Detoxification is a normal bodily process. Toxins are neutralized and processed for elimination through major organs like the liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph system and skin, all of which work together to cleanse the body of toxins on a daily basis. The ability of the body to rid itself of excess waste matter and toxins is critical to survival and key to good health.
As long as the elimination system is in good working order, and the amount of toxic residue does not outweigh the rate at which it can be disposed of, in general, the body thrives.
With that in mind, here are four simple tips to ensure a healthy detox. The best part? You don't have to starve yourself (nor should you)!
1. Remember that fewer toxins in mean more toxins out.
During a detox program, the goal is to minimize exposure to toxins in the diet and the environment as much as possible. As long as the rate of taking toxins on board does not exceed the rate of elimination, toxins need not be stored in the body’s tissue. Take a critical look at your household cleansers, detergents, lawn and pool chemicals and opt for cleaner, more natural products wherever possible. Also consider your personal care items. Shampoos, hair styling products, toothpaste, body lotions, and bath soaps can all have a long list of potentially toxic substances. Finally, eliminating toxic food products will be critical to helping your body to heal and improve the rate of toxin elimination. Remove or strictly limit foods that are grown with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or have been genetically modified.
2. Optimize digestion.
When food isn’t processed properly in the digestive system, even good food can go bad. This can result in fermentation, gastric upset and inflammation. If food isn’t broken down properly it will be impossible to extract all the vital nutrients from the food. To optimize digestion, begin by restricting or eliminating foods which your body cannot digest. For many people, gluten can spoil digestion and cause other digestive issues, which is why it may be a good idea to eliminate gluten during a detox. Easy-to-digest proteins from plant sources, such as adzuki beans and quinoa, are good options. The amino acids and protein from organic, pastured chicken, eggs and natural fish support healthy liver function and are easily absorbed.The best fats in a detox or cleanse program are flax seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee. Other than the flax seed oil, they should be used minimally during a dedicated detox. For some people taking digestive enzymes can be helpful as well.
3. Take care of inflammation.
Chronic, low-grade inflammation is thought to play a role in many of the chronic diseases so common in the Western world. Inflammation in the gut causes the gut lining to become permeable, which can lead to leaky gut. When undigested matter is allowed to “leak” into the body, it can create a condition of excess toxicity and inflammation. Probiotics are a kind of good bacteria that help keep the intestines healthy and the bowels moving. By introducing more probiotic foods into your system you help to restore a healthy balance. Probiotic-rich foods include miso, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir.
4. Stimulate and support the organs of elimination.
All great detox programs include the use of fiber as well as certain foods and herbs which stimulate bile flow, improve the function and overall health of the liver, kidneys and other organs which act in concert to neutralize and remove toxic substances. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which tax the liver.
Some great herbs and spices to include with food or as tea include ginger, turmeric, lemon, lemongrass, rosemary, oregano, garlic, milk thistle, dandelion, fennel and red clover.