Detoxification Series Part 2: 5 Ways to Support Elimination in the Body
Spring has sprung (or is in the midst of springing) and it is a natural time for people to begin cleaning out the old making way for a fresh start to the season. This doesn’t just apply to your yearly household purge, but within your body too! The word ‘detox’ has become popularized with potentially misleading connotations associated with it. In this context, detoxification will be focusing on supporting the body’s natural process of eliminating toxins from the body. Our bodies have been designed to eliminate unwanted and potentially harmful substances on a daily basis, however the process can become sluggish due to factors such as environmental exposure, inadequate diet and stress.
The first step in detoxifying the body is clearing the routes of elimination such as the bowels/intestines, skin, lungs and through urination. This will be focused on here! The other aspect includes supporting the mechanisms that break down and carry toxins in the body through organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Here are some gentle ways to help support your body in making this natural process optimal!
Fiber and Water: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (surprise, surprise) helps provide much-needed fiber to literally clean out the intestines (stay tuned for more on this in upcoming weeks!). This even includes hormones such as estrogen which can often accumulate in the gut if elimination is not regular. Of course this must be paired with plenty of water to both aid in flushing out the kidneys and to help bulky fiber move through your intestines, avoiding blockage and constipation.
Exercise: Sweat it out! Exercise is possibly the most effective method of eliminating toxins from your body, not only by liberating stored toxins from fat cells, but by allowing the elimination of those toxins through sweat from pores and sebaceous glands.
Dry Brushing: Your lymphatic fluid carries waste from cells to the elimination organs. Using a dry skin brush is a gentle and effective way to help move lymph fluid to the lymph nodes as well as allowing the skin to eliminate more effectively.
Breathing properly: Seems obvious, right? Research has shown the importance of deep ‘belly breathing’ and the ability for our body to detoxify, not just from the lungs, but providing the rest of the body with adequate oxygen to carry out these processes.
Liver support: Our liver deals with more than just a fun night out; it processes almost everything (see the previous article for examples!). A well rounded diet full of cruciferous vegetables to support important phases of liver detoxification and antioxidants to address oxidative stress is the most rudimentary way to support our liver. Other examples include castor oil packs, B vitamin complex or botanicals (see a health professional about this to figure out which one may be right for you!)
Disclaimer: Contact a health care provider before beginning a detox. There are many ways to go about this; choosing one that is safe and effective for you can be done through an appointment at the clinic!
Krohn, Jacqueline, and Frances A. Taylor. Natural Detoxification. Hartley & Marks Publishers, 2000.
Oliver, S. The Detox Manual. Australia: Simon & Schuster; 2001.
Percival, M. "Phytonutrients and detoxification." Clinical nutrition insights 5.2 (1997): 1-4.