Are you feeling lethargic, sluggish, fatigued, even though you got 7-8 hours of sleep the night before? Are you embarrassed by bad breath or body odor? Are you experiencing skin breakouts, mental fog or abdominal bloating/gas? Having headaches?
All the above may be signs that your body needs a proper cleanse and nourishment. Much like how our houses need a proper spring- cleaning every year.
“Detoxification” (aka Detox) is the process of eliminating unwanted toxins from the body – we are exposed to harmful substances all the time, be it from environmental pollutants, household products or due to frequent consumption of junk, refined and processed foods. Note that our bodies have an excellent ability to naturally combat toxins through the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. However, when you experience toxins in excess – especially so in this modern world (think of pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, etc) – your body’s detox mechanisms struggle to keep up. Other factors like chronic stress, physical inactivity, lack of quality sleep, can totally wreck havoc on your body’s natural detox system, making it even harder to remove toxins from the bloodstream efficiently.
HOW TO DETOX BETTER:
1. Drink plenty of water – stay hydrated
The best way to boost your kidneys’ performance is to drink enough water. To add a little variety throughout the day, cold-pressed juices are good, especially green ones (think chlorophyll). Or add half teaspoon of chlorophyll-rich matcha powder into your cup of warm water. Chlorophyll helps improve liver detoxification. To know if you are well-hydrated, check your urine color – it should be light yellow or colorless throughout the day.
2. Stay Away from ‘Toxic’ Foods – Go Clean
What are these ‘bad’ foods? Foods laden with refined sugars, additives, chemicals and artificial nonsense. These foods can lead to inflammation in the body. Cut off or reduce intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (yes, even those labeled ‘LESS SUGAR’), store-bought cookies/cakes/breads , pasteurized dairy, processed meats like bacon, hot dogs and sausages, packaged convenience meals. Check the ingredients label, if you see a list of weird-sounding chemicals, just stay away from it. When you take out the junk, your body can reset more quickly.
3. Go For Organic, Nutrient-Rich Foods
If we stay away from ‘bad’ foods, what do we eat? Go for nutrient-rich foods, mostly plant-based. A detox diet need not be expensive, torturous, or calorie-restricting – which is hard to maintain in our modern setting. Remember that our bodies need nutrients to perform optimally, including the tasks of detoxification. So, consume nutrient-rich whole foods that can boost the activity and nourish the body’s most important detoxifying organs-—the liver, the lungs, the kidneys, and the colon—so they can do their jobs more efficiently.
What are these ‘purifying’ foods that you can incorporate into your daily meals?
- High-Fibre Fruits such as apples, grapefruit, papayas, lemons, limes, watermelons and pomegranates. Eat them whole, or incorporate them into salads.
- Green vegetables especially cruciferous vegetables such as arugula, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy. Allium vegetables like garlic, onions, leeks and scallions contain sulfur compounds that enhance the detoxification enzymes to help us wipe out toxins.
- Berries. They provide loads of antioxidants to protect the liver from damage. Try blackberries, blueberries, raspberries. For higher amounts of antioxidants such as the anti-inflammatory anthocyanins (purple antioxidants), try freeze-dried powders of high-antioxidant berries like Acai Berries or Maqui Berries – just 1 teaspoon of powder goes a long way in increasing the amounts of antioxidants in a smoothie.
- Flaxseeds & Chia Seeds. Extremely high in fibre, these seeds are great for the digestive tract and help eliminate unwanted toxins. They are also an excellent source of free radical-fighting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.
- Turmeric. Using turmeric regularly can rejuvenate liver cells and help the liver process metabolic wastes and toxins efficiently. You can cook with turmeric (add a little black pepper) or make a Golden Milk drink.
4. Regular Exercise
Exercising and moving around helps circulate our blood and lymph; the better the circulation, the more our liver and lymph nodes can cleanse our blood and flush out toxins. Not to mention, toxins can also be excreted through our sweat, CO2 exhalation and urine, all of which can be amplified through proper exercise. Aside from flushing out toxins, good circulation also involves enabling our blood to bring fresh oxygen to our cells to help them function.
Moderate aerobic exercise such as running, walking, bicycling, swimming and yoga are great for detox as they can get your heart pumping and body moving. However, it is just as important to keep a consistent exercise schedule for best results, start slowly and eventually try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week.
5. Mental Health & Stress Levels
As we try to cleanse our physical bodies from toxins and waste, it’s important for us not to neglect our mental health and stress levels. A toxic mindset or negative emotions could very much put a damper on our everyday lives.
Several studies have shown that high stress levels and mental illnesses are linked to an increased risk of contracting chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
As we go along the usual hustle and bustle of work and school, always remember to take a step back, breathe deeply, appreciate the little things in life, and look for opportunities to detox your mind.
Play out your stress by spending at least an hour a day on engaging creative activities, connecting with loved ones, mentally organize your day, delegate and prioritize your schedule one step at a time and remember to take breaks and get proper rest and meals.
6. Make sure to get enough Sleep
Lastly, it’s important not to neglect the benefits of getting a good night’s rest. Scientists have since discovered a brain detoxification process called the glymphatic system, which occurs during sleep. According to Dr. Andy R. Eugene from and Jolanta Masiak from the Medical University of Lubin, insufficient sleep is found to impair your glymphatic system, causing toxin build up. These toxic molecules are suggested to be involved in neurodegenerative disorders. Getting consistent quality sleep at night is thus crucial for your body to effectively detoxify and cleanse your brain from these molecules.
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