Detox or Detoxification is a popular buzzword.
It typically implies following a specific diet or using special products that claim to rid your body of toxins, thereby improving health and promoting weight loss.
Fortunately, your body is well-equipped to eliminate toxins and doesn’t require special diets or expensive supplements to do so. That said, you can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system. This article explains some common misconceptions about detoxing along with nine evidenced-based ways to rejuvenate your body’s detoxification system.
More than 90% of alcohol is metabolized in your liver. Liver enzymes metabolize alcohol to acetaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical. Recognizing acetaldehyde as a toxin, your liver converts it to a harmless substance. Drinking too much alcohol reduces your liver’s ability to carry out its normal functions, such as detoxifying. Excessive drinking can severely damage your liver function by causing fat buildup, inflammation, and scarring.
2. Focus on Sleep
Ensuring adequate and quality sleep each night is a must to support your body’s health and natural detoxification system. Sleeping allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts. Adequate sleep allows your brain to reorganize, recharge, and eliminate toxins that accumulate throughout the day. Poor sleep has been linked to short- and long-term health consequences, such as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Water does so much more than quench your thirst. It regulates your body temperature, lubricates joints, aids digestion and nutrient absorption, and detoxifies your body by removing waste products. The adequate daily intake for water is 125 ounces (3.7 litres) for men and 91 ounces (2.7 litres) for women. You may need more or less depending on your diet, where you live, and your activity level.
4. Reduce Your Intake of Sugar and Processed Foods
Sugar and processed foods are thought to be at the root of today’s public health crises. High consumption of sugary and highly processed foods has been linked to obesity and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. These diseases hinder your body’s ability to naturally detoxify itself by harming organs that play an important role, such as your liver and kidneys.
5. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Antioxidants protect your cells against damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Oxidative stress is a condition caused by excessive production of free radicals. Examples of antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like coffee and green tea have some of the highest amounts of antioxidants.
6. Eat Foods High in Prebiotics
Gut health is important for keeping your detoxification system healthy. Your intestinal cells have a detoxification and excretion system that protects your gut and body from harmful toxins, such as chemicals. Eating a diet rich in prebiotics keeps your digestive system healthy, which is important for proper detoxification and immune health.
7. Decrease Your Salt Intake
For some people, detoxing is a means of eliminating excess water. Consuming too much salt can cause your body to retain excess fluid, especially if you have a condition that affects your kidneys or liver — or if you don’t drink enough water. This excess fluid buildup can cause bloating and make clothing uncomfortable. If you find yourself consuming too much salt, you can detox yourself of the extra water weight. Increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods — which counterbalances some of sodium’s effects — also helps. Foods rich in potassium include potatoes, squash, kidney beans, bananas, and spinach.
8. Regular exercise
Regular exercise — regardless of body weight — is associated with a longer life and a reduced risk of many conditions and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. It’s recommended that you do at least 150–300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise — such as brisk walking — or 75–150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity — such as running.
9. Other Helpful Detox Tips
- Eat sulfur-containing foods. Foods high in sulfur, such as onions, broccoli, and garlic, enhance excretion of heavy metals like cadmium.
- Try out chlorella. Chlorella is a type of algae that has many nutritional benefits and may enhance the elimination of toxins like heavy metals, according to animal studies.
- Flavour dishes with cilantro. Cilantro enhances excretion of certain toxins, such as heavy metals like lead, and chemicals, including phthalates and insecticides.
- Support glutathione. Eating sulfur-rich foods like eggs, broccoli, and garlic helps enhance the function of glutathione, a major antioxidant produced by your body that is heavily involved in detoxification.
- Switch to natural cleaning products. Choosing natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda over commercial cleaning agents can reduce your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.