5 Simple Ways to Detox Every Day
Once or twice a year, it's a good idea to do a detox or cleanse to rebalance the gut, reduce inflammation and help mooooove stored toxins out of your body. I'm currently working on a 28 day detox program designed to help you do just that... details coming soon... but that's not what this blog post is about! I have detox on the brain so I thought I would share a few things that you can do EVERY DAY, whether you're on a detox program or NOT, to support your body's detoxification.
Toxins build up in our bodies from the air we breathe, the food we eat and the medicine we take. Our bodies are thankfully equipped to eliminate toxins a few different ways: by processing in the liver, through the kidneys, through the colon and through the skin. The lungs also help us eliminate toxins as we breathe. So, while our bodies have all the machinery to detoxify on their own, we can do certain things help these organs do their jobs more effectively. And you can start these simple habits TODAY!
1. Eat Lots of Fibre
I'm not just talking about Metamucil or all-bran cereal. I'm talking about real, whole foods like vegetables, fruit, lentils, beans and grains. We want these foods in our diets for lots of reasons, but their fibre content is key for detoxification. Have you ever noticed that when you don't eat your veggies, you get backed up? That's because fibre helps to add bulk to the stool, making it move through the bowels easily, pulling toxins with it. It's not gross, it's science! If we don't get this movement happening, toxins and hormones that are meant to be eliminated end up getting re-absorbed through the colon.
2. Drink Water
The obvious one! But seriously, the amount of people I meet who aren't drinking enough water... almost EVERYONE could do with an extra litre per day! It's simple: if you're not drinking water, toxins aren't being eliminated through your urine. And, if your colon is dehydrated, you won't be pooping properly- bad news for detoxification! If you struggle with drinking enough water, here are my top three tips:
Buy a really great water bottle and bring it with you everywhere. Everywhere. Carry it with you from room to room. Just like you'd never go anywhere without your cell phone, never go anywhere without your water bottle!
Pair drinking water with another activity you do often. For example, every time you watch Netflix, grab a glass of water. Every time you sit down to check your email in the morning, pour yourself some water. On your commute home, drink a bottle of water. Choose something you do daily and never do it without also drinking water!
Make yourself a specific water goal and track it. Eg. "Drink 2 full S'well bottles before lunch", or "drink 2 1 litre bottles before dinner". Choose something measurable, so that you know when you've achieved your goal. "Drink more water" is too vague!
3. MOVE your body
Exercise helps us detoxify in two ways. Firstly, it helps us sweat. When the liver and kidneys are over loaded, the body will use sweat to rid itself of toxins. So smart, body! Secondly, movement helps circulate the lymphatic fluid in our bodies, which is how toxins and waste to get from our cells to the detox organs. The lymphatic system doesn't have a pump to help it move, like the circulatory system has the heart, so it relies on us moving our muscles and our lungs to move the fluid to the right places. If we're stagnant, detox doesn't happen effectively!
4. Include Liver Supporting Foods
Certain foods contain compounds that the liver needs in order to function optimally. Surprise, surprise, the best liver foods are mostly vegetables! #veggiesarelife. Here's the short list: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Beets, Cauliflower and Kale. I always try to incorporate garlic into my cooking, and I make sure that my weekly grocery shop includes at least two liver supporting veggies. It's not too difficult, and your liver will thank you!!
5. Add Herbs
Fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley are extremely detoxifying- they actually help pull out heavy metals from where they're stored in the body! I love to add them to salads and smoothies whenever I can. Certain other herbs are amazing for supporting the liver specifically- most notably Milk Thistle, Dandelion and Nettle. I like to include these herbs as often as possible in tea form. You can usually find really nice, inexpensive Detox blends in most health food stores. Herbs are such an easy and tasty way to add some detox power to your day!
I hope these tips inspired you to support your precious body in it's detox efforts in some really simple ways! There is a lot more to say about detoxification, but it doesn't have to be complicated. For example, if you woke up tomorrow, drank a glass of water, took your dog for a walk, and drank a green smoothie with kale and cilantro (like this one)- you'd be supporting your detox organs in so many ways even before lunch! Easy peasy!