With the improving weather and longer daylight hours, the desire to be outside and generally be more sociable and active is growing. Unfortunately, many ailments and illnesses and comfort-food eating, all too common during the cold dark winter months, can heavily impact our energy levels and can make the thought of venturing too far from home or engaging in active outdoor fun quite daunting.
The organ responsible for processing and purifying/removing toxins in the body is the liver, so any strategy to clean from the inside out should focus on foods that support liver function and the detoxification processes that occur in the liver.
The toxins we do have in our bodies tend to be stored in fat; in order to eliminate them we therefore have to liberate them from fat stores and flush them out, which requires a healthy lymphatic and circulatory system. Stress of any kind, as well as infection, can produce its own toxins in the form of free radicals. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants protects us against the damage these internally produced toxins can cause and helps to mop up any damaging stress products that may already be present.
With all of this in mind, here are a few foods, nutrients and daily activities that will help to boost your natural cleansing capacity and achieve a sense of internal freshness, as well as help you feel more energetic, shed a little excess weight and give your immune system a boost.
1) Water (with lemon and lime juice). Staying hydrated is always a good idea but without adequate fluid intake any toxins accumulating in the body cannot be fully ‘flushed out’. The presence of lemon and lime gives the water a cleansing vitamin C boost, which also boosts antioxidant levels as well as the immune system.
2) Garlic is not only great for supporting the circulation, therefore helping to keep the blood pumping and toxins passing through and out of our systems, but it also supplies the building blocks of the potent antioxidant and detoxifying agent glutathione. Garlic can also act as an antimicrobial, so will further help clear up any bugs lingering in the gut ready to wreak havoc and cause illness.
3) Leafy and cruciferous greens are full of chlorophyll, as well as being a great source of certain B vitamins. Together these green food nutrients help to boost liver function and support antioxidant production. Chlorophyll is also thought to help bind and eliminate toxins such as heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides.
4) Eggs are not commonly considered as a detox food but, being an excellent source of B vitamins not present in plants, as well as a good source of choline, they help to keep our methylation cycle healthy - a vital process for toxin elimination and protecting against oxidative stress.
5) N-Acetyl cysteine and milk thistle are two supplements that can be taken to support the liver; this can be very helpful if you feel your liver is under particular toxic strain, e.g. from high medication use or alcohol-related damage. These nutrients support the liver processes necessary for making toxins water-soluble so they can be excreted in the urine and faeces.
6) Fibre is involved in bulking the stool and allowing for healthy bowel transit. In addition, fibre helps bind unwanted food toxins, fats and chemicals as well as excess hormones, which can all cause
7) Pre and probiotics help to look after the health of the digestive tract and what we are able to absorb from our foods. Looking after the digestive tract can help to prevent unwanted toxins in food from reaching the blood, as a healthy mix of the right bacteria forms the first line of defence between our external and internal environments.
8) Body brushing and lymphatic massage are great ways to stimulate the lymphatic system. Indulging in some regular self-pampering will help you look and feel vibrant inside and out! When body brushing, start at the extremities and work your way towards the heart, brushing firmly in small circles. Alternatively, a qualified lymphatic drainage or Perrin Technique practitioner can utilise specialised techniques to stimulate your lymph.
Go natural as much as possible, from eating organic and grass fed food to glass (not plastic) containers for food and water, as well as using ‘green’ and plant-based detergents, cleaning products and cosmetics. By reducing the amount of chemicals we put into our bodies and onto our skin, as well as breathing in through the air whilst relaxing at home, we will reduce the toxic load we have to deal with, allowing the body to successfully eliminate more of those that cannot be so easily avoided.
With just a few simple changes daily you can boost liver function and lymph clearance. The more you do the more physical and mental energy you will have to keep you motivated and feeling your best.
Good luck and happy cleansing!
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