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Prepared by: Debora Palmieri, BASc., R.H.N. | myhealthychoices.ca
You wake up before your alarm goes off and jump out of bed ready for the day ahead. You wash your beautiful face and fix your lovely tresses; no beauty care products needed because you have a great complexion and soft, silky hair. You get changed into clothes that fit you just right and make your way down to the kitchen. Next you make a green smoothie and drink it on your way to work, while you sing along to your favourite song.
Wait…pardon? That doesn’t sound quite like you?
Okay, what about this? Beep, beep, beep…you hit the snooze button for just another 5 minutes, until you finally get enough energy to drag yourself out of bed. You wash your oily face with soap, gargle away your awful morning breath and rub on some antiperspirant to mask your body odour. Then you slather some cover-up over your acne-prone skin and work some serum through your dry, brittle hair. Next, you change into your pants that almost fit; except for that last button that doesn’t quite seem to want to get over your bloated belly. You finally stagger down to the kitchen, grab yourself a cup of coffee and grudgingly head out the door.
Is that more like you? If you answered yes, it may be time for a detox.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification is essentially the way your body rids itself of harmful toxins and unwanted waste products. It is a necessary and natural process, which helps to protect you from developing disease. The liver is your body’s primary detoxification organ; it neutralizes toxins and prepares them for elimination. Other systems that also play a role in detoxification include the intestinal tract, kidneys, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system.
Detoxifying is about minimizing the amount of toxins that enter your body, while supporting your detox organs, so that you can achieve and maintain optimal health. Although your body naturally detoxifies itself, most often, due to system overload, it requires some help to do so! This is where cleanses and detox programs come in.
Why Should You Detox?
The answer to this is pretty simple: to feel like the best version of you! Whether it is due to poor food choices, environmental factors, or lifestyle habits, we are exposed to more toxins today than ever before. Toxins can be defined as anything that can potentially harm us. They include things like antibiotics, food additives, preservatives, household cleaners, drugs, tobacco, pollution, and pesticides. All of the chemicals that we come into contact with daily are absorbed into the body. In a healthy, well-nourished body, these toxins are efficiently neutralized and eliminated. However, for most of those individuals who consume poor, nutritionally-void diets, and whose bodies are already overloaded, the detoxification process is impaired. The toxins entering your system cannot be handled immediately, so as a protective mechanism your body deposits these toxins into fat cells. This is not a good thing. What we call “toxic overload” can contribute to nutrient deficiencies, digestive issues, impaired immune function, hormonal imbalance; and eventually lead to illness and disease.
Bottom line, by detoxifying you can experience increased energy, improved digestion and gut health, improved memory and concentration, weight loss, better looking skin/hair, and stronger immunity.
Do I Need to Detox?
Daily activities, like showering, are ways to keep your body clean on the outside. However, cleansing from the inside out is even more important. It’s much easier to know when to brush your teeth than it is to know when your body is in need of a good detox. One key way to identify this is to listen to what your body is saying. Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you what is going on in the inside.
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, you may benefit from a detox:
- Sluggish digestion
- Dark under-eye circles
- Skin issues
- Poor concentration
- Bad breath
How Do I Detox?
If you consult with a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ professional they would most likely agree that doing a detox/cleanse once or twice a year is ideal, and they would probably suggest completing a cleanse in the Spring. It is important to keep in mind that before beginning any type of detoxification program it would be wise to consult with your healthcare professional. They will design the safest and most effective program for you. However, you don’t need to wait to begin detoxifying regularly. In fact, you can adopt plenty of healthy habits that will help to support and promote your body’s natural detoxifying ability on a daily basis. The cleaner your diet and lifestyle becomes, the less toxic build-up there will be.
Here are some easy ways you can minimize your toxic load and alleviate the burden on your most valuable detox organ, your liver.
- Stay hydrated! Drinking water is essential to all body processes. A well-hydrated body will be a cleaner body. Drink plenty of good quality water daily to help flush out toxins.
- Eat high fibre foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts/seeds, and legumes. Fibre helps to draw out and eliminate toxins by stimulating bile flow, which is how your liver packages toxins for elimination; and it keeps you regular. The better your bowel movements are, the more toxins being released. If you’re constipated you can bet those toxins that should be eliminated are slowly making their way back into your body. Yikes!
- Choose organic! You can significantly cut back on your exposure to toxins by eating only organic food grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides, additives, preservatives, and artificial colours/flavours. Plus, organic foods are more nutritious. The more you nourish your body, the more capable it is to rid itself of harmful toxins.
- Eliminate substances that will hinder the detoxification process. Things like caffeine, alcohol, white sugar, and bad fats only contribute to your body’s toxin load. This also goes for beauty care products, such as perfume, antiperspirant, makeup, soap, cream, etc., which are full of toxic chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed through your skin directly into your body adding to toxin overload. Instead, choose 100% natural and organic products that are free of chemicals.
- Get moving! Daily exercise helps your body effectively eliminate nasty toxins, not only through sweat, but also by pumping your lymph. Your lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of toxins throughout your body. In order to get your lymph moving, you need to move, so exercise regularly. Deep-breathing and dry skin brushing help with lymphatic drainage as well. Practicing deep breathing is not only an effective way to support your lymph’s job but it also helps to decrease stress levels. Stress is another major contributor to toxin overload. In addition, Epsom salt baths and taking hot/cold showers are two excellent ways to assist with detoxification.
- Eat more detoxifying foods. The food you eat will either support or hinder your body’s natural detoxification and elimination abilities. Luckily, there are many fruits and veggies that can actually stimulate the liver to detox, purify the blood, promote bile flow, encourage regular bowel movements, bind to toxins and heavy metals, protect from cellular damage, and stimulate digestion. See below for a list of foods with amazing detoxifying potential.
Top Detoxifying Foods:
- Sea Veggies
- Green Tea
-Posted March 2014-
“Chapter 8: Detoxification and Cleaning Programs.” Staying Healthy with Nutrition the Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, by Elson M. Haas and Buck Levin, Celestial Arts, 2006, pp. 740–753.
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