4 Ways to Gently Boost your Body’s Detoxification System this Spring
by Kelsey Ellis, RHN
Spring has officially sprung and it has us thinking about feeling healthier, getting more active and possibly shedding some excess weight we put on over the winter months. Our exposure to chemicals in our food supply, poor air quality we breathe and common household items is ever increasing. These chemicals build up in our body and can lead to chronic fatigue, allergies, compromised immune systems, stalled weight loss and many other health challenges.
The body (particularly the liver), has the amazing function of naturally detoxifying the blood stream from these toxins. However, the body’s ability to play out this function optimally, becomes inhibited when our toxicity level becomes so high that the liver cannot keep up with the demand. Whereas a healthy body can optimally detoxify, so many things we confront daily — the food we eat, the air we breathe, and prescription drugs etc — constant exposure can make those toxins accumulate, overwhelming your body’s defenses.
The detoxification process begins in your liver. While it’s a complicated process, your liver essentially does this in two phases. First, it converts toxic substances to highly reactive metabolites and secondly, excretes these toxins through the kidneys, lungs or gut (bowels) or skin.
Toxins can impact these organs both acutely and cumulatively. More dangerous are the persistent, low-grade toxins such as residue you consume regularly in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Reactions aren’t always immediate, and this is why you might not see the connection between chronic low-grade toxicity and struggling with your health concerns.
That’s when a well-designed detoxification plan can help. Besides helping you eliminate the wrong foods that can contribute to your symptoms, the right program can give your liver and overall health a helping hand eliminating those excess toxins.
Most detox “diets” range from total starvation fasts to juice fasts to food modification approaches and often involve the use of laxatives and diuretics. Although some people report feeling more focused and energized after detox diets, there are many others that feel unwell, especially if they have high levels of toxicity.
The good news is that you can aid your liver in the detoxification process without expensive cleanses or starvation diets. Here are four ways you can begin to gently eliminate toxins without breaking the bank
Cleanse your body naturally with whole foods
Copious studies show whole foods including cruciferous vegetables, berries, garlic, and spices like turmeric can help your body detoxify through various pathways. Paired with protein and quality fat creates an optimal food plan for detoxification. Always choose organic plant foods and the highest-quality animal foods whenever possible as these foods will be free of pesticides, herbicides and other toxins. Including fermented foods in your diet such as sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, yogurt, tempeh and kefir can provide probiotics to help restore gut health and boost immunity. Meanwhile, incorporating cilantro, garlic, lemon, and chlorophyll rich foods can help remove heavy metals from the bloodstream.
Minimize exposure to toxins you come into contact with daily
Prevention is always your first line of both offense and defense. Avoid chemical-laden household cleaners, building materials, cosmetics, plastics, processed foods, and other places toxins linger. A great resource for finding non-toxic cosmetic and body care products is Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s website Skin Deep.
Drink plenty of filtered water
Water carries nutrients to our cells, aids digestion by forming stomach secretions, flushes our bodies of wastes, and keeps our kidneys healthy. Hydration keeps your cellular machinery at peak performance, detoxing optimally along with its numerous other functions. Always aim for properly filtered water as many tap water sources contain heavy metals and other chemicals.
Sweat it out
Exercise can help your body better excrete toxins through the skins surface. Whether that involves hot yoga or high-intensity interval training, find a consistent workout plan that fits your preference and schedule. Although walking can be a great low-impact form of exercise, in order to detoxify the body, it is essential to engage in an activity that is intense enough for you to break a sweat.
Detoxifying the body doesn’t require you to run out and buy an expensive cleanse kit or greatly reduce your calories. The most important thing is that you provide your body with long term solutions that you do regularly to keep the detoxification pathways open and functioning optimally all year round.
Kelsey Ellis is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, they offer appointments at Local Health Integrative Clinic on Mondays & Wednesdays and some Saturdays Click here to book an appointment with Kelsey.