These days, it seems like everyone is talking about detoxing. Both the weight loss and the natural health markets have been flooded with products ranging from detox teas and pills to foot patches and more. All of these claim to offer you the benefits of cleansing toxins from your system. Unfortunately, many people buy into these gimmick detoxes without understanding what exactly detoxing is, and who really needs it.
What is a Detox?
Your body works hard to rid itself of waste and toxins each day. When your body uses fuel to create energy, byproducts are created. These need to be eliminated in the same way that ash from a fire has to be removed from the fireplace. Bodily organs such as the liver, skin, kidneys, and lungs work to relieve the body of these toxins. Over time however, the health of these organs can decline, limiting your body’s natural detoxifying abilities.
Everyone can benefit from a detoxifying program at some point in their lives; however it’s important that you avoid falling for gimmicks and other products that are likely to cause as much harm as they do good. When attempting a detox, it is best that you focus on helping your body’s own natural systems perform their function instead of taking a pill or product that is full of chemicals that will further clog your system and overwork your body’s organs. The first step in better understanding the natural process of detoxification is to know and understand the natural systems involved in detoxing.
What natural systems are involved in detoxing?
The liver is the primary organ involved in naturally detoxifying the body. This organ eliminates chemicals and other toxins from the body, moving these to the bowels for elimination. In order to maximize your body’s natural ability to detox, it’s important that you focus on consuming foods that will help the liver in its function. Vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts can help the liver function well. The extra fiber provided by these foods will also help to avoid constipation, which is another important part of the detoxification process.
When you participate in cleanses such as the 10 day detox diet or a 3 day detox program, they are usually focused on relieving constipation and cleansing the bowels and colon from the harmful chemicals that your liver has removed from your bloodstream. These programs will usually have you drink large amounts of water, as well as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that are filled with antioxidants. These vital nutrients are essential toward promoting good liver function. They also encourage the consumption of organic foods, which are free from the harmful pesticides and other chemicals that can cause you to feel sluggish and experience other symptoms.
Your kidneys also play a major role in removing toxins from the body. Your kidneys are constantly filtering your blood, removing toxins and sending them to the urine. This is why so many programs recommend drinking large amounts of water. Three quarters of your body is water, and staying hydrated is absolutely essential for helping to clear toxins and for keeping your kidneys healthy.
A water detox is an excellent way to help your kidney’s functioning well. This usually involves drinking copious amounts of water, usually mixed with lemon and other natural flavors such as mint, cucumber, and orange. Each of these helps to soothe your digestive system and improve kidney function. It also helps your liver by cleansing the bowels and more quickly removing toxins from your system.
Another area where water and lemon detox programs help is with the skin. While most people don’t think of it as such, the skin is the largest organ in your body. It is also essential to the detoxification process, removing toxins through your sweat, which is why many detox programs recommend a visit to your local spa or sauna. When your body is full of toxins, it is often your skin that shows the symptoms first. This can take the form of skin that is unusually dry, or that shows the effect of aging more quickly than you might want or expect. By drinking plenty of water or participating in detox programs, you can help your skin rid the body of toxins more quickly. It also helps your skin to renew itself.
Of course, there are other systems in your body that help to remove or filter out toxins. Your lungs devote a large portion of their function to filtering out environmental toxins from the air we breathe. However, this is one area where a detox program won’t be of much use; the best way to help your lungs is to avoid breathing in these toxins in the first place. This means avoiding chemical sprays, and most certainly refraining from smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke. When your lungs are clear, your body will have more energy and all of your other natural systems and processes will work better and more efficiently, including those that are focused on removing toxins from the rest of your body.
Your digestive organs also help to filter environmental toxins from the food you eat and the beverages you consume. Like the lungs, it is best for your stomach and other digestive organs if you avoid these toxins in the first place by consuming organic foods and filtered water.
The Best Natural Detox Programs
10 Day Detox
A 10-day detox diet is one of the easiest programs to follow and usually provides you with the extra benefit of jump starting your metabolism and promoting weight loss as well. A good program will recommend the consumption of organic foods that are high in antioxidants and plenty of water. We recommend this plan from Dr. Oz as one of the best that we’ve found. Not only is it full of high antioxidant, healthy foods, you will also be eating enough that you won’t feel deprived or starving throughout your day.
3 Day Diet Detox
This is an excellent plan for those who want to jump start their body’s natural detox organs. Like a 10 day cleanse, your three day detoxification plan should include plenty of high antioxidant fruits and vegetables. This plan from Prevention, for example, focuses on the consumption of spinach, cranberries, and kale, which can activate your liver enzymes. This is further supplemented with the consumption of garlic (or garlic scapes)and onion, two foods that can help your body produce glutathione, a natural antioxidant particularly helpful in removing heavy metal toxins from your body.
If you’re going to try a detox drink, make it water. Drinking a minimum of two liters of pure, filtered water is simply the best way to help your body remove toxins on its own. A simple combination of water with lemon is excellent for your skin, kidneys, and liver. There are a number of other detox water recipes that you can find online. Our favorite is water infused with lemon, cucumber, and mint that is sometimes known online as “Sassy Water”. This drink helps to clear the colon, and the mint helps to make the drink taste crisp and refreshing.
The best way to help remove toxins from your skin and to help your skin renew itself is by body brushing. Use a brush with natural bristles, and gently begin brushing at the soles of your feet. Use a circular motion that rotates toward the heart, and brush up the soles of your feet, to the top of your feet, then ankles, and work up the legs. You will want to brush high-toxin areas such as your abdomen more than once and make sure that you carefully brush all of the surfaces on your body. If necessary, have someone help you with your back.
Once you’ve brushed your entire body, take a hot shower followed by a cold rinse. This helps to simulate your circulation and removes the old, dead skin cells. Pat the skin dry gently with a towel and apply a lotion or skin-renewing oil such as jojoba. Be careful not to stretch your skin after brushing, and avoid scrubbing vigorously while in the shower. For a facial detox, create a mask out of montmorillonite clay and distilled water and apply for 15 minutes.
While many people have begun to believe that detoxing diets and other cleanses aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, when used correctly these programs do have a positive effect on your body and your health. By helping your body better make use of its natural detoxifying processes, you can improve your health in a myriad of ways. Although there are a number of chemical teas and pills available for detoxing the body, these usually don’t work as well as they claim, and in some cases may actually cause more harm than good. Natural detox programs are far more helpful than these chemical peels, strips, pills and teas. We hope that this article has helped you understand the natural processes that remove toxins from your body, and how best to help them work better and more efficiently.