The human body is an amazingly resilient piece of biological machinery. It can heal itself from virtually all types of damage when given enough nutrients, care, and time. However, toxins from food, drink, and the atmosphere all accumulate and lessen the body’s ability to function and heal itself.
Numerous fad diets and cleanses are on the market, claiming the ability to instantly detox. This statement is patently flawed; detoxification is the job of the liver and kidneys, which are designed for doing the job on their own. If your liver and kidneys fail, no smoothie or juice cleanse is going to help you.
Only medical treatment will save your life. Nevertheless, we’re here to share some ideas and basic things you can do to keep your body able to cleanse and detox most effectively.
Drink Plenty of Water
The first thing to do when learning how to detox your body is to drink water. Water is the purest liquid you can drink, and one that requires your kidneys and digestive system to do the least work.
The common wisdom is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day, but you likely don’t need that much. If you feel thirsty, take a drink of water. Get a water filter if possible and connect it to your faucet tap, then fill up a thermos or drink container.
Not only does doing this help the environment by eliminating non-biodegradable plastic bottles from your carbon footprint, but it also saves you money in the long run. Also, water helps to flush out harmful compounds, provides your nervous system and muscles with the fluid they need to function, and lubricates your joints.
For some extra effectiveness, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the water and let that be the first thing you drink each morning when you wake up. Try to drink some before you go to sleep as well.
Store-bought lemon juice is fine, but it’s even better if you can get it from an actual lemon. Lemon juice contains vitamin C, pectin, and other compounds that help you with digestion.
It doesn’t matter whether you drink the lemon water warm or cold. The only requirement is that you get it into your body. Also, you need to space the water intake throughout the day. Concentrating it all at mealtime or even just one meal can cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable or lead to a full bladder.
Finally, when it comes to water, always try to drink it filtered or from a reusable bottle if you can. Wash the bottle regularly with soap and occasionally hand sanitizer.
Avoid Additives When Possible
Most of the food we eat today is laden with staggering amounts of processed ingredients that make it sound like you’re swallowing a chemistry textbook rather than food. Some of these ingredients are preservatives, like sodium nitrite. This preserves canned food but has been shown to have possible links to the development of stomach cancer.
Another additive that you need to avoid when possible is high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, high fructose corn syrup is practically pervasive. It is used as an artificial sweetener. Fructose, as compared to glucose (the sugar we use for energy), has been shown to cause decreased sensitivity to insulin and contribute to cell inflammation.
Monosodium glutamate is another additive you should limit or eliminate. It is a preservative and flavor enhancer. Although not conclusive. MSG has possible properties that enhance your appetite or more accurately prevent your brain from releasing a hormone that makes you feel sated. Incidentally, drinking lemon water as we discussed can help with this.
We understand that it isn’t always possible to avoid food additives, but introducing fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, whole grain bread, and lean meats reduces the likelihood of food additives.
Cardiovascular exercise gets your heart pumping and sends blood through your body more quickly and efficiently. This enables waste to be removed from the body’s tissues. Sweating is also advertised as a method of getting rid of toxins, but it isn’t nearly as effective as many marketers claim it to be.
Most toxins are eliminated through urine and feces, not sweat. Increased exercise only increases the efficiency at which wastes are transported through blood.
Cardiovascular exercise forces your heart, blood vessels, and lungs to work harder to produce oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. You can swim, jog, ride a bicycle, or do anything that quickens your pulse. Even a light jog that lasts 30 minutes a day can have benefits.
Add Fiber to Your Diet
Dietary fiber adds bulk to food and makes it easier to pass through the digestive tract, as well as making your feel satiated sooner. When it comes to eliminating toxins, you want to have insoluble fiber. You can find insoluble fiber in the following sources:
- Whole-grain bread
- Green beans
Men need at least 38 grams of fiber per day, and women need at least 25 grams. Try to get most of it at breakfast.
Speaking of breakfast, do not neglect it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should include proteins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
Eat Complex Carbohydrates
The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which your cells burn to provide energy. Two types of carbohydrates exist: simple and complex. Simple carbs break down quickly, giving you a quick, short-duration boost of energy that leaves you feeling tired and sluggish afterward.
Complex carbs take longer to process and release their energy more slowly. You don’t feel as sluggish or tired. You also need fewer of them, so there is less risk of developing an addiction to sugar. Yes, sugar can be addictive; it alters the pathways of your brain similarly to substances like caffeine and alcohol.
Engage in Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises at the start of each day help to ground you, and they also promote heart health and the ability to detoxify by increasing your oxygen intake. Sit with your back straight, inhale through your nose for five counts, hold it for two, and exhale slowly through your mouth for five counts.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of adequate sleep contributes to stress and prevents your body from healing itself, which includes eliminating toxins from your system. Although popular wisdom suggests you need at least eight hours per night, you may be able to get by on just six, or you may need 10 hours. It depends on your personal needs.
Bathe When Possible
In other words, take a soak in a tub, or run a clean shower full of comfortably hot water. This is something often neglecting in guides on how to detox your body. Soaking in hot water promotes healthy circulation in the skin and stimulates your lymphatic system; you should shower and wash first to clean yourself.
Soaking in a tub helps to remove dead skin that contains molecules of caked-on deodorant, soap, makeup, or clothes fibers.
Stress can’t be avoided in life unless you are extremely fortunate. Even so, you need to take time to relax and enjoy your hobbies and passions. Stress, over time, can inhibit the body’s ability to heal itself because it compromises the immune system.
What to Avoid
We’ve talked about some of the things you can do to naturally detox your body, but society often emphasizes a quick fix. Nevertheless, you should avoid temptation from products promoting a quick detox that delivers instant results. Many detox products are laden with laxatives, caffeine, and harmful ingredients.
Although regular bowel movements are essential to eliminate toxins, laxative use can lead to diarrhea, which in turn causes inflammation and dehydration. Caffeine products cause frequent urination and in turn dehydration.
Any diet that requires you to fast should be looked at with caution. Fasting, by definition, means that you aren’t getting the nutrients you need in the form you need, and this can cause health problems. Always consult your doctor or health care professional, or do extensive research on your own before using a product or trying a diet.
When researching how to detox your body, be wary about anything that requires you to eat dubious or exotic-sounding foods, or to eat one thing exclusively.
This includes so-called juice cleanses as well as any number of home remedies you might read about. An infamous one involves lemon juice and cayenne peppers. Not all foods are meant to go together or to be eaten in large quantities.
There is no such thing as a quick, safe fix for detoxing your body and keeping it that way. Toxic substances are often intrinsic to modern diets and lifestyles, and it takes conscious changes to get rid of toxins.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting moderate exercise, avoiding harmful foods, and soaking in a tub are just a few things you can do in your daily life to be healthier and happier, as well as potentially live longer.