As you explore additional ways to optimize your health you may be wondering if doing a cleanse is right for you? There are a variety of reasons to consider doing a cleanse and numerous detox methods, some of which can be disruptive—as in lots of trips to the bathroom. Here’s a bit of information to help you make your decision.
Your Body Naturally Detoxes Itself
Our bodies are miraculous, so as long as your digestive tract, liver, kidneys, and skin are functioning properly you will naturally eliminate toxins through your urine, stool, and sweat. This includes toxins such as heavy metals and free radicals that we ingest or come in contact with when we make both healthy and unhealthy food choices. For example, fish is a leaner and cleaner animal protein—but it is wise to keep seafood to 3 servings or less per week to minimize your risk of mercury poisoning. The mercury in seafood comes primarily from burning fossil fuels, and the rainfall and runoff that makes its way into our oceans. At more than 3 servings of seafood per week, this may be more mercury than your body can detox.
Before you consider an extreme detox, consider better supporting your body in the detox process.
How To Optimize Natural Detoxification
There are countless choices you can make to promote the elimination of toxins. What is important to know is that even if your dietary choices and skincare and beauty products are clean, you still come into contact with a variety of toxins each day. From the air you breathe to prescription medications, and other environmental toxins. Here are just a few ways to optimize natural detoxification.
- Eat a diet high in whole foods and low in high sugar and processed foods
- Increase your intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, organic if possible
- Add more herbs, spices, and unsweetened herbals tea to your daily diet
- Drink no less than 64 ounces of water each day to help your body flush toxins
- Limit your alcohol consumption as excessive drinking can damage your liver
- Manage stress or your cortisol levels will rise minimizing the natural detox process
- Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night to allow your body to naturally cleanse, heal, and repair
- Increase the prebiotic foods in your diet such as tomatoes, bananas, onions, garlic, oats, and asparagus
- Increase the probiotics in your diet such as yogurt and fermented foods, or take probiotic supplements
- Manage your salt intake as overconsumption causes your body to retain water
- Exercise at least 4 days a week to help your muscles and organs expel toxins
- Minimize inhaled toxins in cleaning products, candles, and other household fragrances
- Switch to natural skincare and beauty products to minimize topical toxins
- Do a few daily or weekly detox as suggested in the last section
The Top Reasons To Detox
Some of the top reasons to detox include weight loss, improved energy, digestive concerns, and to minimize internal inflammation. Let’s discuss each:
You will likely lose weight during a detox, but the weight loss is unsustainable. However, cleanses are popular in January after overindulging during the holiday season. So, cleansing might be effective in getting back to your regular dietary routine.
There are a variety of factors that can lead to decreased energy, including your body being off balance internally. A full or mini detox may help you regain your energy, but if it doesn’t improve it’s time to head in for a physical.
If you are struggling with constipation or other dietary concerns, consider your recent diet. If you’ve been eating more junk food, fried food, sugar, and processed foods in your diet, a detox may help. It won’t just eliminate toxins, but it will minimize your sugar cravings. If a 3- or 5-day cleanse doesn’t help, or your symptoms worsen, see your physician as soon as possible.
Internal or External Inflammation
If your is skin red or inflamed, you are experiencing an increase in physical pain, or have symptoms of internal inflammation—a detox may help. If toxins are the cause your symptoms will rapidly improve. Again, ensure you discuss all symptoms or changes in health with a trusted practitioner.
The Difference Between Fasting And Detoxing
Fasting has been around for thousands of years but has gained in popularity over the last few years. First and foremost, your body requires nutrients from food and water to thrive. You should consult your physician or nutritionist before fasting.
Yes, fasting can rapidly detox your body, and may be a great way to reset if you are trying to eliminate a food allergy, minimize food cravings, or kickstart a new nutrition plan. Unfortunately, the current trends in fasting are getting a bit extreme. While you can mix in detoxing habits daily, fasting should be short-term.
Fasts that minimize food, such as juicing or only eating fruits or vegetables, are only designed to last between 1 and 3 days. Fasts such as intermittent fasting are designed to be short term, such as 7 days. If you are eating 3 balanced meals per day, it is safe for most people to fast for 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.
Your Detox Options
If you decide to detox, there is no need to go to an extreme. Like fasting, a more significant detox is meant to be short-term—typically 3 to 7 days, never more than 10 days. Here are a few options to consider:
- Purchase a kit with herbs and clay capsules, and follow as directed, always listening to what your body needs *most of these have a laxative effect so plan your detox accordingly
- Consider getting a colonic and following the 1 to 2 week post colonic diet suggested by your healthcare practitioner
- Invest in a condition-specific detox, such as a candida cleanse
- Use activated charcoal, which is suggested for food poisoning, but can also be used periodically to cleanse
- Take a food-safe bentonite clay liquid a few times a week, or as directed for a deeper detox
- Explore your options in detoxifying herbal tinctures or teas that focus on your detox goals
- Drink lemon or lime water daily
- Drink more artisanal, spring, or alkaline water
- Drink bone broth daily
- Drink parsley or cilantro water, starting with 1 or 2 glasses per day as they have a diuretic effect
- Drink chlorella and other greens blends
- Drink Epsom salt once or twice per week
- Take a salt cleanse bath
- Sweat with intention in a sauna or steam room
- Schedule an ionic foot bath
There are tons of mini detox tips above, which you can mix in daily or weekly. The more extreme cleanses should only be done sparingly and as directed by your healthcare professional. Whole-body wellness should be your ultimate goal, which you can achieve by personalizing your approach. This might include any combination of yoga, meditation, a daily gratitude practice, talk therapy, ASMR, journaling, and CBD to soothe your mind and body.