your morning (or daily) routine. Combine it with tea made from a combination of herbs for detox. Use dandelion, turmeric, milk thistle, nettle or even red clover …
Want to go a step further? Make yourself a nice fresh vegetable juice. Just use the veggies you enjoy or that are in your fridge and throw them into the juicer. And if you want to make it extra healthy, make sure to include veggies such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, beet or kale.
One more great tip that can help you quickly and easily get rid of harmful substances in your body naturally is drinking Donat. Its benefits for a healthy digestion have been scientifically proven, as its unique combination of sulphate ions and magnesium has been known to boost the digestive system for more than four centuries now. By relaxing the bowels and helping pass the stool out of your system, Donat is one way of making sure that all the toxins are released in time, instead of sticking around in your body and causing you harm.
Stop Cooking with Toxic Oils
Do you use vegetable or sunflower oil when preparing food? If your answer is yes, we suggest you change the way you cook. When heated up, these oils, along with cotton seed or canola oils, release toxic chemicals that scientists link to cancer, and they can even affect our brains.
Fortunately, there are alternatives that will fit your detox plan a lot better. Try olive or coconut oil and enjoy rich flavours without putting your detoxification system, and thus your health, at risk. Some even prefer to use lard.
Say No to White Sugar and Processed Foods
We know how tempting sweets are and how hard it is to say no to a cheeky little dessert waiting on the table. But the knowledge that sugary foods will prevent your body from detoxifying itself might convince you to commit to cutting down on sugar.
Sugary and processed foods can, for example, cause a condition known as fatty liver, generating fat in liver cells and thus preventing this organ from performing at its best. Not having unhealthy snacks on your counter or anywhere else in your kitchen might thus prove to be a vital step in the direction of a more efficient and effective natural body detox.
However, don’t think that you need to completely forget about your favourite junk foods. Don’t feel bad when you pamper yourself with some comfort. Enjoy every bite instead, knowing very well that you won’t experience this every day.
Antioxidants for a Natural Detox Cleanse
If we’re going to talk about the best detox diet, we just can’t leave antioxidants out of the discussion. They will guard your body from the harmful effects of free radicals. These molecules are actually the by-products of various chemical reactions and processes, which means that they occur naturally in the body. However, if the body produces them in excess, for example due to smoking, eating processed foods or exposure to toxins, they can inflict damage to the cells. Therefore, they are associated with several life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, liver malfunction, premature aging, and so on.
For this reason, some of the best detox foods are those rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, like oranges, kiwi, nuts, avocados, etc. We bet you have some antioxidant-rich foods at home right now – such as onions, garlic, greens, citruses, pumpkins, and eggplants. And don’t even get us started with green tea, a superb choice in the fight against oxidative stress.
Even if you’d never give up steak or ribs, trust us when we tell you that vegetables, fruits and herbs are not only amazing detox foods, but can also taste great – even raw! Try to find combinations that you like and don’t bother with preparation. Just use them as a snack instead of chips or cookies.
Fruit, vegetables and herbs are awesome for detox diet as they contain fibre, thus improving your digestion and with it the cleansing process. What’s more, they contain enzymes that will help your body efficiently absorb all those vital nutrients. But tread carefully – some people might have issues digesting raw vegetables, and if you’re one of these then just cook your veggies a little before you eat them.
And there’s one more benefit of occasionally embracing a more vegetarian style of eating. You can easily increase your daily intake of potassium, which has the ability to counterbalance some of the harmful effects caused by too much salt. Beans and spinach are great sources of this, while a healthy snack including a banana is not a bad choice either.
And what about herbs for detox? They’re great antioxidants, too, also providing antibacterial effects, boosting digestion and much more. Try cilantro, milk thistle, neem leaves, mint, red clover or ground ivy.
An Active Lifestyle by Day and a Good Night’s Sleep at Night
Regular physical activity is key to a full body detox, as it reduces inflammation, boosts the digestive system and flushes out toxins through the sweat we produce. However, it’s equally important to get enough rest, as our bodies need time to remove all the toxic by-products of the processes taking place in our systems. Make sure you get enough sleep every night, as this means that your body has enough time to get rid of any toxins