It’s that time of year again when we often think of doing a spring detox ready for summer and the year ahead. Liver detox kits can often be seen lining the shelves of chemists and juice cleansing fasts are everywhere but are they really the right one for you? Do they work? How do you know if you need to detox? Read on to find the answers!
Why do I need to detox?
Your body produces toxic by-products as a natural part of all its daily metabolic processes. If your body is in tip top condition and all the eliminatory channels are working well i.e. liver, small and large intestines, kidneys, respiratory system and lymphatic system then these toxins will be excreted fully. For many of us though this isn’t always the case, one or more of the systems might be congested, under functioning or sluggish causing poor elimination and consequently a build -up of toxins in that area. Physical symptoms are most common but having a toxic system can effect your mood as well.
What is a detox?
Detoxing is a way to cleanse and rejuvenate the body helping to push the built up toxins out and bring the body back to good health again. By keeping the eliminatory pathways clear in your body you reduce the chance of developing chronic sicknesses and increase your longevity!
Are there any side effects to detoxing?
It’s quite common to feel side effects during a detox but these can be reduced by drinking plenty of warm water and fibre throughout the detox period to keep the bowels moving and kidneys flushed.
Common side effects are:
- Feeling grumpy
- Exacerbation of symptoms for pre-existing conditions (this is normal and will subside)
- Changes in bowel habits
What are the signs and symptoms of needing to detox?
- Nausea on waking
- Nausea after eating rich or fatty foods
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
- Heightened PMS
- Migraine or Chronic Headaches
- Deep seated feelings of anger, resentment or frustration
- Often waking between 1am – 3am
- Small and Large Intestines
- Chronic constipation or diarrhoea
- Undigested food in the stool or very offensive odour
- Feelings of heaviness and being bogged down
- Lymphatic System
- Chronic swollen glands
- Fluid retention
- Recurring tonsillitis
- Body odour
- Rashes or hives
- Respiratory System
- Chronic sinusitis
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Asthma/ lung congestion
- Kidney Stones
- Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
- Fluid Retention
How do I do a liver detox?
Your liver loves bitter foods and herbs! The bitter taste in your mouth will stimulate the release of bile from the liver and gall bladder into your stomach making it the optimum environment to digest the food when it arrives.
- Many bitter herbs are liver cleansing/rejuvenating herbs too; Dandelion root, St. Mary’s Thistle, Calendula, Globe Artichoke, Gentian. So a tea made of these herbs 20 minutes before eating will be very beneficial
- Bitter foods 10-15 minutes before meals; Burdock Root, Rocket, Kale, Watercress, Chard, Endives, Parsley, Celery, Asparagus and Zucchini
- Bitter Melon – its name says it all! It’s best steamed and served with a little sesame oil dressing
- Turmeric – helps increase bile production. Great added to stir-fries, curries and used in “Golden Milk” just remember to add some healthy fat such as coconut oil and black pepper to add in absorption
- Liver Cleansing Juices – Beetroot, Carrot, Lemon, Lime, Celery, Green Apple, Parsley, Cucumber, Kale and Swiss Chard
- Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Chemical Products in the home – your body sees these as poisons and will focus on breaking these down before carrying out all of its usual processes
- Liver Fast for 6-48 hours – replace your usual meals with “Liver Friendly” foods; green juices, salads and vegetable soups. Have lemon juice in warm water in the morning 10 minutes before breakfast. For slim build people or those with weaker digestive systems 6-8 hours is good, medium build people up to 24 hours, heavier build people up to 48 hours but you must make this decision for yourself and monitor how you feel throughout. If you have an existing health condition it would be best to consult your doctor first before doing any kind of fast.
- Meditation – to help calm the nervous system and release the anger from the liver. Simple breathing meditation works wonders and might even provide other insights into your life as well!
How do I detox my digestive system?
Cleansing the digestive system will usually help to cleanse the skin and respiratory system also as they are all linked
- Ensure you have plenty of soluble fibre in your diet e.g. Slippery Elm powder, Flaxseed Meal and Fibrous Vegetables. This fibre provides food for the good bacteria in your gut to feed on and bulk for the eliminated toxins to bind on to
- Lots of Water – this stops the intestines from dehydrating and the stool becoming dry, hard and stuck in the intestines
- Avoiding foods high in fat and sugar, gluten and dairy will help give your digestive system a rest and the chance to detox
- Dandelion Root Tea – Dandelion Root is a fantastic herb that not only cleanses the liver but also helps to keep the bowels moving. This is a great combination for helping to remove the toxins from the body that have been released during the detox
How do I do a lymphatic cleanse?
- Lots of Water – it helps keep the lymphatic fluid free flowing and flushed
- Exercise – lymphatic fluid is thick and slow moving but when the muscles are worked they push on the lymphatic system moving the fluid around the body
- Dry Skin Brushing – this again helps move stagnant lymphatic fluid. Always start from the end of the hands and feet and brush in gentle circular motions towards the heart
- Reduce Sugar, Alcohol and Fatty foods – these all clog the lymphatic fluid
How do I cleanse my kidneys?
- Lots of water, again! Water seems to feature a lot here……. Keeping the kidneys flushed will reduce the chance of sediment building up and stones forming
- Unsweetened Cranberry Juice and Beetroot Juice – these help to tonify the bladder and kidneys and reduce the chances of bacteria growing in them. Make sure you use sugar free, including artificial sweeteners, cranberry juice. Bacteria love sugar!
- Reduce Caffeine, Salt and Stress – they all put strain on the kidneys long term
- Don’t hold Urine in! Keep your kidneys flushed