These days it seems that everywhere you turn there’s a cleanse program for sale. A meal kit, a juicing regimen, a list of forbidden foods. And while there are some cases in which deeper detoxification may be beneficial, the truth is that the human body is well equipped to cleanse and heal on its own. The keys to supporting the body’s natural cleansing process are ample rest, proper hydration and nutrition and intentional detoxification practices. So before clicking buy on a prepackaged cleanse, consider divesting from this “quick fix” mindset and adopting a gentler approach to health and wellness, rooted in self-care. The following cleansing-focused habits can be incorporated seamlessly into your daily life for an energized and healthy body all year long.
Get Proper Rest
During sleep, the body executes a complicated series of detoxification processes that keep the organs functioning well. When sleep is disrupted, the body’s routine detox rhythms stall. Similarly, if the body experiences illness, injury or intense stress, the normal processes of repair may be compromised. Over time, the lack of ample “rest and repair” can lead to inflammation in the body, which in turn can result in a number of chronic conditions and diseases.
Prioritizing sleep is a no-brainer that is also often easier said than done. Occasionally experiencing a bad night’s sleep is normal. However, if you are consistently getting less than six hours of sleep per night, it is a good idea to seek help. Talk to your doctor or naturopath to determine underlying causes of sleep issues and take steps to correct the imbalance. And while you wait for your sleep issues to resolve, remember that naps before 3pm can help the body recover from a poor night’s sleep.
In addition to sleeping seven or more hours per night, creating a slower-paced daily routine can facilitate the body’s ability to detoxify properly. Make space for daily meditation and breathwork, explore mindfulness and yoga nidra or take a break to read or write in the afternoon. Blocking out time to bring the body to stillness allows the mind to settle. And when the mind is settled and clear, it’s easier to hear and feel what the body needs and then act accordingly.
Hydrate Like It’s Your Job
Staying hydrated is critical to good health. At a minimum, the general rule for daily water intake is half your weight in pounds in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you should drink at least 75 oz. of water. Sip water throughout the day to keep hydration levels optimal. Another way to reach your hydration target is to eat water-rich foods like cucumber and sip on herbal tea and clear broths.
Maintaining consistent hydration levels also helps with proper elimination. The body excretes excess hormones, toxins and waste product via the digestive system, so keeping things moving regularly is essential. The body also detoxifies via respiration and by sweating, both of which require a well-hydrated system. Keep in mind that even when the body is only slightly dehydrated, it will automatically transfer water from the colon to the brain, which can lead to constipation.
One of the easiest ways to support the body’s ability to naturally cleanse is to drink lemon water. Upon waking, add the desired amount of lemon juice to room temperature or warm water and sip slowly. The atomic structure of lemon water stimulates the digestive system and can also help bring more alkalinity to the body’s systems. Adding lemon or lime to water is a great way to add flavor without additional sugar and, when sipped first thing in the morning, sets a healthful tone for the rest of the day.
There are also many ways to support the body’s ability to detoxify through the foods you eat. Filling your plate with an array of as many colorful, organic, nutrient-dense and unprocessed foods as possible at each meal will provide the body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to function well. Additionally, getting enough fiber during meals helps with satiation and bulks up stools so they are easier to pass, keeping the digestive tract in good health.
To support the liver, kidneys and digestive system, add plenty of dark, leafy greens to your diet. Dandelion greens are particularly supportive for the liver, the organ largely responsible for the body’s ability to expel toxic materials. Legumes, whole grains and fruits like berries, cherries, bananas and melons offer fiber and essential antioxidants. Incorporating vegetable-based juices and adding micronutrients like spirulina and chlorella to green smoothies is an easy way to meet daily requirements.
When considering a cleanse-friendly diet, include healthy fats, but don’t overdo it. Use high-quality oils like coconut and avocado for cooking, and choose organic olive oil and flax oil when heat is not required. Consult with your doctor to establish the best daily fat intake for you. In a similar vein, reduce salt and processed sugar. While natural sugar from fruit provides valuable micronutrients, refined sugar does not. Overall, think easy-to-digest, simple yet flavorful meals, like Easy Super Green Curry with Basmati Rice.
Invest in Supplements and Self-Care
Once you’ve got the basics covered with sleep, hydration and nutrition, look to build out your sustainable detox routine with a few supportive habits that speak to you. From the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to cutting-edge practices from functional wellness professionals, a wide array of supplements and treatments can further encourage the body to cleanse gently from the inside out.
Herbal supplements like milk thistle, burdock, red clover, lemon balm and nettle can all help support the liver’s natural detoxification capabilities. Consult with your doctor or a naturopath to determine which supplements might be best for you. THE WELL Cleanse offers a simple yet comprehensive program including a one-on-one health coaching session for those looking for a little initial guidance.
Treatments to consider include scheduling regular body work or acupuncture sessions to keep the body’s energy channels open. Consider Ayurvedic practices like tongue scraping, oil pulling and dry brushing to help detoxify. Epsom salt baths, saunas, facials, foot soaks and self-massage are incredible ways to care for the skin — which happens to be one of the most important organs when it comes to detoxification. To help stimulate the digestive tract, colon hydrotherapy may be implemented with the help of a licensed professional. Daily mindful movement like yoga, tai chi and qigong are also essential to keeping the body’s natural detox abilities in tip-top shape.
Above all else, be kind, gentle and patient with your body as you implement these practices. They are setting you up for long-term health and wellness, so take the time and care to establish them in your routine in a way that feels sustainable to you, and be prepared to reap the rewards for a lifetime.
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