It’s January and the word “detox” is everywhere, creeping its way into our Instagram feeds and email inboxes. From elaborate meal plans and cleansing programs to busy produce sections, we’re left feeling like our free time should be spent feeding celery to a juicer. Although there’s nothing wrong with getting your greens in, there’s no need to commit to the ultra-restrictive regimen traditionally associated with detoxing. Here’s the truth: our bodies detox naturally, and aiding that process doesn’t have to involve severe sacrifice. Trade the liquid diet for some of our tips below, as cleansing is about taking care of the body and giving it what it needs for a proper reset.
Gut Health is Key
A healthy gut helps support the body’s natural systems, as intestinal cells have their own detoxification system responsible for eliminating harmful chemicals. Care for your gut by eating lots of plant fiber like leafy greens, oats, and artichokes. This fiber serves as a fuel source, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that provide energy to cells in the gut (alongside boosting the immune system and protecting the body against disease). You can also implement a daily supplement and fermented foods like kombucha, miso, and kimchi help, too.
With sleep tied to many elements of our overall wellness, resting up with the 7-9 hours recommended for adults is necessary for keeping the body’s systems in order. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a full night’s rest works to replenish the body, regulate hormones, and protect against inflammation and disease. Not only will you wake up refreshed, but you can move throughout the day knowing that you gave your body what it needs to function at its best.
Nourish the Body with Nutrient-Rich Foods
With popular detox programs built around restriction and, often, an element of starvation, the idea that cleansing can be nourishing might make some a little skeptical. But filling your diet with nutrient-rich, whole foods is one of the most beneficial ways to support natural detoxification. Plants are immensely powerful, as they provide fuel and renew the body’s capacity to heal -- something a liquids-only diet doesn’t quite accomplish. Make sure you’re getting your nutrients with foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. With plants as your baseline, you’ll find yourself feeling balanced and energized.
Get Your Blood Pumping
Daily exercise is known to have extensive benefits for both the mind and body. Just a 45-minute workout has been proven to boost metabolism and contribute to increased energy for hours after each session. Doing so also improves circulation and increases serotonin levels for a better mood. In a study led by Dr. James Blumenthal, a clinical psychologist at Duke University, regular exercise was shown to help alleviate the effects of long-term depression, comparable with that of antidepressants. Simply put, daily exercise can have a transformative impact on your overall health.
Reduce Your Intake of Sugar and Processed Foods
You don’t have to cut a bunch of things out of your diet for the body to detoxify, but limiting the sugar and processed foods you consume can be very beneficial. Overconsumption of these foods fuels the bad bacteria in the gut leading to toxin buildup and bloat while slowing you down. Turn to plant-based alternatives like dates and berries when you’re feeling like something sweeter.