If, for you, the term ‘detox’ conjures up mud wraps and colonic irrigation, or nasty tasting herbal teas, you’re not alone. However, detoxification is not a woolly, vaguely hippy-ish concept, nor is it exclusively the domain of glossy magazines and beauty editors.
Detoxification, medically, refers to the complex science of how our bodies eliminate waste products: both endogenous (internal) waste, like carbon dioxide and spent hormones, and exogenous (external) waste such as cigarette smoke or environmental pollutants.
Some bodies are very good at ‘taking out the trash’, some are just average, and some are not good at it at all.
For those of us who aren’t so good at clearing levels of everyday waste, our inability to expel toxins often manifests itself as fatigue, poor skin, muscular aches and pains, headaches, bloating, puffy, dark circles under the eyes, bad breath and even chronic illness.
If you’re feeling a little sluggish following the excesses of Christmas, the following tips should help:
- Drink plenty of clean, filtered water every day.
- Move your bowels at least once or twice every day. If you are not doing this, you are very likely to be toxic. If you need some help in this area, try two tablespoons of flaxseeds, increasing soft-fibre foods like sweet potato (avoid cereal fibre, like bran), and taking some probiotics or magnesium in the citrate form. Please check with your doctor or dietician/nutritionist before taking new supplements.
- Remove white flour and white sugar completely.
- Remove stimulants and sedatives, including caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
- Eat 8, or, preferably 10 servings of cruciferous and colourful vegetables and fruits such as berries. Include lots of sulphur containing foods like onions, garlic and leeks. All of these foods contain plant chemicals that support the two phases of detoxification that happen in the liver.
- Incorporate deep breathing or meditation techniques every day. Switching off that stress is critical.
- Move that body every day! Everything from a 30 minute walk to a vigorous Zumba class helps to get that lymph and blood flowing.
- Eat organic foods, to further reduce toxins from food.
- Vitamin C Flush: vitamin C has been well researched for its ability to help detoxify bacterial toxins, drugs, environmental toxins and heavy metals from the body. A vitamin C flush uses high doses of vitamin C to detoxify the body, rebalance gut flora and strengthen the immune system.
- Nutritional IVs: a nutritional IV can deliver nutrients needed directly to the system. It can be especially useful for those who have a high total toxic load, or genetic issues related to detoxification.
If you have liver or kidney complaints or are in any doubt as to the state of your health, consult your GP before embarking on your detox.