Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxins to help protect your body from disease and enhance your ability to maintain optimal health. We are exposed to toxins every day - from the toxins we ingest through what we eat and put on our skin, to those found in our external environment, and the toxins that are made as by-products within our bodies. While detoxing is typically associated with short-term cleanses or detox diet plans, you can take a long-term and sustainable approach to reducing the toxic build-up in your body by adopting healthy habits and making smart lifestyle and food choices.
Detoxing or cleansing is designed to support the elimination of toxins and therefore take the load off the organs which support your body's natural detoxification processes, so they can fulfil their roles more effectively. Here are the six organs of detoxification and their function within the body:
Liver: Cleans the blood and detoxifies harmful chemicals for excretion
Kidney: Flushes waste and toxins from the blood through transformation into urine
Lungs: Filters out carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants through exhalation
Lymph: Removes harmful pathogens or toxins from the tissues
Colon: Excretes solid waste left over from digestion
Skin: Releases waste and toxins through sweat
Because there's no 3 or 7-day detox diet that can shield your body from ingesting toxins, it's important to consider how you can best support your body's natural detoxification processes through the diet and lifestyle choices you make on a day-to-day basis. Here's how to detox your body without going on a diet:
Drinking enough water each day is arguably the easiest way to help detox your body naturally and make the job of flushing out toxins easier. Water supports optimal performance of the organs of detoxification, namely the kidneys, which are necessary for helping the body to remove waste and toxins from the bloodstream. Adding lemon to your water can also have detoxifying benefits, as lemon enhances enzyme function, stimulating the liver and aiding in flushing out toxins.
Opting for plant-based cleaning products and personal products (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and skin products) over chemical-based alternatives is a simple way to lighten your toxic load and reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Look past "natural" claims and read the labels - if you're unsure of any ingredients, resort to Google, or trust your gut - if any ingredient doesn't sound natural, chances are it isn't.
Stress is often overlooked as a toxin because it's seen as an emotional state, but the impact of stress goes beyond our emotions. A stressful situation can trigger a series of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes, which can have an impact on your long-term physical and psychological health . Stress can also kill the good bacteria in your gut which are essential for a healthy functioning immune and digestive system . This creates an imbalanced inner ecosystem which can set the scene for illness and disease. The best way to protect your long-term health and avoid stress getting the better of you is to train yourself to recognise the early signs of stress and understand how you can best manage those symptoms. For some of us, it might be as simple as breathing deeply, having a cup of tea, or taking a walk, whereas others might need to hit the gym, or go for a run. Whatever works for you, recognise and respond to stress signs early, and remember stress eating is never a good idea!
Maintaining a diet rich in detox foods means eating a variety wholefoods like fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds. Some of the best detoxifying foods are kale, spinach, lemon, lime, oranges, apple, kiwifruit and beetroot. For an easy way to integrate detox foods into your diet, try different combinations of these fruits and vegetables with superfoods in a breakfast smoothie to support your intake of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients. See these healthy breakfast smoothie recipes for some inspiration, or try a Craft Smoothie box and get smoothie recipes and ingredients delivered to your door. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, bone broth and apple cider vinegar can also be beneficial detox foods, as they can help improve the ratio of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is particularly important for promoting a healthy immune system.
Physical and emotional health go hand-in-hand. Negative thoughts can be toxic to your emotional health, which can transcend to your physical wellbeing if not managed correctly. Learn to recognise negative thoughts as they enter your mind, label them as negative, and move on. This simple process can go a long way in supporting a healthy outlook on life and eliminating toxic thoughts that can consume and control your mind. You can also try practicing gratitude journaling, or simply reflecting on what you're grateful for each morning - this is an effective way to facilitate a positive frame of mind at the start of your day.
Not only is exercise beneficial for supporting muscle strength and healthy weight management, exercise also aids the body's organs of detoxification through speeding up blood circulation and increasing sweat production, which supports the removal of toxins from the body. Drinking more water during exercise also helps your kidneys function more effectively, ultimately flushing out unwanted toxins and waste.
Just in case you needed another reason to get your 8+ hours of sleep per night - research has shown that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours .
Because the skin is the largest organ in the human body, it's a powerful organ of detoxification. One third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin, so exfoliating or dry brushing regularly helps to unclog pores to excrete toxins which are trapped in the skin.
A detox bath with Epsom salt is a simple and therapeutic way to enhance your body's natural detoxification processes. Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulphate, helps to draw out toxins via the skin and has additional health benefits, including supporting healthy muscle and nerve function and improving sleep.
Breathing is something we take for granted, but if you take time to engage in deeper, more conscious breathing, you can naturally aid detoxification of the body. Breathing deeply enables you to take in more nourishing oxygen which can help eliminate toxins that may have built up in the lungs, and exhaling deeply enables you to get rid of more waste in the form of carbon dioxide. To get into the habit of more conscious breathing, try a meditation app like Headspace, or take up a yoga class.
Taking a long-term and balanced approach to aiding the natural detoxification processes of your body is an effective means of supporting optimal health and wellbeing. If you're looking to detox your body to lose weight, or if you're interested in embracing a wholefood diet but don't know where to start, give Craft Smoothie a try today.
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