There is a lot out there regarding detoxing and cleansing. If you’re like a lot of people, you may have a general idea of what detoxing your body means, but you may not know how detoxing helps each of your body’s systems.
If done properly, detoxing your body can give you an extremely good foundation to start on as you start on any type of transformation journey. Whether you are wanting to lose weight, gain lean muscle mass, or put on healthy weight, detoxing can give your body a good jumpstart.
Unfortunately, there are so many different detoxing methods out there, picking the one that works best for your body can be difficult. Additionally, the type of detox that you select needs to be compatible with your health and fitness goals. To make the right decision, you first have to learn exactly what a detox is.
What is a detox?
Detoxing, also known as cleansing, is the process in which you rid the body of harmful toxins or any other unhealthy substances that might be causing your body’s anatomic systems to function improperly. A basic detox can remove these toxins by giving a specified nutritional boost to the liver, where most impurities in the blood are removed.
There are multiple reasons why people would choose to perform a detox. Increasing energy levels, weight loss, and the ability to control cravings are just a few of the primary reasons.
No two detoxing methods are the same and no two detoxing methods will produce the same results. It’s important to understand that different detoxing methods can produce different results for different anatomic systems. What works for your nervous system may not work for you digestive system.
How do you know if you should detox?
There are always extenuating circumstances in which cleansing generally isn’t recommended. You should definitely consult your doctor if you are pregnant, on prescription medication, or are diabetic before you consider detoxing.
Many dietitians and other health-care professionals recommend performing some type of detox or cleanse at least once per year. Specifically if you are experiencing symptoms like:
- irritated skin
- excessive drowsiness
- frequent viral infections
To figure out what detoxing method works best for each system, we first have to gain an understanding of some different detoxing and cleansing methods:
- Drinking Water
A water detox is one of the most basic forms of cleansing that you could perform. By simply increasing your intake of water throughout the day, you can flush out unwanted toxins and help your kidneys get rid of unwanted bacteria and impurity build ups. Many people find that they have increased energy and feel less bloated after doing a water detox. The most common form of water cleansing is drinking a gallon of water a day for 10 days.
- Sweating it out
Research is showing that when you sweat, you lose more than just salt and water through your pores. You are also pushing out unwanted impurities like toxins and heavy metals. Things like lead, mercury, and cadmium are often more efficiently excreted through sweat glands than they are through the urinary tract. If your gym has a dry or wet sauna, spend a few minutes in there after every workout. Even if you aren’t working out that day, hop in the sauna and let your body do its thing.
- A green tea regimen
Green tea is naturally high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in the body. Because it’s so high in antioxidants, green tea also has the ability to boost your immune system and keep your digestive system operating smoothly. When people detox with green tea, they generally drink two cups a day, one in the morning and one in the evening, for an average of about 15 days to one month.
This is generally the most recognizable form of detoxing and cleansing, and unfortunately it is the method that scares everyone away. First of all, fasting is NOT about starving yourself. Fasting, when it comes to detoxing, is about eliminating unhealthy aspects of our diet to focus on other, more healthy options. Avoiding things like caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or sugar for an extended period of time are the types of fasts that you need. While eliminating those substances, increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and water to help flush yourself out.
Probiotics are microorganisms (or bacteria) naturally found in the body that can help support your immune and digestive systems. There is good bacteria and then there is bad bacteria. The good bacteria in the body is designed to fight off the bad bacteria. Taking additional probiotic supplements can help boost the amount of good bacteria in the body, thus eliminating more bad bacteria that can cause digestion problems.
- Exercise Change
As you have probably figured out, detoxing is all about making a change. Making changes doesn’t just mean changing your body, it means changing your mindset. Changing up your exercise routine can help you get into a better mental state that is more prepared for making positive changes. Doing the same exercise routine over and over again can become less and less effective because your body doesn’t consider it a challenge anymore. Drastic exercise change shocks your body, giving it more of a workout.
- Cutting out Carbs
When we say carbs, we mean simple carbohydrates like white flour, white sugar, and fried foods. Most foods that contain these kinds of carbohydrates are usually over processed and packed full of preservatives that introduce more toxins to the body. They can spike your blood sugar, make you feel bloated, and put unnecessary strain on your excretory organs because they are now working overtime to get rid of them.
- Skin Brushing
The skin performs so many different functions. It protects us from outside elements, insulates us, holds our organs and muscles together, and even has a role in filtering out toxins. Sometimes though, the skin needs help getting rid of those toxins that it excretes. Dry brushing is a way that we can help our skin out and its great for aiding our lymphatic system detox. Take a standard natural bristle brush and start brushing your skin from the feet on up. Be careful not to brush too hard so your skin doesn’t get irritated.
Acupuncture is based on the principle of balancing Qi (more commonly pronounced as chi), the life force that harmonizes all functions of the body. An acupuncture treatment can help you eliminate cravings and can assist in getting rid of toxins through the urinary tract. The theory is that if the body is operating as normal as possible, then it will naturally get rid of waste material and toxins that it does not need. An acupuncture session can usually last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and generally people will be treated 2-3 times per month when they are trying to detox.
This is another more common form of detoxing that seems to be taking the world by storm. There are a wide variety of methods that have been used, but they are all generally based on the same principle: replacing a meal or meals with juices that are packed full of essential nutrients and are designed to help rid the body of impurities and toxins. Juice cleanses can last for three days or 30 days and can replace one meal or all your meals. The choice is up to you. Just remember to consult a health-care professional before doing a juice cleanse to make sure your body is able to adjust properly to the change in diet.
- Herbal Detox
There is a lot of benefits when choosing to use natural herbs to help your body to detox. Various different herbal combinations can be used to target different types of toxins and/or different body systems. However, please to always be mindful about the diuretic effects of some of the less-costly herbal teas that claim to have detox effects. The diuretics are not the preferred way to do a detox as it can pull out disproportional amount of good nutrients such as potassium and other vital minerals out of our body system. I would always consult someone qualified in herbology to help you choose wisely what’s the best herbal detox for you.