There are a lot of detoxifying or cleansing products out there, but not all of them are created equally. Some rely on good quality, natural ingredients in the right proportions for your needs. Others are low quality, padded with cheap fillers, and don’t do what they say they will. They may come with a variety of claims, with some promising more energy or rapid weight loss. Some are taken in the form of drinks while others are taken as cleansing tablets or capsules.
Many people find the right cleansing products to be extremely beneficial as supplements to the body’s natural cleansing processes. These nutritional aids can enhance your body’s built-in equipment for flushing out toxins. Though you may not know it, when your liver, kidneys, digestive tract, skin and lungs are doing what they are supposed to do, they are engaged in a constant effort to keep your body nice and clean.
Why we need to cleanse
The cells in our bodies are constantly bombarded by harmful substances from within and without. The sources of these substances can be readily found in the environment around us such as pollution, pesticides, insecticides, phthalates and other man-made chemicals and preservatives. Free radicals, a product of normal digestion within our own bodies can also be a threat. If not excreted by the body, these unwelcome substances and others can settle into the tissues in our bodies contributing to the aging process, as well as leading to inflammation, which promotes diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
What can you do to stay clean naturally?
Most of us do a great job of practicing proper hygiene and staying clean on the outside. That’s part of the battle, but the inside matters, too. While we can’t avoid the toxic substances described above as long as we live on planet earth, there are steps that we can take to prevent or reduce the toxic load on our bodies.
Watch what you put in
One of the biggest factors that can affect our bodies’ natural ability to detox is our diet. The food and drink that we choose to put into our bodies determine whether or not the basic body systems have the tools needed to perform their intended function.
A great place to start is by reducing the amount of processed foods and sugary treats that you allow in your diet. These convenient foods have been linked to chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. They can actually harm the very organs that we are depending on to remove toxins. For example, consumption of sugary beverages can cause accumulation of fat around the liver called fatty liver disease, leading to impaired liver function.
Limit salty snacks as well. These foods increase sodium levels in the body, which can lead to water retention. When the body holds onto water, it is not available to the kidneys to flush out other toxins. It can also cause the bowels to be sluggish, not to mention the bloated and sluggish feeling it can give you. After reducing your salt intake, a good way to reverse the effects of high sodium and reduce water retention is to drink water. Drinking water helps to bring the body back into balance.
Removing these foods will likely help, but may leave you wondering what you should be eating. There are lots of healthy options that you can use as grab-and-go snacks. Choosing foods rich in sulfur, antioxidants and prebiotics can even help give your body a detox boost.
Foods rich in sulfur can help the natural action of glutathione in the liver and aid in the elimination of heavy metals. These foods include peaches, olives, eggs, onions and garlic as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
Antioxidant-rich foods help to combat the free radicals we encounter in the environment, as well as those that our bodies produce naturally by serving as a protection to the cells themselves. These foods are usually high in vitamins A, C, and E and include berries, mangoes, carrots, nuts, cocoa, green tea, vegetables, and coffee.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber which feeds the probiotic (beneficial) bacteria in the gut. An imbalance of this bacteria in the gut can lead to a weakened immune system and inflammation. Good sources of prebiotic fiber can be found in tomatoes, bananas, asparagus, barley, flax seeds and oats.
Last but not least…
When trying to protect and support the liver, it is also a good idea to limit alcohol consumption, as 90% of it is metabolized or broken down in the liver. In small amounts, some studies have noted benefits from drinking wine or other alcoholic drinks. However, in larger amounts it can lead to varying stages of alcohol-related liver disease, reducing or eliminating your liver’s ability to filter and process toxins in the bloodstream.
Develop Some New Habits
In addition to changing your eating habits, there are several things that you can make into daily or weekly habits that will help your body to detox.
First and foremost, make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, but it can be challenging to fit that into our busy lives. The time spent sleeping is time that the body spends repairing and recharging. The brain, in particular, uses this time to remove toxic waste known as beta-amyloid, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Poor sleep is also known to correlate with stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Regular exercise has many documented health benefits. Among these benefits is its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Less inflammation in the body allows the systems and organs involved in the detox process to work unhindered. Exercises like yoga that involve relaxing and stretching the core muscles can also serve to relax the digestive muscles allowing that system, in particular, to function more efficiently and eliminate waste and toxins that would otherwise be reabsorbed into the body.
Dry brushing the body before a bath or shower a few times a week can be beneficial in a couple of ways. First, it helps to exfoliate dead skin from the surface. This cleaning can help open skin pores that excrete toxins through sweating. Second, it helps to stimulate blood circulation to the skin, nourishing it and promoting healthy skin.
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a new habit you might find relaxing. Dissolve two cups of Epsom salt in a warm tub and soak for about 20 minutes. Magnesium and other nutrients from the salt can be absorbed through the skin. This magnesium can help in the detox process and may also support healthy bowel movement.
The toxic substances that our cells encounter on a daily basis can interfere with proper functioning of many organ systems, leaving us more susceptible to disease. However, making a few changes to your diet and daily habits can go a long way towards supporting the natural detox pathways in your body.
That said, sometimes your body needs a little extra “encouragement” in the form of natural cleansing supplements. If you feel sluggish, foggy-brained, moody, or are more prone to illness than others around you, consider natural products to clean out the bad and make room for the good.
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