Over the past few years, ‘detoxification’ has become a particularly popular buzzword that implies your body is getting rid of toxins to support overall health and promote weight loss. While your body is exceptionally powerful at eliminating toxins on its own and doesn’t necessarily require specific supplements or technologies, these systems can seriously slow down and get backed up when exposed to substances from the environment that don’t pass the test.
Certain dietary and lifestyle choices can significantly boost your body’s ability to remove waste, taking off some of the taxing impacts of environmental toxins on your organs while drawing out pathogens and rebalancing with healthy microbiota.
In this article, our holistic doctor shares misconceptions about detoxification as well as ways to boost your detox pathways.
A Brief Look at Detoxification
Detoxification therapies help flush your body from substances that are preventing you from feeling, performing, and looking your best. These substances or “toxins” might include:
Pathogens such as fungi, viruses, and parasites
Your body has sophisticated ways to eliminate toxins through the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs through urine, bowel movements,
In addition to removing unwanted toxins, these systems will eliminate dead cells, as your body is constantly evolving, rejuvenating your body with clean fresh blood for your genes to produce proteins and create cells with carbohydrates, lipids, fats, and nucleic acids.
The lymphatic system draws these metabolic wastes up to carry them to the lymph nodes for urine, bowel movements, sweat, and breath. Certain lifestyle choices can make it substantially easier for your body to remove this waste and replace waste with healthy cells.
This process is essential for slowing down aging, promoting longevity, and preventing toxic overload.
How to Detoxify
There are plenty of deceptively simple ways to support your body, but in our modern overly-chaotic, toxic environments, it can be difficult to implement these habits into our lives. We will share some simple things to take away and add to give your body the help it needs!
1. Cut Way Back on Alcohol
Your liver metabolizes over 90% of the alcohol you put in your body to a cancer-causing chemical called acetaldehyde. Your body sees this chemical as toxic, so it gets converted to acetate and then eliminated from your body. This detoxification process is what makes you feel unwell after a night on the town.
When you drink too often, it can lead to fat buildup, inflammation, and scar tissue. This leads to a struggling liver. Dialing it way back can seriously boost your health and make it easier for your body to remove waste.
2. Sleep More
Your lymphatic system is most active between 1 am and 3 am. This pathway connects the central nervous system to the lymphatic system, clearing brain fog. When you feel awful after going to bed at 2 am but still getting 8 hours, it’s likely because your body didn’t have time to perform those functions and your circadian rhythms weren’t able to give good instructions.
Poor sleep is linked to countless consequences such as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more.
Turning off all screens or wearing blue light-blocking glasses before bed and getting morning sun at the start of each day can help reset your circadian rhythms to help you get beauty sleep.
3. Drink More Water (With Minerals)
Water doesn’t just help when your throat feels a bit dry. Water is literally life. It makes up a huge portion of the lymphatic system and the space between your cells, completing tasks such as:
Regulating body temperature
Lubricating the joints
Aiding in nutrient absorption
Your cells need water for removal, repair, and rejuvenation. Ideally, get at least half of your body weight in ounces daily.
4. Lower Your Refined Sugar Consumption
Sugar is a leading cause of our modern health crisis. Sugar leads to everything from obesity and fatigue to heart disease and cancer. Sugar, especially when from an unnatural source, harms organs that play important roles in detoxification.
Most processed foods should be avoided altogether since they likely will break down into sugar in your body. So even if the nutritional facts say 0g, there may very well be sugar hiding in the carbs. Simply removing processed foods and sugar from your diet can have massive positive impacts on your health.
5. Eat Plenty of Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals by neutralizing these toxins. Free radicals are suspected to play a role in nearly any chronic illness you can imagine. Eating plenty of antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and lycopene, can counter any oxidative stress in your body. Eat foods such as:
6. Eat a Prebiotic-Rich Diet
Gut health plays a critical role in detoxification, as the bowels are a primary way our body gets rid of waste. Environmental toxins cause issues in the gut such as inflammation and damage to the gut lining. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut known as probiotics. Try foods such as:
A diet rich in prebiotics will keep your digestive system in top-notch shape, which is essential for effective detoxification and immunity.
7. Keep Moving
Regular exercise is crucial to keep things flowing within the body. The lymphatic system does not have a pump the way our blood is pumped by the heart. That means we must move to get the lymph system to move.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to inflammation and toxins lingering in the system for too long, weakening the body and immune system. Exercise does not have to look like high-intensity training 5 days a week. Simply going for a 20-minute walk after eating can do your body serious favors.
8. Get Lymphatic Drainage Massages
Lymphatic drainage massage can help relieve the body of inflammation and puffiness, which can in turn clear brain fog, reduce joint pain, and clear your skin. A professional holistic esthetician can help with this and show you how to properly perform lymphatic drainage massage at home.
9. Use Hot and Cold Contrast Therapies
Cold immersion through a shower, ice bath, or an icepack helps the lymph vessels to contract, which forces lymph fluids to pump through your body. Meanwhile, a steamy bath will dislodge stubborn debris from the body. Sweating will draw toxins out from the fatty tissues, so if you aren’t able to exercise due to injury or illness, jump in the tub.
Keep Detoxifying > Think You’re Hydrated? Think Again!
Visit an Integrative Doctor
Every person’s body is unique, which means different modalities may help some people more than others. If you’ve been dealing with chronic inflammation, puffiness, digestive issues, skin problems, pain, and more, it’s time to see an integrative doctor.