By Alissa Lubanski
Our bodies are practically waging a war against the toxins we ingest and are exposed to everyday. These toxins are eliminated in a number of ways, such as through the blood, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when our natural system of detoxification is not running smoothly, toxins can build up, which opens up the possibility for sickness and disease.
If you have the following symptoms, you might benefit from a detox:
Craving junk food
Depressed or anxious
Brittle hair and nails
White film on tongue
Reduced sex drive
“The average American can benefit from a gentle detoxification program that includes reducing exposure to toxins, regulation of the diet, and support of the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and skin in their detoxification and elimination functions,” said Dr. Ann Cary Tobin, integrative medicine physician with Partners in Healing in Delmar.
With Tobin’s advice in mind, we created a list of relatively simple detoxifying strategies. If you incorporate some of them into your daily regimen, you can start to clean out the unwanted debris, feel better and live healthier.
Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and unhealthy fats (at least for however many days you intend to detox).
Avoid harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances found within many household cleaners and personal care products, and switch to all-natural products.
The skin can eliminate 10 percent of all waste from the body. Use a skin brush (you can find these brushes at health food stores). Brushing the skin stimulates circulation and the lymphatic system, helping to drain toxins. A warm bath with Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar and a few drops of Rosemary essential oil can also help pull toxins out through the skin. Of course, you can sweat out toxins by exercising or heating up in a sauna.
Jumping on a rebounder, or mini-trampoline, is one of the best exercises for toning your body and getting your lymph fluids flowing, which helps drain the toxins out of your body.
Cilantro’s purifying powers help to pull heavy metals such as aluminum and mercury from your body. Pair with garlic or chlorella, which helps to further carry out the aluminum and mercury that the cilantro has extracted from your body’s tissues.
Increase fiber intake to clean out and remove toxins via your intestinal tract. Eat brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables; for added fiber try psylium husk capsules or powders.
It is important to stay hydrated, so drink sufficient quantities of clean, filtered water. The water will help flush out toxins through your kidneys and urine.
Cold shower therapy
After your hot shower, follow with a blast of cold water for 30 seconds, or as long as you can stand it. This helps to cleanse the circulatory and lymph systems, and strengthens the nervous system and mucous membranes, all of which aid in the elimination of toxins.
Good old-fashioned fast
Try going from lunch to lunch, or dinner to dinner, without eating and only drinking water. When you fast, you rest your organs and digestive system, so instead of processing all of the food you eat, your body can tend to other matters, helping to improve your overall system with the elimination of toxins.
Drinking only fresh fruit juices and healthy organic vegetable soups for a weekend will help your body loosen up toxins and flush them out.
Other foods and herbs that help detox: pumpkin seeds, lemon, dandelion, milk thistle, mullein, goldenseal, burdock, fennel, sage, chamomile, and peppermint.
Cleansing supplement packages generally contain fiber, herbs, vitamins and minerals. There are many packages to choose from at your local health food store.
Possible detox side effects
It’s not uncommon to have some side effects when detoxing, especially if you have a heavy load of toxins. Symptoms may include:
Excessive sweat and body odor
Feeling unusual emotions
Disclaimer: Do not detox when pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating or if you have any other medical problems being treated by a doctor. Always check with your doctor first before beginning a detox program.