Spring is fast approaching. Not only does this mean more time outside, it’s also a good time to spring clean your life! And we’re not just talking about your house. Yes, you can spring clean or detox your body, too. And there are lots of good reasons to do so.
The environment around us is filled with pollutants, from air pollution to allergens. Not to mention the foods we eat often contain additives and pesticides that end up stored in the body. Our skin, lungs, liver, kidneys, lymph glands and digestive tract could all use a little help detoxing from time to time. A detox will not only remove overall toxins from the body, it can help if you have low energy or your immune system is compromised. It can improve skin quality and mental clarity as well as counter seasonal allergies. It’s a good preventative measure against chronic illness, and it can simply be a stepping stone to feeling good.
But you don’t have to take detox to the extreme. While it tends to mean drinking fluids, rather than eating, to help wash toxins through your body, there are some simple steps you can take to help your body reboot without feeling deprived.
Overall, your body does a pretty good job on its own of eliminating toxins. The kidneys, colon and liver all work hard to break down toxins and remove them before they can wreak havoc on your body. But consider these tips, to help keep your body’s cleansing system functioning in tip-top shape.
- Drink more water. Although there is no one answer as to how much water you should drink each day, a general rule of thumb is to divide your weight in half and use that as your daily ounce requirement for water. If you weigh 160 pounds, then you need to drink at least 80 ounces. If you’re active, then drink more. Water plays a critical role in helping your kidneys filter and flush toxins. It aids with waste removal and transporting important nutrients to cells. To boost your detox, try drinking lemon water each morning on an empty stomach. Fresh lemon juice helps to alkalize your body or remove the acidity that can lead to inflammation. A splash of lemon also helps to promote digestion by helping to covert toxins into a water-soluble form, which allows them to be more readily flushed through the body.
- Eat more leafy greens & veggies. Leafy greens are full of chlorophyll, which is known to help the body eliminate environmental toxins and protect the liver and kidneys. Try: Spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, arugula. Even herbs, such as parsley, basil and cilantro are helpful in any detox. To decrease your toxin load, focus on organic produce, which is grown without the use of pesticides. Veggies are important, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults should consume 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. Not only are veggies rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, they help to improve your liver function. Try:Artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, garlic and watercress.
- Eat more fruit. Again, the CDC recommends that we eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit daily. Fruits provide valuable vitamins and antioxidants as well as fiber, which can help to remove metals and additives from the body. Because of its high water content, fruit tends to wash through the body quickly, which can help the cleansing process. Try: Apples, grapefruit (and all citrus), berries, papaya, pineapple and melons.
- Take a Multivitamin. Although the CDC recommends the amounts of veggies and fruits we should be eating on a daily basis, studies show, we don’t do a great job with follow through. A recent CDC study of consumption noted that 87% of adults did not meet the vegetable intake recommendations and 76% of adults reported that they did not meet the fruit intake recommendations. The solution? Keep taking your multivitamin to make sure your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
- Drink green tea. Green tea is antioxidant rich and full of catechins, which help to improve liver function. Not only will it help you relax, it can help you detox, too. Tea in general is full of antioxidants and more beneficial to your body than coffee. The caffeine from tea is milder and tends to give you a boost without the jitters.
- Eat nuts and seeds. The fiber in flax and hemp seeds binds to toxins, helping to flush them through the digestive tract. The selenium in Brazil nuts can help to flush mercury from the body. Almonds and sesame seeds also offer detoxification properties. Eat nuts solo, or add nuts and seeds to salads, granola or smoothies.
- Get outside and exercise. Because it’s spring, it’s time to get outside and move your body. Moving your body improves blood flow and circulation and makes us sweat, all of which help to flush toxins from the body. Toxins can be stored in fatty tissue. Exercise also helps to reduce fatty tissue and therefore release toxins into the bloodstream to be more readily eliminated.