Clean up Your Act
9 Ways To Naturally Detox Your Body
“Detox” is a buzz word these days, especially in the first month of the new year, when so many people are trying to stick to healthier diet and nutrition plans. And yes, we are exposed to high amounts of chemicals in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the products we put on our skin. Many diets and special supplements claim to help rid your body of toxins, and to help you lose weight and improve your health in the process, but the body does a great job of eliminating toxins through the kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, digestive system and the skin. However, you may need to pay more attention to detoxing if you are feeling bloated, constipated, puffy or fatigued, or if you are experiencing skin rashes or brain fog. Here are nine ways to naturally increase the efficiency of the body’s detoxification system.
Drink More Water
The importance of proper hydration cannot be overstated, as water is involved in every cellular process in our bodies and is critical to our health. Each of those cellular processes releases waste, mostly in the form of urea and carbon dioxide, that are harmful if allowed to build up in the blood. It is water that transports these toxins so they can be removed through urination, respiration or perspiration. Remember, you likely need to drink more water than you think. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine sets daily water consumption for men at 125 ounces per day and women at 91 ounces per day as a basis, but points out that those who are very physically active or who live in warm climates may need more. However, because there are many chemicals and heavy metals in tap water in many areas of the country, consider purchasing a good water filter.
Decrease Your Sodium Intake
For some people, “detoxing” is a means of ridding the body of excess water to reduce bloating and intestinal discomfort and shed water weight. Consuming too much salt is a primary cause of water retention, and though it sounds counterintuitive, increasing your water consumption is the best and most efficient way to rid your body of excess water weight from consuming too much salt. When you consume too much salt and not enough water, the body releases a hormone that will prevent you from urinating, and therefore, detoxifying. Eating potassium-rich foods like bananas, beans, potatoes and spinach may also counterbalance some of the effects of eating too much sodium.
Eat Fewer Processed Foods And Less Sugar
The high consumption of sugar and processed foods has been linked to an increase in diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, all of which impact your body’s ability to detoxify itself by damaging the organs that play important roles in detoxification, like the liver and kidneys. Sugary beverages like soda, fruit juices, sports drinks and sweetened coffees are particularly problematic, as they cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which decreases liver function. Give your body a break by eating foods as close to their natural form as possible – think potatoes instead of potato chips – and curbing junk food consumption.
Eat Foods High In Antioxidants
Antioxidants inhibit oxidation and protect our cells against damage from unstable molecules called free radicals. While some body processes naturally produce free radicals, alcohol consumption, tobacco use and exposure to pollutants produces excessive amounts. Eating a diet high in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, selenium, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin can protect your body against oxidative stress. Many fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices are very high in antioxidants.
Eat Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotic foods like asparagus, artichokes, bananas, tomatoes, garlic, onions and oats are high in a specific type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut, and a healthy gut is essential to the detoxification process. If you consume an unhealthy diet, or if you have poor dental hygiene or have taken antibiotics, the good bacteria in your gut can become unbalanced with bad bacteria, which can weaken the immune and detoxification systems.
Limit Alchohol Consumption
The very best part about “dry January” is that it gives the liver a break. 90% of the alcohol we drink is metabolized by the liver, which means the liver has to multi-task when it comes to removing other toxins from the blood and filtering waste from the body. Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause fat buildup, scarring and inflammation in the liver, which decreases its ability to carry out its normal functions.
Get Adequate Sleep
Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and hitting those numbers is critical to your body’s detoxification process. As we sleep, the brain relaxes and recharges, and the space between brain cells increases, allowing the brain to flush out neuro-degenerative toxins. If you are sleep-deprived, the brain does not have enough time to perform those functions and toxins may build up in the brain.
Regular exercise reduces inflammation and assists the lungs, kidneys, immune system and digestive system in becoming more efficient at naturally detoxing the body. Exercise also activates the lymphatic system, which flushes toxins from the body. Aim for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity, like walking, or 75 to 150 minutes of high-intensity activity, like running, per week.