How the hell do we detox our bodies? Experts give us answers
Living a healthy lifestyle is something everyone should strive for. It goes without saying — you live healthy, you live longer. So if you’re looking for a simple yet super effective, way to keep your body healthy, a body detox might be your thing. The best part is, you only have to detox your body a few times a year. With this in mind, let’s discuss how to detox your body. Get ready…
You’ve probably heard how a body detox can be really good for you. But what exactly is a detox and why do we need it? First, it’s important to note that detoxification isn’t necessarily something you have to go out and do. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Amanda Sauceda tells HelloGiggles that detoxification is defined as your body’s natural ability to rid itself of toxins. “Your body is constantly detoxing 24/7,” she says.
When it comes to food, not everyone is disciplined enough to eat clean. The reality is, life gets busy and pizza is always so tempting. Besides that, environmental pollutants and bacteria can also find their way into your body. According to Dr. Josh Axe, founder of Ancient Nutrition, your body will do its best to get rid of (and prevent) the toxins that enter it.
“Your kidneys and digestive tract filter out waste, your lungs expel carbon dioxide, your skin pushes out sweat, and your liver works tirelessly to remove toxins from the blood,” Axe says. “Your body does the bulk of the work for you, but there are certain things that you can use to…make its job easier.”
That’s where you come in.
Your body may do all the internal detox work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play a role. As Nikki Sharp, wellness expert and bestselling author of The 5-Day Real Food Detox, tells HelloGiggles, detoxification is “the simple process of removing something that’s not good for you for a period of time.” It’s fairly easy and doing a body detox can have some pretty great benefits, such as…
1A rejuvenated body and mind
"Detoxing helps create more clarity and efficiency for our metabolism, health, and brain function," Sharp says. "It also helps to reduce stress, while increasing beneficial replacements such as nutrient dense food, more sleep, and more exercise."
2Elimination of symptoms associated with toxic overload
“Detox is beneficial because it can eliminate the symptoms and potential outcomes of toxic overload, which can become very serious,” nutrition response practitioner Dr. Donna Sergi tells HelloGiggles. Toxic overload is caused by things like the average American diet of highly processed foods, medications/OTC medications, antibiotics, pesticides sprayed on our food supply, and yeast in the gut.
If the toxic overload goes unchecked, then over time it can lead to things like Parkinson’s, depression, insomnia, heart disease, chronic fatigue, cancer, food and environmental allergies, Crohn’s, and hot flashes.
“Toxicity in the body can lead to premature aging of skin, causing wrinkles and redness, as well as certain skin conditions such as psoriasis,” health and wellness professional Dr. Sean McCaffrey says. “Detoxifying your body will lead to a softer, smoother, and healthier complexion.”
“When your body is working too hard and fighting inflammation, one of the symptoms is bloating and belly fat. This is because of increased cortisol levels, as a result of chronic stress on the body. Detoxing the body will help you lose the belly fat and return to a healthy weight,” McCaffrey says.
Other detox benefits include better sleep, decreased inflammation, and detection of any hidden food sensitivities or allergies.
How to detox your body
Although a body detox may involve cleansing your body of toxins, it’s not supposed to be looked at as a crash diet. As Carol Lee, Board Certified Health Counselor and founder of Provenance organic meals, says, “A detox or cleanse is all about nourishing your body with nutrient-rich whole foods, eliminating foods that trigger inflammation, and adding targeted supplements to support gut health.”
So if you want to know how to detox your body, here are some safe and beneficial ways to do it:
1Eliminate foods that cause inflammation
When it comes detoxing, diet is key.
“Inflammatory foods will naturally show up in your digestive system, Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer tells HelloGiggles. “It will cause your body to divert its resources toward putting out that constantly smoldering fire in your gut — sapping your energy, drying out your skin, and resulting in autoimmune skin disorders.
Inflammatory foods aren’t a surprise. These include refined sugars, alcohol, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils. So be sure to eliminate those from your diet when you’re doing a body detox.
2Add more antioxidant-rich foods to your diet
Sure, junk food and fast food are okay every now and then. But as Terra’s Kitchen’s Chief Nutrition Officer, Dr. Lisa Davis, says, “A break from unhealthy eating can help restore the health of our hard-working cells. Giving your body essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is always a good thing,”
Adding some antioxidant-rich foods can do wonders for your body. Those include leafy greens and vegetables, organic proteins such as fish and chicken, potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes and tomatoes, blueberries, dark chocolate, and cranberries.
3Do an intermittent fast
“Intermittent fasting is a great way to cleanse the body,” McCaffrey says. It will allow your body to rest and detoxify while ensuring it gets the needed nutrients. “There are different programs, but fasting for even a few hours a day or skipping meals a few days per week will improve your health.”
Some intermittent fasting regimes he suggests are the “Alternate Day,” where you eat normally every second day. On fasting days, you only eat a limited amount of calories. There’s the “Warrior,” which is limited to fruits and vegetables during the day, and a substantial meal for dinner. Then there’s the “Time Restricted” fast, which occurs for 16 hours per day and you eat within an eight-hour period. “Many people prefer this because it’s easier to manage,” he says. “You typically stop eating after dinner and skip breakfast in the morning.”
If you choose to do a fast, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor beforehand, just to make sure it’s safe for you.
4Get some exercise
Sweating out toxins is a great way to get rid of them. The best way to do that is through exercise. As Sergi says,
"Exercise should happen 3-5 times per week with a focus on simple cardiovascular activities like walking or swimming. Strengthening and stretching exercises are also good because they all help with your body's detox system."
If you’re exercising a ton, Sergi says it’s also important to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. That will also help your body eliminate and flush out any toxins.
A body detox isn’t something you have to do all year-round. Some experts say doing it seasonally, or just once or twice a year, can be beneficial.