Sat | Jan 23, 2021

The importance of detoxifying your body

Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2021 | 12:14 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

The human body is a self-healing, self-renewing, self-cleansing organism. When the right conditions are created, vibrant well-being is its natural state.

However, we have departed from the ways of nature and live under less-than-natural conditions. The air we breathe, the water we drink and shower with, the foods we eat, the cosmetics we use, and the buildings we live and work in are loaded with toxic chemicals that alone, or in combination, cause disease, suffering and even death.

When we remove these obstacles and add what is lacking, our bodies bounce back into health as if by magic. This is natural, commonsensical medicine, enabling the body to heal, regenerate, and even rejuvenate itself.

With this in mind, if you want to stay healthy, there are two fundamental practices to follow – detoxification cleansing and eating real foods.

When you hear the word ‘detox’, a range of ideas may come to mind. Perhaps immediately, your thoughts wander to strange herbal concoctions or pungent wheatgrass shots! Perhaps you have tried a detox programme before and found the initial symptoms to be unpleasant.

COMMON MYTHS

Or perhaps you have experience with detoxing on a frequent basis and are aware of the incredible physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a deep cleanse. Either way, it’s important to dispel common myths around what a detox is, and to truly understand why it is important to give your body a break from time to time.

According to Natalie Murray, integrative health coach, it is important to detoxify your body because over time, toxins from our food will build up in our body. Additionally, there are just some foods that detract from your energy and vibrance.

“When your diet consists of these foods, we tend to be sluggish, lack energy, and the skin may be dull. You will even get brain fog, headaches, experience bloating and sleepless nights,” Murray said.

Pulling away from these foods, she said, will allow us to be our best self and enables the body to cleanse naturally.

“By including herbs that support bowel movement, and also supplements, we can actually pull the toxins from our body and ensure that our bowels move regularly enough to flush the toxins from our system,” said Murray, who is the owner of Life Store Wellness Boutique.

“We also want to include a lot of cleansing foods, such as leafy greens and other vegetables, in order to completely detoxify the body. We also need appropriate levels of vitamin B, magnesium and protein,” she added.

In the past we used to pick our food from trees and the earth, and hunt or fish for the rest. Now we buy it in modern supermarkets. Ninety percent of the products in supermarkets come in some kind of container.

In order to extend shelf life, these food-like products are loaded with chemicals and preservatives that kill bacteria. Most products also contain additives to give them the colour, smell, taste, and texture that will tempt us to buy and eat them.

The remaining 10 per cent of what is edible – produce, fish, meats and the dairy products – are loaded with chemicals as well. All of these chemicals cause havoc inside our bodies, being the most intimate source of toxins for us since we throw this mixture in our bellies and soon enough, it passes into our blood.

Returning to a more natural way of eating is the best way to avoid disease and premature ageing. It also keeps the weight off. Buy organic foods, shop in your local farmer’s markets. Increase the consumption of vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains, and legumes.

Some persons, she said, thought of detox as just taking a tea that will make them go to the bathroom, but the process, she noted, is much more than that and includes a lot of nutrient-based foods.

“How often you detox depends on how aggressively you are going to be with your programme. And also how contaminated your normal diet is,” Murray said.

“Anywhere from once per month to once per quarter; some people do it annually, while some people do it after a weekend of overindulging. It really is a specific decision,” she added.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com

So, why should we detox?

Most of us tend to agree that detoxification or ‘detox’ diets are short-term interventions designed to eliminate toxins from the body, promote health, and assist with weight loss. Here are some great tips to help you out when doing a total body detox, and why these tips are so important for your overall, long-term health:

HYDRATION

Aim to drink between eight glasses of water per day.

How to make this happen:

Use meal times as a reminder to hydrate. Drink 500ml water (with lemon juice, if you prefer) upon rising, and repeat half an hour before lunch and dinner. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.

EXERCISE

• Aim to move your body regularly throughout the day.

How to make this happen:

Break exercise into smaller chunks of time. Take 10 minutes in the morning to stretch, go for a half-hour walk before heading to work, or take the stairs instead of the elevator in your building.

Incorporate being active into your social life; catch up with friends for a walk, run or gym session, instead of a coffee or cocktails.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

• Aim to incorporate as many fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet as possible.

How to make this happen:

Juices, smoothies and salads are a perfect place to start. Incorporate chlorophyll-rich foods, as well as herbal teas.

Foods containing citric and malic acid (grapes, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits), as well as selenium-rich foods (such as mushrooms and sunflower seeds), have been shown to assist with the removal of heavy metal build-up within the body.

SLEEP

• Sleep assists with the rejuvenation of cells and helps with the healing and repair of your heart, muscles and blood vessels. Aim to sleep seven to eight hours per night.

How to make this happen:

Be aware of the importance of sleep hygiene. Avoid caffeine before bed, allow two hours between your last meal and bedtime, and use dim lighting.

Make a conscious effort to wind down before rolling into bed. Put your phone down, turn off the TV, free yourself from distractions, and make your sleep space as comfortable as possible.

GET OUTSIDE

• Breathe fresh air into your lungs; receive your daily dose of vitamin D and boost your mood. Eat more meals outdoors; every once in a while, exercise outdoors instead of in a gym or studio.

How to make this happen:

If you are going to be inside all day, take your breakfast outside to a sunny place. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, go for a walk outside and sit in a comfortable, relaxing space. Breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sun’s warmth on your skin can help to both clear your lungs and boost your mood.

Detoxing is not as confusing or restrictive as you may have thought. By assisting your body’s natural detoxification system, chances are a little boost of self-care will be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for you! Plus, the benefits of feeling amazing afterwards make it all so worthwhile.