It's that time of year again; everyone's doing a detox or cleanse. (Yep, me too!) It's time to lighten the load on our bodies and clear things out.
So what is a detox or cleanse?
It's a way of eating (and living!) cleanly, to minimize the amount of chemicals and pollutants in our systems, while emphasizing high-nutrient foods that help draw out and eliminate toxins.
The lighter dietary load allows our body to expel accumulated toxins (which are stored in our fat cells? eek!) and reduce the burden on our organs and detoxifying functions (like the skin and liver).
And what should you include in your diet while you're on a detox?
Here are 5 fabulous foods that will help your body detoxify and cleanse.
1. Parsley and coriander
These bind heavy metals like mercury so they can be extracted from your body. They are also alkalising and full of chlorophyll. Add to salads, stir fries, and green smoothies. They can be eaten cooked or raw.
OK, not technically a food but crucial when you're cleansing. And the rest of the time! Many people are partially dehydrated all the time which stresses your system and prevents efficient detoxification. Drink lots of water; 2 to 3 liters per day.
Try drinking a liter (about 4 cups) of water in the morning, then sip the remaining 1-2 liters throughout the day. Avoid drinking at mealtimes, so you don't dilute your digestive juices.
3. Leafy greens
Leafy greens (think kale, celery, bok choy, silverbeet, baby spinach...) are the backbone for any good detox! They are alkalizing, and an alkaline body is better at battling bad bacteria, yeast and keeping cravings at bay.
Green leafy veggies also contain chlorella which helps to cleanse and increase the oxygen in your blood, improving your cellular health.
Try adding a daily green smoothy to up your green intake, as well as eating lots of big leafy salads with every meal (including breakfast!) and simple veggie stir fries.
4. Lemon water
I know I've already said water, but the key here is the lemon! Lemon is further alkalising to your body (even though it tastes acidic when we drink it), and it helps improve digestion, supports liver detoxification and reduce bloating. The lemon juice activates your liver to release toxins and helps cleanse the intestines.
Mix the juice of half a lemon into 200 milliliters of warm water and drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you can handle it, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar as well.
5. Avocado! I love avocados, and eat them almost every day.
Actually, here I mean fats and oils that are high in Omega-3 (so you don't have to share my avocado obsession). Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation and ease digestion. Eat avocado, flax seed oil, hemp oil and extra virgin olive oil.
These oils are unstable at high heats, so make sure you don't undo your detoxifying benefits by submitting them to high temperatures and turning them rancid! Keep hemp and flax seed oils in the fridge, and get them into your diet by pouring over salads. A salad with avocado in it, obviously.
And your bonus, non-food detoxing tip:
6. Head to the sauna
A quarter of our body's toxins are eliminated through the skin, and sweating it out in the sauna aids that elimination process. Plus the process of the hot, cold, warm cycle helps slow my mind, giving me a bit of a mental detox.