4 Expert-Approved Ways To Support Whole-Body Detoxification
Once in a while, for one reason or another, your body might start to feel off. Maybe your digestion is sluggish, or your skin isn't as clear as you'd like it to be. Unfortunately, there are a host of environmental and everyday stressors that can have these kinds of negative impacts on your physical wellness, and they aren't always avoidable.
Fortunately, you can address them with the best ways to detox your body (i.e., natural methods to calm the chaos). Below, read about some of the most helpful lifestyle habits and holistic tools you can utilize to support your body's natural detox pathways.
Should you detox?
The word "detox" has a negative connotation thanks to products like extreme teas or eating regimens that are marketed to "cleanse" the body but can end up being unhelpful and yield undesirable results.
However, "detox" simply refers to ridding the body of toxins and other unwanted compounds. It's not supposed to be a negative or isolated process. On the contrary, according to Alisa Vitti, the founder of hormonal health center FLO Living, functional nutritionist, and women's hormone expert, a proper detox is meant to be a means of support.
"Detox is really about supporting the pathways of elimination of the body through the skin, lymph, liver, and large intestine through the use of food, supplements, and specialty treatments,"* Vitti explains. She goes on to say there are three main categories of toxins—environmental (think dry cleaning chemicals, mold, heavy metals, and even endocrine disrupters in makeup), hormonal, and medicinal—all of which can be disruptive to your body's functionality.
"They can disrupt your metabolism, your adrenal response, your immune response, and your endocrine system," Vitti stresses. "So, it's important that your body has the building blocks it needs daily to do the detoxification it needs to do continuously."
The best ways to detox your body
When your body's showing signs that it needs support, it's not necessarily a question of should you detox but rather, how to detox in a safe and healthy manner. First, ask yourself what you're looking to achieve from said detox. Chicago-based registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, R.D., says things like getting rid of unwanted compounds, reaching a healthy body composition, increasing energy levels, and improving metabolism are some of the most common reasons a person may desire detoxification support. Once you've narrowed down your "why," you can figure out the best approach to achieving your goal.
It's important to note, however, that the human body detoxes on its own. So while many fad diets and health trends will try to lead you to believe that cleansing products, juice fasts, and more are necessary to achieve this, Michalczyk tells mindbodygreen "you don't need to do a seven-day juice cleanse or drink a 'detox tea' in order to rid your body of unwanted chemicals and toxins."
Instead, the best way to detox your body is via natural intervention—i.e., through holistic avenues like making some easy lifestyle changes, physical activity, eating habits, and targeted supplementation.
Bolster detoxification with supplements
In an ideal world, the foods you eat each day would supply enough of the vitamins and minerals needed to support the human body in its natural detoxification processes. Unfortunately, this isn't always feasible thanks to the influx of modern environmental toxins most of us face on a daily basis.
What's more, there are unique botanicals and bioactives like milk thistle and glutathione, respectively, that are detoxification support powerhouses, and those are not often consumed on the daily.
While we still encourage you to eat an abundance of colorful, nutrient-rich foods, targeted supplementation can be a great tool to help fill in dietary gaps, provide unique and additional detoxifying botanical and bioactive players, and fuel the body with ingredients that help it effectively rid itself of unwanted toxins most optimally.
The idea behind regularly taking a detoxification supplement like mindbodygreen's daily detox+ is just that: regular detoxification support. By feeding your body the nutrients and bioactives it needs to detoxify consistently, your internal pathways will be better equipped to efficiently eliminate toxins before they become a burden.* Because that burden can lead to long-term health concerns.
daily detox+ was formulated to help support the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, lymph, and gut by binding, filtering, and removing toxins, as well as combating oxidative stress as internal stressors present themselves in the body.* Highlighted ingredients include "master antioxidant" glutathione to spearhead whole-body detoxification; milk thistle to aid in protecting and regenerating the liver and kidneys; N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), an antioxidant and antitoxin powerhouse that helps protect and strengthen cells; vitamin C to bust free radicals; and purifying selenium, which supports detoxification via redox regulation.*
Stick to a regular exercise routine
Another one of the best ways to detox the body naturally? Getting physical. According to Michalczyk, the benefits of physical fitness are endless and include things like increased metabolic function, digestion support, improved motility, enhanced sleep hygiene, and more.
"Reducing oxidative stress and supporting a healthy inflammatory response improves our immune system, which is our defense against some of these toxins. [Movement also] enhances digestion and motility, which are other ways our bodies get rid of unwanted or unneeded substances," explains Michalczyk. Sweat, she says, is another form of excretion. "It not only cools us off but is another way our bodies can secrete unwanted compounds."
But, there's a catch. According to a 2018 review published in the journal Oncotarget, although physical activity can improve the body's antioxidant defenses overall, different types of physical activity1 are more beneficial to the body's natural detoxification process than others: "Strenuous physical exercise" (think HIIT circuits, types of weight training, etc.) was shown to increase oxidative stress in the process, while "constant, progressive physical activity" (aka low-rep, high weight training or cardio) can improve the body's recovery rate and decrease oxidative stress.
So, when it comes to detoxifying through movement, perhaps less is more.
Make a change in your diet
There's a reason people say "you are what you eat"—it's because, well, you are. What you put into your body matters; the more you fuel it with an abundance of nutrient-rich foods, the more optimally it will operate. This isn't to say you shouldn't indulge once in a while, but when your digestive system is feeling a bit off, take it as a sign that your body is craving more of a balance of good-for-you foods, specifically those rich in antioxidants.
"Antioxidant-rich foods help to remove free radicals, unwanted substances that can potentially be disadvantageous," Michalczyk explains. "By consuming antioxidants from food sources (such as fruits and vegetables), our defense system is readily prepared to remove them."
Notice how we're not suggesting a quick-fix diet plan. Rather, a healthy detox diet should be approached as a lifestyle change in which the goal is to add, not to completely subtract or restrict. A natural detox diet involves incorporating more whole (preferably organic) foods into your daily regimen, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy oils.
Note: You will want to limit common trigger foods at the start. This can help determine what's causing a buildup of toxins in your system. Be mindful of your alcohol, dairy, and processed sugar consumption.
One of the easiest ways to naturally detox is to make sure you're staying hydrated, as "adequate amounts of water and fluids can promote the removal of toxins and waste," Michalczyk tells mindbodygreen. Think about it: The more H2O you drink, the more you urinate, which is essentially the flushing of fluids riddled with materials that aren't useful or needed in the body.
What's more, drinking fluids after meals helps promote healthy digestion. When your body can properly break down what's being put into it, it's able to hold on to the nutrients it needs to thrive and suss out any materials or waste products that aren't serving its purpose.
Some examples of drinks that help with digestion include apple cider vinegar (which is especially great to consume after carb-heavy meals), peppermint tea (which is said to reduce digestive concerns2), ginger tea (particularly helpful when a meal bothers your tummy), good-bacteria-packed kombucha, and green juice (for an added boost of micronutrients).
How do you flush toxins out of the body?
In short: The only way out is through. "You flush toxins out through the skin, lymph, liver, and large intestines," Vitti states. You can read more about the six elimination organs and their unique roles in the detoxification system here.
What is the best home remedy to detox the body?
Start with your diet, supplementation, and physical activity routines. "The body is designed to detoxify itself," Vitti says; all you have to do is sharpen its tools.
How long does it take to detox your body?
“It depends on what you are detoxifying from,” Vitti tells mindbodygreen. “[Factoring in] exposure to serious chemicals, heavy metals, mold, how long you've been exposed, etc., you might need to focus on recovering from this over the course of a few weeks to a few months.”
The human body naturally detoxifies itself, but that doesn't mean it couldn't use a little help consistently ridding itself of excess toxins. Some simple ways to support your body's natural detox pathways include eating an abundance of nutrient-rich foods, staying hydrated, moving regularly, and taking a targeted supplement like mindbodygreen's daily detox+ .*
By making these easy lifestyle changes, you can optimize your body's chances of staying healthy and protected from a host of both internal and external stressors.
Julia Guerra is a health and wellness writer reporting for mindbodygreen, Elite Daily, and INSIDER. Formerly the beauty editor for BestProducts.com, she's contributed to Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, PopSugar, and more. A book worm and fitness enthusiast, her happiest moments are spent with her husband, family, sipping tea, and cuddling with her Tabby cat, Aria.