Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ways to Detoxify Your Body

Toxins are EVERYWHERE: in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the beverages we drink, and the products we put on our bodies. The average person absorbs up to 2 pounds of chemicals and fragrance in one year just with topical products alone. Signs of a toxic overload are: headaches, migraines, neck and back pain, joint pain, allergies, respiratory problems, insomnia and mood changes. If toxins have been present in the body for a long period of time, other health problems can arise such as ulcers, sinus congestion, constipation, skin conditions and arthritis. Regular detoxification is necessary to combat the overload of toxins found in our bodies on any given day, and there are many ways to jump start your body in order to achieve its optimal health.

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. Detoxifying the body properly, requires that you first eliminate alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, refined sugars and saturated fats, as well as OTC (over-the-counter) drugs, and that you drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. 

The next step is to have regular bowel movements. If this is something you are struggling with, eat foods that are high in fiber and/or help the blood to circulate; such foods include: brown rice, beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli and seaweed.

Help your liver to activate the detoxification process. Fasting for 1 day is usually a great way to help your liver recover from toxin overload. If this isn't possible (some of us just can't manage to do it), drink teas that contain Burdock root, dandelion, milk thistle and chlorella. Include high doses of Vitamin C whenever possible by eating bell peppers, dark leafy greens, oranges, strawberries and papaya. Vitamin C produces a natural compound called glutamate that "drives away toxins." Try juicing your fruits and vegetables to increase your nutrient levels. The longer you are able to incorporate a "detox diet" into your lifestyle, the healthier you will be. Try it out for 3 days and see how you feel. Then little by little, start adjusting your daily routine to also reduce stress (a major contributor to toxin overload). 

Stress inhibits your body from functioning properly and it slows down your immune system. The best way to combat stress is to exercise. You don't have to exercise for lengthy periods of time, just enough to break a good sweat. Meditation is also an excellent way to reduce stress. Just sitting outside under a tree for 15 minutes can make all the difference in the world. It triggers your brain to acknowledge natural, primitive surroundings that are absent of modern stimuli, thereby breaking burdening thought cycles. 

Other effective ways to detoxify the body include lymphatic drainage, whether it is done by a professional (recommended) or by you in the comfort of your own home. Gently massaging your own feet, hands, arms and legs is a great way to promote circulation and relieve stress at the same time. More professional detox treatments include colonic hydrotherpy, herbal linen wraps, and seaweed therapy baths.

By now, you have probably already found ways to be healthier and this is most likely not the first article you've read on detoxification; it is simply a reminder. The most important thing to remember is that your body needs to detoxify REGULARLY. Make it a routine and not a yearly ritual. Your body will thank you, and your life will be ever more peaceful for it.

Reference: Bonnell, Sylvia. "Say Good-bye to Last Year's Toxins." Les Nouvelle Esthetiques & Spa American Edition, January 2012; p. 73-76.