Do you feel tired, sluggish, or just plain unhealthy? If so, the answer to your problems may lay in a body detox, also commonly known as a body cleanse. With a cleanse, you allow your body to expel the potentially harmful toxins it has accumulated throughout the years. The end result should be an improvement in your health and overall wellbeing.
Natural cleansing involves flushing built up toxins and waste out of your body, leaving you feeling better than ever before! There are many natural methods you can use to detox your body, varying from specific cleansing rituals which quickly clear out your system, to food, drink and lifestyle choices that you can sustain long-term.
Lifestyle Changes to Detox Your Body
Exercise. Getting regular exercise is one of the healthiest, most natural ways to cleanse the body. This is because exercise gets the body moving and keeps it functioning at full capacity. It helps you to lose weight, thus releasing the toxins that have built up in fat cells over the years. Toxins are also expelled from the body through perspiration, cleansing the body in the most natural way possible.
- Try to incorporate four or five 30-minutes sessions of moderate to intense exercise into your weekly routine – anything from running, swimming, dancing or climbing – you’ll feel healthier and happier in no time.
- Exercise also improves both circulation and digestion, two bodily functions which are essential in the process of natural cleansing.
Quit smoking. Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to introduce toxins into your body. Aside from nicotine, most commercial cigarette brands contain over 4000 other toxic chemicals. Even after you quit smoking, these toxins will linger in your body for some time. For this reason – smoking should be the first thing to go when trying to cleanse your body naturally.
Avoid environmental toxins. This one can be tricky, especially in modern times when air pollution and overuse of chemicals is so pervasive in Western society. Whenever possible you should try to surround yourself with clean fresh air and avoid breathing in city smog and factory smoke. Escape to the country or seaside for the weekend, if you can, to clear the city from your lungs.
- Also avoid breathing in second-hand smoke as far as possible, and try to use natural cleaning products to clean your home, to avoid unnecessary exposure to harsh chemicals.
- Get outdoors and go for a walk in the park or along the lake. It helps you stay fit and enhances the functioning of your body and mind.
Manage stress. Stress can contribute to your overall ill health, as it impairs the release of good hormones and prevents your body from functioning at its optimal level. Without these good hormones, your body retains toxins which may cause you to feel tired and depressed, leading to further weight gain and unhealthy lifestyle choices. By successfully keeping your stress levels to a minimum, you can encourage the release of good hormones and minimize your body’s retention of negative toxins, leading to a happier, healthier you.
- Yoga and meditation are great choices for people with busy lives who are trying to reduce their stress levels. By focusing only on your breathing, you are clearing and cleansing the mind which, in turn, has a positive impact on the body.
Get an intense massage. A good, intense massage can actually help to rid the body of excess toxins, when performed by a trained professional. The massage needs to focus on pressure points within the muscles, where toxins have a tendency to accumulate. The deep stimulation of this muscle tissue can actually release the toxins, allowing them to be flushed naturally from the system.
- Remember to drink plenty of water after your massage session to speed up the flushing-out process.
- Make sure you see a registered massage therapist who has experience with toxin-releasing massage techniques.
Get more sleep. Although it’s not responsible for cleansing the body in itself, sleep is nonetheless essential for maintaining normal body function and for living a healthy life. Your body needs sleep to recover and repair itself after the stresses and strains of daily life.
- Getting 7-8 hours sleep a night – as doctors recommend – helps your body prepare for the next day, giving you more energy for exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices.
- Sleep also essential for a healthy immune system, without which your body would be unable to deal with the harmful viruses, bacteria and toxins it is constantly bombarded with.
- People who are sleep deprived are at higher risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Try fasting for a day or two. Fasting is a popular, if a little extreme, way of cleansing the body by cutting out or severely limiting your body’s intake of food, while simultaneously flushing out your system with high volumes of liquid. The idea is that your body can start afresh – cleansed and renewed – after everything bad has been expelled from the system.
- Some extreme fasters will go for over a week (or even two) without eating, but if you have never fasted before you should probably try it for just one or two days, to minimize the shock to your system.
- Although some fasting advocates hold that only water should be drunk over the course of the fast, others believe that juice is the way to go as the natural sugars help to wash out the system more quickly.
- You should be aware that the jury is still out on whether fasting has any significant impact on cleansing your system, and many doctors believe that such an extreme course of action may have more negative side effects than positive.
Try acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of holistic treatment which works by inserting tiny needs into the skin at pressure points around the body. Acupuncture can help to cleanse the body by targeting pressure points where toxins tend to build up. The toxins are then released, so that they can be naturally flushed out of your system.
- Though it may not sound like it, acupuncture can be a very relaxing experience and many people have found it to be an extremely effective treatment for ailments as diverse as sinus blockages and fertility problems.
- Make sure you see a licensed acupuncturist for treatment, as it can be dangerous when practiced incorrectly.
Healthy Eating and Drinking
Eat more fiber. Fiber is the number one nutrient for maintaining proper digestive function and, as such, is a fantastic natural cleanser. Eating more fiber helps the body to rid itself of the toxins, preservatives and other harmful waste materials that have built up in the digestive tract over time.
- Increasing your fiber intake helps to cleanse your body by stimulating regular bowel movements, leaving you feeling light and healthy, rather than bloated and sluggish.
- The best natural sources of fiber include whole-grain cereals, pasta and rice, fresh fruit and vegetables (especially with the skins left on), beans, lentils and almonds.
Eat organic foods. Aim to buy only organically grown fruits and vegetables, and organically produced meat and dairy products. Although more expensive, organic produce is generally free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and uses a only a minimal amount of growth hormones and antibiotics.
- By eating only organically produced foods, you are limiting your body’s exposure to the harmful chemicals contained in such pesticides and other substances used in the production of non-organic foods.
- Note that this will only limit your exposure to some toxins, but not others. There are still toxins in processed organic foods which may be harmful or carcinogenic.
Drink plenty of water. Increasing your water intake is one of the most important things you can do when attempting to cleanse your body naturally. You should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day. You can increase your intake of water by drinking a glass first thing in the morning and with every snack or meal throughout the day. You can also eat fruit and veg with a high water content, such as watermelon, strawberries, cucumber and tomatoes.
Drink herbal teas. Drinking herbal teas is a great way to increase your fluid intake, while also reaping the benefits of the many naturally cleansing herbs and roots provided by Mother Nature. Some of the most beneficial teas you can drink include:
- Licorice tea. Licorice is a substance with extensive health benefits, but in terms of its uses as an internal cleanser, licorice tea helps to support liver function while also acting as a mild laxative, helping to clear the bowels by eliminating built-up waste. Licorice tea can be found in health food stores, or you can boil 1/2 oz of licorice root in a pint of water to make your own. Licorice tea may have a negative effect on people with high blood pressure, however, so you should consult your doctor before proceeding.
- Dandelion tea: Dandelion tea cleanses the body by stimulating the gall bladder, kidneys and liver, thus decreasing water retention and helping your body to quickly flush out impurities. It is also thought to have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and to help boost the immune system. Dandelion tea can be purchased in most health food stores, or you can make your own by boiling freshly harvested dandelions in water.
- Burdock tea. Burdock root has been used in natural remedies for centuries and its impressive health benefits are still recognized today. Burdock is a natural blood purifier which helps to detoxify and cleanse the blood of any built-up impurities. It also helps to flush waste out of the system by cleansing the intestinal tract and stimulating the production of urine. In addition, it helps to protect and repair the liver, which can be useful following heavy consumption of alcohol. Burdock tea can be purchase or a small amount of the root can be boiled in water.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol are two substances that should be avoided as far as possible during the cleansing process. The toxins contained in both coffee and alcohol can impair liver and kidney function, which may prevent your body from being able to cleanse itself naturally. When your body is unable to cleanse itself, serious health conditions such as diabetes and obesity are a risk.
- Coffee is often exposed to herbicides and pesticides during the growing process, can contribute to dehydration and has no evident health benefits on the body.
- Alcohol, particularly dark liquors such as whisky, rum and red wine, contain toxins known as congeners which develop as a byproduct of the fermentation process. In addition to these cogeners, alcohol also produces a toxic substance known as acetaldehyde when it metabolizes in the body.
Eat more superfoods. Although you should restrict your intake of any processed foods during a cleanse, you should try to eat as many superfoods as possible. These are certain foods that have extraordinary health benefits, which include helping your body by speeding up the cleansing process. Four of the most beneficial ones are listed below but others include blueberries, apples, watercress, celery, Brussels sprouts, carrots, papaya and wild rice.
- Garlic. Garlic has many significant health benefits, perhaps the most important of which is its ability to boost liver function by aiding in the production of enzymes which help the liver to clear toxins from the body.
- Lemon. Lemons – along with other citrus fruits like grapefruit and lime – are widely accepted as being one of the best natural body cleansers available. This is why lemons are often a vital component in many juice cleanse and body flush recipes. The citric acid in lemons has the ability to dissolve built-up toxins in the body, allowing them to be flushed out through urination. Try squeezing some lemon juice into a glass of water and drinking first thing in the morning, or simply eat a grapefruit for breakfast.
- Kale. Kale is a super-healthy leafy green vegetable with major cleansing credentials. Kale – along with other greens like cabbage – is a slightly alkaline food, which enables it to neutralize sugars and other toxins, before they are eliminated from the body. In this way, kale helps to ensure that blood maintains its natural, weakly alkaline state.
- Beets. Bright red beets are another superfood just bursting with health boosting goodness. They contain detoxifying, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, due to their high levels of betalain, the pigment which gives beets their vibrant color. Be aware that beets lose the best of their health benefits when cooked, so try to eat them raw as much as possible.
Restrict your intake of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates like white rice, bread and pasta are basically devoid of nutrients, vitamins or any substances that are good for your body. Yes, they will make you feel full initially, but this fullness is accompanied by a spike and then fall of your blood sugar, which is bad for your energy levels and overall health. In addition, simple carbohydrates are often filled with preservatives, which can build up in your system, leading to the development of toxins.
- Switch to eating more high-fiber wholegrain foods and complex carbohydrates, such as those found in starchy vegetables like potatoes, wholegrain breads, pastas and cereals, brown rice and legumes.
- Complex carbohydrates are much more beneficial for the digestive system and will help to clear out the build-up of preservatives and toxins left behind by simple carbohydrates.
Try the lemonade cleanse. The lemonade cleanse, also known as the “master cleanse”, is one of the most popular and well-known cleanses, thanks to several celebrity advocates. The lemonade cleanse involves making a drink out of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper which you will consume exclusively for a period of between three and ten days. The lemonade cleanse is intended to help you flush toxins from your system, while also effectively aiding weight loss.
- To make one glass of the lemonade, mix four tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and half a teaspoon of organic maple syrup into a ten ounce glass of water. Make four to five times this quantity to make enough to last you an entire day.
- Be aware that most medical experts do not recommend this cleanse as it creates a serious calorie and nutrient deficit that can have a negative impact on health.
Try the green smoothie cleanse. Drinking this smoothie is a great natural, healthy way to cleanse your body, without resorting to depriving yourself of essential nutrients or going hungry. All you need to do is replace one meal a day with this energy-boosting drink, to gain all of its digestion-friendly benefits.
- Simply combine one cup of kale (with the stems removed), one coarsely chopped granny smith apple, one ripe banana and half a cup of fresh, flat-leafed parsley in a blender.
- Blend until smooth, adding a little water to thin the consistency, if necessary.
Do a salt water flush. Doing a salt water flush is another popular, if rather unpleasant, way to cleanse your system of built-up waste and toxins. Salt is a natural disinfectant which effectively flushes out the entire intestinal tract. In fact, this process is so effective that it is often used as a cost-effective alternative to expensive colonic irrigation procedures. The flush involves drinking a glass of salty water on an empty stomach, then waiting an hour or two as the solution flushes out your bowels, resulting in multiple eliminations.
- To make the salt solution, dissolve two level teaspoons of unrefined, non-iodized sea salt into one quart of lukewarm, purified water. Drink the solution first thing in the morning, as quickly as possible, using a straw if it helps.
- You should then lie on your right side for half an hour. This aids the passage of the salt water into the small intestine. At this point, you will feel the urge to eliminate, so make sure you are near a bathroom!
- The salt water flush is not recommended for people with digestive or kidney problems. If you have any concerns about doing it, you should consult your physician first.
- Be aware that intense diarrhea and sometimes vomiting are not uncommon after a salt water flush. These symptoms are normal and should subside within an hour or two.
Try the apple and ginger cleanse. This cleanse is a less intense version of the lemonade cleanse, as it only needs to be completed one day a week and may be accompanied by some light, healthy snacks. In addition to the apple and ginger, this recipe also includes psyllium husk – a type of dietary fiber which is said to effectively bind waste material together, making it easier for the waste to be flushed from the system.
- To make the juice cleanse, combine eight ounces of freshly-pressed or organic apple juice with one teaspoon each of ground ginger and ground psyllium husk. Mix well with a spoon, or blend at a low speed.
- After drinking this mixture, you should continue to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as this will help to keep the digestive system moving.
- Always consult your physician before pursuing any radical diet plans.