You’re detoxing right now — and with a little help you’ll do it even better. When you’re sweating, sneezing, crying, pooping and peeing your body’s natural detox pathways are removing toxins, poisons and waste from your body.
But you don’t need radical cleanses, punishing fasts or unpleasant purges. When your body has what it needs, your liver, kidneys, intestinal tract and skin can get rid of most toxins and poisons. Everything you eat, drink, inhale and absorb brings in both good and bad things that are broken down and processed.
The bad stuff travels through your body until it can be sorted out and removed mostly by the superstar detox organ: your liver. With more than 500 jobs including making bile to digest the food you eat, your liver can always use a little TLC.
Start small and upgrade your daily detox capabilities with these easy tips.
1. Eat more detoxifying foods.
Plenty of everyday foods can boost your body’s detoxifying ability, starting with onions and garlic. As alliums, garlic and onions contain lots of sulfur, an important element for detoxifying substances like radiation and pollution. Onions and garlic have been shown to have other powerful health effects including cancer-preventive qualities and active support for healthy digestion. Other sulfur-containing detox foods include eggs, red peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cottage cheese.
Artichokes are great because their ingredients move toxins out and purify and protect the liver by increasing bile production. Detoxifying herbs and spices like parsley, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, fennel seed and cilantro can perk up all your meals.
2. Drink enough water.
Common foods and
toxic in your body
- high fructose corn syrup
- dairy products
- hot dogs and deli ham
- hydrogenated oils, shortening, palm oil
- excess sugar
- artificial sweeteners and preservatives
- many medications
- artificial food coloring
- fruits and vegetables coated with pesticides
Water hydrates your tissues and organs and helps flush toxins out of your body mostly through your kidneys. A good guide is to drink at least half your weight in ounces every day, according to Dr. Sharon Stills, NMD. But don’t flood your system with water because that affects the balance of key electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride.
Start your day — really! Do this right when you wake up — with a cup of hot water and lemon. Experts say it wakes up your liver and flushes toxins. The lemon juice helps keep your body’s alkaline balance and that also helps with detox. You can switch to cold water and lemon in the summer.
3. Pop some supplements.
For ongoing detox support that’s easy to take every day, we like milk thistle, magnesium citrate, and a solid antioxidant formula. Research suggests that milk thistle, or silymarin, can protect the liver from specific toxins, including certain drugs and perhaps even alcohol.
Your body uses magnesium for more than 300 separate enzyme systems in your body and you can get it every time you eat leafy green vegetables, black beans, oatmeal, avocados, nuts, seeds and bananas. Taking in extra magnesium as magnesium citrate is a tried and true way to keep your bowels moving regularly — a key step in the natural detox process.
Antioxidants can prevent or even stop damage caused by oxygen free radicals. You find them naturally in colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and tea. Because antioxidants neutralize free radicals, they support your body’s natural cleansing processes. To increase your antioxidant intake, you can try a well-absorbed antioxidant supplement.
You can find milk thistle, magnesium citrate and our Super Antioxidant formulas in the Daily Wellness section of our SHOP.
4. Exercise to purge poisons.
If you want to detox your body naturally you have to get up, get out and get moving. While sweating does carry out some toxins, it’s actually the exercise itself that detoxes poisons out of your body, including excess stress chemicals. When you’re riding a bike or jogging, your muscles act a little bit like your liver or kidneys by making a powerful detoxing enzyme (PGC-1a1) that effectively purges toxins and also helps protect against depression.
If you don’t exercise, built-up toxins will leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued. Exercise boosts circulation of both your oxygen-carrying blood and lymph systems. The lymph network is part of your immune system and it filters and extracts bacteria along with other damaging cells and substances.
5. Get a little more sleep.
When you’re asleep, your cells and tissues are mending themselves and since you’re not eating, your elimination processes have the opportunity to get caught up. Even your brain detoxes and flushes out toxic molecules that build up during your waking hours.
A big part of why you feel so refreshed after a good night’s sleep is due to the detoxification that happens during this daily down time. One study suggests that the most popular sleeping position — on your side — is the best way to encourage removal of waste products in the brain. So if you’re not one already, turn into a side sleeper and get some zzz’s!
While it’s true that some of us detox better than others, the “cleaner” you keep your diet and living environment, the fewer the poisons that will need to be removed. For most of us, this is an ongoing process as we try to strike the balance between doing what we want and what we know is right for our bodies.
Every move you make toward supporting your natural detox pathways is a step in the right direction.
Nicastro H, Ross S, Milner J. Garlic and onions: Their cancer prevention properties. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Mar; 8(3): 181–189. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4366009/. Accessed 9.19.16.
Sears, M. Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification—A Review. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013; 2013: 219840. Published online 2013 Apr 18. doi: 10.1155/2013/219840. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654245/ Accessed 9.20.16
Barve A, Khan R, Marsano L, Ravindra KV, McClain C. Treatment of alcoholic liver disease. Ann Hepatol. 2008 Jan-Mar;7(1):5-15. Review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18376362 Accessed 9.20.16.
Lee H, Xie L, Yu M, K Hongyi, Feng T, Deane R, Logan J, Nedergaard M, Benveniste H. The Effect of Body Posture on Brain Glymphatic Transport. The Journal of Neuroscience, 5 August 2015, 35(31): 11034-11044. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/31/11034 Accessed 9.21.16.