It seems appropriate, in light of the fact that I have never consumed more cheese (chocolate/bacon/eggnog) than I have in the last two weeks, to do a post on detox strategies. Around the holidays it’s easy to be aware of how polluted you feel, when indulgences wait around every corner, and your waistband gets tighter by the hour.
But even in our normal, mostly “healthy” lives, we are subjected to toxins on a daily basis—from pesticides on our veggies, to allergens in the air, to chemicals in our food-storage containers.
So this month’s health tip is to create detoxifying rituals to combat this constant exposure.
I’m going to start with the obvious one: drink more water. Drinking lots of water not only flushes toxins, it keeps our digestion regular and helps with weight loss. Furthermore, it makes our skin supple and allows our brains to run at maximum efficiency. Read tips on how to adopt this healthy habit into your routine here.
Then, Sweat It Out
You knew this was coming: of course exercise is on this list, because at the end of the day, strengthening your heart and circulatory system and maintaining agility is the key to vitality. But eliminating toxins is yet another bonus of working up a sweat.
A study published in Scientific World Journal (1) compared the amount of phthalates (a toxin found in personal care and household items) eliminated from the body based on the type of elimination—sweat or urine—and found that sweating was the superior method. In fact, the amount of toxin present in the sweat was twice that found in the urine. So flush your system with water, but don’t think that replaces a trip to the gym.
I’ve got great news though: even sitting in a sauna is an effective detox. As your body gets hotter and blood flow increases, toxins that are stored in body fat get released. These toxins might include pesticide residues and drugs—legal or otherwise.
I love any health tip that includes adding baths to the repertoire. The key here is to add 2 cups of Epsom salts, which contain magnesium and sulfate. The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells. Your skin is highly porous, and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers reverse osmosis. This process actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.
As an added bonus, Epsom salt absorbed through the skin replenishes magnesium levels in the body. This helps produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical in the brain that creates feelings of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to look better, feel better and gain more energy.
And get this! There are a gazillion more uses for Epsom salts, so please go read about them here. Then I bet you’ll want to thank me for telling you to take more baths and proving that they’re soo good for you.
Try Something Different
“So drink water, work out and take baths, that’s it?” you might be saying. “Those are things I already do!”
I know, isn’t that awesome? Just ramp it up a notch. And then check out these two things you might not be doing.
Activated Charcoal—not to be confused with charcoal used in your grill (giggle)— has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. This in turn helps promote a healthy digestive tract by removing the very toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function, in addition to reducing bloating and gas. Hurray!
To optimize your health, routinely cleanse the digestive tract by taking 10 grams of activated charcoal 90 minutes prior to each meal for two days, according to Dr. Josh Axe, certified doctor of natural medicine, chiropractic and clinical nutritionist. During the cleanse, eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild fish.
Oh and guess what else?
Activated charcoal can prevent hangovers. Dave Asprey, of Bulletproof Coffee Fame, suggests 2000 mg after you’re done drinking, in order to feel, well, bulletproof the morning after.
I like it.
Eat Broccoli Sprouts
There is so much talk about super foods it’s overwhelming to know where to begin. So if you only add one new thing to your diet, it ought to be these babies.
Broccoli sprouts contain a chemical called sulforaphane which greatly enhances detoxification, excreting mercury, carcinogens and air pollutants, just to name a few. Compared to vitamin C, which fights free radicals directly for approximately six hours after exposure, sulforaphane prompts our cells to make antioxidant proteins that can fight for more than 72 hours. Not only are these little powerhouses thought to combat cancer in multiple ways, studies suggest they contain 1000 times more nutrients than mature broccoli, and can even cause a reduction in symptoms of autism.
With a little patience, broccoli sprouts are easy to grow in your kitchen. You can get organic broccoli seeds here. Visit Ali and Tom’s amazing Elimination Diet site for instructions on how to grow them, and start reaping the benefits today of this simple addition to your wellness routine.
For a great list of other foods you should eat after a binge, check out this article.
And Now For Something Delicious
If you’re kicking off 2017 with a cleanse, juicing is probably top of your list. For that reason, I wanted to include one of my all-time favorite juice recipes, that just so happens to have extra detox properties due to the addition of beets. Since beets tend to have an earthy flavor (I’ve been told by more than one picky eater that they taste like dirt), the addition of fennel and apple work against that flavor profile, resulting in a juice that is just slightly sweet, deliciously refreshing, and not remotely dirt flavored. During a cleanse where grass-flavored green juices abound, I consider this combo almost a dessert-like treat.
Beets contain antioxidants and minerals that have been shown to be cleansing and detoxifying. These include betaine, which helps the liver cells eliminate toxins; pectin, which clears the toxins that have been removed so they don’t reincorporate back into the body; and betalains, which have high anti-inflammatory properties that encourage the detox process.
And there’s no need to peel raw beets before juicing. Just give them a scrub, roughly chop, and juice away.
- 1 fennel bulb, stalks and fronds included
- 1 small beet, scrubbed and cubed
- 1 sweet apple, like Fuji or Honeycrisp, seeds and stem removed
- 1 handful parsley, with stems
- Place all items into a high powered juice extractor and turn it on.
- Pour into a chilled glass, or place in freezer for 20 minutes before enjoying.
*Of course, I should remind everyone that this blog is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you.