The concept of detox is often synonymous with no food, green juices, nasty tasting beverages and a lot of apple cider vinegar and cayenne concoctions.
But the truth is, a detox can be an enjoyable part of your healthy lifestyle routine, aiding in weight loss and making you feel better and function optimally.
In fact, it is a good idea to detox regularly to help with digestive help, offer liver support and ensure all your bodily systems can be regularly cleansed of toxins and build ups.
The key is in making sure that you are doing the detox properly so that you gain all the benefits with minimal nasty side effects and hunger pangs!
Here are 6 handy tips to help you get through a healthy detox:
1. Focus on whole, nutrient dense foods
The basis of any good cleanse or detox, is whole foods, which are alive and in their natural form, have no additives and are not processed. Focusing on a plant-based diet during cleansing is most beneficial, as plants are much easier for the body to digest and break down than meat. Ensure you are consuming lots of variety so you can meet all your vitamin and mineral requirements, and watch for adequate intake of protein and healthy fats.
2. Eliminate coffee/stimulants, sugar/refined carbohydrates, dairy, gluten, alcohol, smoking etc.
The idea of a detox is to give all our systems a break and all our organs a bit of a reprieve so they can do some of their own maintenance in terms of keeping themselves healthy. Consuming coffee, sugar, dairy etc., actually makes our digestion system work harder or be in a less than optimal state (i.e. too acidic), and this counteracts the attempts to help it improve and detox.
3. Drink LOTS of water
Water is one of the main things your body uses to flush itself of the toxins that will be eliminated during detox. Failure to consume adequate water means that these toxins will simply be reintegrated back into the body as part of the normal cleansing cycle. Be sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, more if you are active or if you are engaged in a detox period which is more involved than your usual eating habits. Here's an article all about how important water is for weight loss, plus 8 creative ways to drink more water!
4. Employ a daily fast
If you eat dinner around 6-7, don’t eat anything after dinner or at bedtime, and then have breakfast the next morning around 7-8, your body will have experienced a 12-14 hour fast. This fast is built into our natural daily cycle, but with late dinners, bedtime snacks and early mornings, we don’t always observe it. Put in some time and effort to set up a schedule so that you can fast for around 12 hours each night. In the morning, start with warm water and lemon to wake up your digestive system and start the day fresh again.
5. Get adequate fiber
Fiber is essential in making sure your body can move the waste through your intestine and colon to be eliminated. Your colon employs a wave-like motion to move food through as its on its way out. To do this, it requires fiber. Failure to consume enough fiber means your food won’t move well and will sit in your digestive system, leading to cramps, bloating, constipation and water retention. Get your fiber and keep things moving along! Here are 10 high fiber foods to add to your diet.
6. Consume healthy fats
Fats play a key role in many of our bodily processes, including everything from elimination to digestion to immune support to maintaining healthy skin and nails. They also play a key role in detox, offering nutrients, lubrication and emulsifying agent for our body to break down wastes and eliminate toxins. Focus on healthy fat sources such as avocado and coconut oil, and consume a regular intake of fish oil or hemp oil.