If you’ve ever been stuck behind a pickup truck emitting stinky exhaust fumes, had to drink from a public water faucet or walked through a room full of chain smokers, you might have considered detoxifying.
In our world filled with pollutants and toxins, detoxifying is a beneficial practice. Many undergo a detox once a year or more often to help negate some of the contaminants encountered in everyday life. Food psychology coach Lisa Turner says, “A well-designed detox can help purge your liver, colon, and kidneys of toxins; clear your skin; boost your energy, and help you shed pounds safely.”
While detoxifying is worthwhile and recommended, there is a right way to detox and a wrong way. Whether you are doing a complete fast, a fruit and vegetable detox or a juice cleanse, we’ve got some tips on how to detoxify your body safely and efficiently.
1. Limit Your Stimulants
During your detox, it’s essential to cut way back on coffee, strong tea, yerba mate, chocolate and other foods and beverages containing stimulants of any kind.
Coffee can be hard on the liver — one of the organs that you’re trying to cleanse and rejuvenate during a detox. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can also trigger the body’s release of stress hormones, which is counterproductive when your detoxifying.
In his article titled, “Caffeine: Cup of Pain, Liquid Stress,” certified massage therapist Jordan Rothstein wrote, “Your liver has to detoxify caffeine. That uses resources that your liver could be used to detoxify all the other toxic substances you’re exposed to. A single dose of caffeine takes more than 24 hours to be eliminated from your body.”
If you are an everyday coffee drinker, consider switching to green or white tea during your detoxification process. Green and white teas contain just a little caffeine. It’s enough to keep you from getting a caffeine-withdrawal headache but not enough to cause your blood sugar to plummet after an hour.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking adequate amounts of purified water is important every day. However, when you’re detoxifying your body, it is imperative that you drink more water than usual. Water will help flush the toxins out of your body. The more water you drink, the more you will eliminate and the faster you’ll remove toxins from your body.
If you haven’t already invested in a quality, effective water filter, now’s the time to do it. A good filter can remove chlorine, arsenic, fluoride, bacteria and viruses from your tap water. When you’re detoxing the body, you don’t want extra contaminants floating around in there.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep
Rest is crucial during a detox. Your body recharges, restores and heals itself during sleep. Sleeping seven to nine hours a night will help your body effectively eliminate toxins. You may feel more tired than usual while you’re detoxifying. That’s a sign that your body needs more rest for cell renewal.
Take a hot bath at the end of the evening. Wind down with a cup of herbal tea. Avoid bright lights and stimulation before bed. Make sure you turn in early and get uninterrupted sleep during your detox for the best possible results.
4. Enlist a Buddy
Always let a close friend, coworker or family member know that you are undergoing a detox. If there’s any type of medical emergency, it’s important information that your physician will need to know. If you are participating in a fasting detox, it’s even more imperative that you make your loved ones aware of your plans. During your detox, an informed friend can notice changes in your behavior or speech that may indicate low blood sugar or signs of dehydration.
5. Ditch the Alcohol
Anytime you take in alcohol, it has to be filtered by the liver. Alcohol also negatively affects the nervous system, blood sugar levels, brain function and immune system. From beer and red wine to hard liquor, alcohol is not helpful to your detox regiment. Avoid any alcoholic beverage, during and after your detox.
6. Listen to Your Body
Contrary to the beliefs of some, feeling miserable is not just a normal part of detoxification. If you are experiencing nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, extreme irritability, slurring of speech or trouble concentrating, you should consider another approach to detoxification. Not every detox model is for everyone. Your body will tell you what it needs.
7. Exercise Wisely
It might not be wise to schedule a 10K run during a three-day juice cleanse. When you’re considering exercise, take into account the number of calories you’ll be consuming during your detox.
Consider an invigorating morning walk in lieu of endurance work at the gym. Also, be sure you are consuming extra fluids while you exercise. You’ll likely be sweating more during the detoxification period.
8. Remember Your Electrolytes
During a cleanse or detox, you’ll be flushing out more than just toxins. As you take in more fluids and more fluids leave your body, electrolytes will be lost as well. It’s important to make sure you take in adequate amounts of the essential electrolytes the body needs to function optimally.
- Sodium and chloride are two essential electrolytes that your body gets from table salt. If you’re not eating much, consider adding a half teaspoon of iodized sea salt to a gallon of water to drink throughout the day. Add in a bit of baking soda to ensure you’re getting the bicarbonate electrolyte as well.
- A nice soak in an Epsom salt bath will help you meet the day’s requirement for magnesium. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, and it is absorbed through the skin easily after about 15 minutes in the bath.
- If you aren’t drinking milk during your detox, consider taking a calcium supplement twice a day. Choose calcium in the form of calcium carbonate for the best absorption.
- Lots of fruit juices are high in potassium. If your particular detox plan allows, take in several servings of potassium-rich fruits, vegetables or juice each day. Otherwise, consider a supplement.
You may also stay on top of your electrolytes with electrolyte-infused water. However, steer clear of the sugar-sweetened sports drinks.
9. Keep It Organic
While you’re busy ridding your body of toxins, you’ll be loading them right back in if you’re eating conventionally grown produce or drinking nonorganic juices. Be sure to spend the extra money on organic produce during and after your detox.
10. Avoid Unnecessary Pollutants
During your cleanse and afterward, avoid smoke-filled areas, chlorine-treated pools and using toxic household chemicals. Use this time to take stock of the cleaners, skin care products and other solvents in your home. Throw out anything that isn’t necessary. Then, take precautions when using any necessary chemicals.
11. Get Sweaty
First of all, throw out any antiperspirant you have in the house. It’s unnatural to block your body from sweating. Now more than ever, there are plenty of deodorant products that do not contain antiperspirants available at the local drugstore or supermarket. Some people even find that essential oils, lemon juice or a dusting of baking soda work just fine for odor control without deodorant at all.
12. Take This Time to Clean Out Your Pantry
What better time to clean out your pantry than when you’re detoxifying the body of impurities. You’ll be in the ideal mindset to purge all of the junk that has been hiding in the cupboards.
Get rid of anything with refined sugars. Throw out the bag of white sugar while you’re at it. Cookies, candy, chips, hydrogenated items — get rid of them. Toss the processed and artificial foods too. Make room for a better lifestyle post-detox.
13. Breathe Deeply
Part of an effective and safe detox is deep breathing. According to Ash Srivastava, at One Powerful Word, “Your body is designed to release 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not ridding your body of its toxins properly.” He also said that if you’re not breathing deeply enough, “other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness.”
Deep breathing also strengthens the body’s immune response, improves digestion, and enhances the quality of your blood — exactly the things you want during a detox.
Srivastava recommends that you take 10 minutes, twice a day, to do some deep belly breathing. He says, “Schedule your deep breathing exercise just as you would schedule important business appointments.”
14. Brush Your Skin
There’s a reason that the skin is often considered the body’s third kidney. We eliminate all sorts of toxins through the skin. As you’re detoxifying, don’t let the toxins hang around on your skin.
Use a natural bristle skin brush and begin when your skin is dry — before you shower. Start at the bottom of your body and brush upward, toward the heart. Brushing in this manner supports the pathway of the lymphatic system. Use as much pressure as you like and is comfortable for you. Then, rinse off in the shower.
Dry brushing, followed by a rinse, is an excellent way to remove any toxins your skin has shed throughout the day thoroughly. Do this every day during and a few days after your detoxification for best results. Then, follow up a few times a week.
Have a Safe Detox
As you plan and execute your detox routine, be sure to consider the above tips to make sure you do so safely and effectively. Happy cleansing!
Luo, K. (2017). The effects of alcohol on your body. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol/effects-on-body#1
Rothstein, J. (n.d.). Caffeine: cup of pain, liquid stress. Retrieved from: https://bodytechnician.com/caffeine.html
Srivastava, A. (n.d.). 18 benefits of deep breathing and how to breathe deeply. Retrieved from: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html
Turner, L. (2012). 30 days of detox. Retrieved from: https://amazingwellnessmag.com/diet-nutrition/a-month-of-detox