Cleanse & Detox
To enjoy the full benefits of body cleansing and detoxification for the long-term, it may be necessary to make some changes to your lifestyle. For example, in terms of eating habits, exercise regime and dietary supplementation (in consultation with your doctor or other qualified health practitioner as required).
This is often easier said than done and can present a major challenge in terms of changing ingrained bad habits and dealing with the time constraints of modern-day living.
Whether you are undertaking a short-term body cleanse and detox to support a particular health goal (such as liver cleanse, toxic load reduction or immune system boost), or are aiming to introduce major lifestyle changes to cope with a more serious health problem, it may be helpful to include specialist health foods and food supplements alongside a healthy, well-balanced diet to provide additional support.
There are many different types of detoxification programmes and the type you choose will depend on your individual circumstances and health status. However, some of the areas you could choose to focus on are the:
- digestive system
- intestinal system
- urinary system
- cardiovascular system
- lymphatic system
- or a combination of two or more of these.
Diet and cleansing
Of course, diet plays a central role in the success of any body cleanse because our food is a major entry-point for toxins in our bodies. Not only can food be the source of invaluable nutrients which help to fuel our body, it can also be the source of pollutants and irritants. It is therefore essential to make smart dietary choices.
In order to get the most out of any cleanse, it is recommended to drink plenty of filtered or mineral water (tap water can contain chemicals, toxins and other contaminants). Pure water dilutes toxins and wastes and facilitates their removal from the body. Remember, the liver converts fat-soluble toxins into a water-soluble form, ready for excretion in urine, perspiration, bile and breath. It also helps to soften stool, helping to prevent constipation.
To support your cleanse and detox efforts, try to minimise your intake of caffeine, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and acid-forming foods (such as sugar, dairy and red meat). Instead, opt for naturally alkalising foods (preferably organic) like fruit, vegetables, nuts and chlorophyll-rich living foods and grasses. Wheatgrass and pre-sprouted barley are two great options.
As well as these more exotic examples, there are also many readily-available foods and herbs that are staples in the pantry, which have the potential to support your immune system and fight infection. For example:
garlic: contains allicin, known as a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic
onion and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cabbage): contain natural sulfur compounds that are thought to have antibiotic and anti-fungal properties.
An increase in dietary fibre intake can also support body cleanse and detox, as it helps to speed up bowel transit time, thereby reducing the tendency towards constipation (one of the most common causes of the re-absorption of toxins into the bloodstream).
You may also want to increase the antioxidant content of your diet. Exposure to a high levels of toxins (including via pollution, chemicals in food and internal processes of metabolism), can generate a large number of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are constantly trying to achieve a stable state.
They have two possible ways of achieving this:
they can either steal an electron from other substances; or
an antioxidant can donate an electron to them.
If there is a shortage of antioxidants in the body (e.g. as a result of poor diet), the free radicals have no choice but to steal electrons from other substances, turning them into free radicals as well - and so the harmful vicious cycle continues.
Free radical damage contributes to ageing of the body and can destroy cells and DNA.
Drinking fresh, raw vegetable juice is one of the best ways to increase your antioxidant intake, as it offers a super-concentrated supply of nutrients, phyto-chemicals and enzymes.
Our bodies were designed to move - not to be sedentary for the vast majority of the day. Widespread lack of exercise (coupled with poor diet) has led to a high incidence of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and depression across the world.
From a detox perspective, physical activity has a key role to play.
As toxins are being broken down and released, the aim is to eliminate them from the body as quickly as possible - improving your circulation is one of the best ways to achieve this.
By pumping the blood around your body under high pressure, your extremities will be cleansed with a fresh blood supply and your lymphatic system will be stimulated.
Perspiration is also a great way of releasing toxins through your skin.