Once in a while, your body might start to feel off for one reason or another. Unfortunately, many environmental and everyday stressors can negatively impact your physical wellness, and they aren’t always avoidable. You may, however, be able to deal with them by detoxing your body – using natural methods to calm the chaos.
Is detoxing right for you?
Do to extreme products and practices marketed to “cleanse” the body, the word “detox” has earned a negative connotation. However, it simply refers to ridding the body of toxins and other unwanted compounds.
A proper detox, according to Alisa Vitti, founder of FLO Living, functional nutritionist, and women’s hormone expert, is intended to support .
By eating right, taking supplements and using specialty treatments, Vitti explains that detox is all about supporting the body’s elimination pathways through the skin, lymph, liver and large intestine. In addition to environmental toxins (chemicals, dry cleaning, heavy metals, mold, and even endocrine disrupters in cosmetics), hormonal toxins and medicinal toxins can all disrupt your body’s function.
What are the best ways to detox your body?
Detoxing safely and healthfully becomes more important when your body shows signs that it needs support. The first step in detoxification is to determine what you want to accomplish.
Chicago-based registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, RD, says things like getting rid of harmful compounds, achieving a healthy body composition, boosting energy levels and improving metabolism are some of the most common reasons a person may want detoxification support .
Once you’ve defined your “why,” you can decide how to achieve your goal, and it’s important to note that the human body already naturally detoxifies. Often, the best way to detox your body is through natural interventions, like making easy lifestyle changes, physical activity, eating habits and targeted supplementation .
Boost detoxification with supplements
A healthy diet should provide enough vitamins and minerals to support the body’s natural detoxification process. As a result of the influx of modern environmental toxins that we encounter on a daily basis, this is isn’t always the case.
Besides a healthy diet, there are a number of botanicals and bioactives, such as milk thistle and glutathione, that are powerful detoxifying agents. In addition to consuming a wide variety of colorful, nutrient-dense foods, targeted supplementation can be a useful tool for helping fill in dietary gaps, providing nutrients that allow the body to remove unwanted toxins as efficiently as possible.
Maintain a regular exercise schedule
Engaging in physical activity is another natural way to detox the body.
In addition to improving metabolic function, digestion support, motility and sleep hygiene, Michalczyk says fitness has endless benefits. Our immune system’s defense against some of these toxins is improved when we reduce oxidative stress and support a healthy inflammatory response.
We also get rid of unwanted or unneeded substances by moving our bodies. In addition to cooling us off, our bodies secrete unwanted compounds through sweat.
However, there is a catch. Physical activity can boost the body’s antioxidant defenses in general, but certain types of physical activity benefit the body’s natural detoxification process more than others .
A study found that “strengthy physical exercise” (such as HIIT circuits or weight training) increased oxidative stress, whereas “constant, progressive physical activity” ( low-rep, high-weight training or cardio) increased recovery rates and decreased oxidative stress.
Perhaps less is more when it comes to detoxifying through movement.
Change your diet
People say “you are what you eat” for a reason. Fueling your body with nutrient-rich foods will help it function optimally; the more nutrients you put into it, the better.
While the occasional indulgence is fine, when you feel your digestive system is a bit off, consider it a sign that your body may be craving a balance of healthier foods, particularly those that are rich in antioxidants. Michalczyk explains that antioxidant-rich foods help remove “free radicals” – unwanted substances that can be harmful.
As Michalczyk suggests, staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to naturally detox because water and fluids help remove toxins and waste. The more water you consume, the more you urinate, essentially flushing out unwanted fluids from your body.
In addition, drinking fluids after meals promotes healthy digestion. By properly breaking down food, your body can retain nutrients and chuck out any waste products it doesn’t need.
So, by making some simple lifestyle changes you can help protect your body from internal and external stressors.