Thinking of doing a detox to give your body a fresh start?
If you want to improve body composition, feel more energetic, and be healthier, supporting your body’s ability to detoxify is a smart move.
Unfortunately, most people think detoxes require deprivation, fasting, or some combination of exotic juice blends that will “cleanse” their bodies of bad eating and unhealthy habits.
In reality, your body has a well-designed system for eliminating toxins and waste products. All you need to do is support it with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Here are ten ways to do detox the right way.
#1: Eat high-protein foods.
A lot people think that with lots of water and colorful juice they can flush all the waste compounds from their bodies. In reality every waste product has to be bound with an amino acid for removal, which is why a high-protein intake is extremely important for fast elimination.
#2: Eat phytonutrient-rich fruits & veggies.
Besides providing natural fiber, colorful fruits and vegetables—kale, collards, broccoli, blueberries, and tart cherries, to name a few—provide antioxidants to take free radicals out of circulation. An added bonus is that almost all of these foods provide unique nutrients that play peripheral roles in healthy elimination. For instance, citrus are packed with a compound called D-limonene, which increases liver enzymes so that the body is able to eliminate excess hormones.
#3: Use natural chelators.
Natural chelators are food or nutritional compounds that attach to heavy metals and other toxins to help remove them from the body. The most effective food-based chelators can easily be added to your diet everyday:
Has an overall protective effect against heavy metals, reducing organ damage from mercury.
Is a fruit fiber that can improve removal of heavy metals from the body.
Cilantro and parsley
Contain protective compounds against mercury.
#4: Eat healthy fats.
Foods rich in healthy fats contain antioxidants that help neutralize the free radicals produced during elimination. Additionally, the omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA that are found in fish, promote estrogen elimination safely down a pathway that doesn’t cause cancer.
#5: Eat plenty of probiotic foods.
These foods provide active live cultures that improve GI health. Add yogurt, cultured dairy, sauerkraut, kefir, or pickled ginger to every meal.
#6: Avoid foods you’re intolerant of.
Wheat, gluten, and dairy are common food intolerances. A food intolerance is simply a food that your body is not able to digest efficiently. When this happens, your body will release a protein called zonulin. Zonulin increases the permeability of the cell layer that lines the intestines and allows waste to pass into the blood stream—the opposite of what you want for optimal detox!
#7: Chew your food.
Seems simple, but chances are you need to improve your chewing skills. Large food particles that reach the stomach are incompletely digested and they are dangerous because the harmful gut bacteria feed on them. Try chewing each bite at least 15 times.
#8: Try digestive enzymes or apple cider vinegar.
If you have low stomach acid, your body won’t completely break down food, and large particles will make it to your intestines, causing a whole list of problems you don’t want to deal with. You can supplement with digestive enzymes, or if you have a mild version of the problem, taking a shot of apple cider vinegar before meals can due the trick nicely.
#9: Reduce your “toxic” load.
Avoid processed food, medications, and alcohol.
The problem with these compounds is that they can damage the cell wall in the gut. When this happens, toxins are re-released into the blood stream, causing harm to everything from tissue to DNA and gene function.
#10: Drink plenty of water.
Sometimes it’s the little things that we forget. Obviously, you need adequate water for optimal digestion, gut, and liver function and it’s very important that your water be as free of toxins as possible.
Unfortunately, contaminated water is not just a third world problem: Pesticides, animal-treated hormones, PCBs, dioxins, benzene, and dangerous bacteria are just a tip of the iceberg. Therefore, it’s worth looking into water quality by getting a water quality report from the EPA. You can also buy a filter or test your water with a home test that can be bought online or at a hardware store.