The holiday season is upon us. For those of us living a balanced and healthy lifestyle, it means we do our best to navigate through holiday parties, get-togethers, dinners out, and brief episodes of festive bingeing so we don’t wander too far from our health goals. As we enjoy the tasty exploits of the holiday season, we also realize the motivation to shift gears and properly cleanse and detoxify our body of any excess toxins.
What is a cleansing and detox program?
When communicated in the mainstream media, the definition of “cleansing and detox” as it relates to cleansing and detoxifying programs is often confusing. For this article, we’ll use the individual definition of cleansing and toxins most health experts agree on. To cleanse means the systematic reduction in activities that expose us to toxins and support our bodies’ natural systems that eliminate toxins from your body. Toxins are pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, and processed foods. This also includes excessive intake of natural ingredients that spike your blood sugar such as sugar, honey, and maple syrup. These toxins all take a toll on your health, which is why a proper cleansing program is a key aspect of any effective health plan.
How toxins get into our body
The modern world is constantly exposing us to many more toxic chemicals than in years past. The latest conveniences, such as cars, manufacturing, and fast food, have introduced harmful toxins into many of life’s essentials, like air, water, and food, and pose significant health risks.
For example, packaged foods often contain toxic additives, such as artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and sweeteners. While some so-called “healthy” packaged foods may not contain artificial ingredients, many contain too much sugar for your body to handle safely, which can cause a build-up of unhealthy cholesterol in your arteries. Mass-produced (factory farmed) animals are often raised on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like corn, instead of grass, and injected with antibiotics and hormones. Many of us don’t tolerate any of these additives well, and for some can become a much bigger health issue.
How toxins leave your body
The human body has a remarkable natural ability to cleanse and detoxify. In fact, you have an entire system of organs, namely your liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, and digestive tract that act together as a fighting force to detox your body every hour, every day.
As you’ll learn, to cleanse your body properly should include techniques that harness the power of your liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, and digestive tract optimally. The next step is to realize how the food, air, and liquids you ingest can leave traces of toxic chemicals that, if left unchecked, can lead to poor health, chronic illness, or diseases.
Since toxins can build up in the body because of a poor diet and bad lifestyle habits, and your body also has organs that work to neutralize and eliminate toxins, the most effective way to cleanse and detoxify is to work both sides of the equation. In this article, you’ll get 6 powerful whole body cleansing tips that put an end to toxin overload by maximizing your bodies’ natural ability to eliminate toxins while also minimizing your intake of harmful toxins for better health all year round.
1. Reduce the number of toxins you ingest
While you have a complete network of organs that work 24/7 to remove toxins out of your body, if you are ingesting too many toxins, your system will eventually get overloaded. It’s simple math; the more toxins you put in your body, the harder your organs need to work to eliminate them.
One easy way to do this is to reduce the amount of animal protein, alcohol, sugar, wheat, corn, soy, and processed foods you eat each month, which over time, will prevent your systems from being overloaded.
2. Choose anti-inflammatory foods
We classify foods that naturally support neutralizing and eliminating toxins in the body as anti-inflammatory. That’s because your immune system recognizes anything that is foreign—such as allergens, microbes, or chemicals, and activates an inflammatory response. When this is a healthy response we call it periodic inflammation, yet when inflammation persists day after day, even when nothing foreign is entering your body, it can lead to major health problems—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s.
Inflammation-fighting foods often contain natural antioxidants which neutralize foreign chemicals and oxidative stress in the body. Foods that naturally fight inflammation include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges. Organic anti-inflammatory foods are grown without toxic pesticides, making them the best choice.
3. Drink more clean water
Likely, the most important part of a cleansing plan is water. That’s because water helps organs move toxins through its own cellular systems and push them out of your body. To get the full detoxifying benefit, don’t drink tap water. Instead, drink filtered water at room temperature. Most adults should consume at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. However, if you exercise regularly, increase that to ten 8 oz. glasses per day.
4. Sweat it out
Now that you’re dialed in on your water intake, you can now take advantage of the largest detoxifying system you have. That’s right, sweating out toxins through your skin. There are several ways to “get hot” and sweat it out, with exercise and sauna sessions being the most popular.
Exercise provides the additional benefit of getting you to move, which can boost your mood while you sweat toxins out of your body. Activities like hot yoga, intense cardio, or a jog outside are all great ways to get your sweat on. Taking sauna sessions has become very popular these days because it not only sweats out toxins naturally but has also been shown to take you from the stressed-out “fight or flight” state to the parasympathetic state, which allows us to de-stress, digest, rest, and heal.
5. Support your natural detoxifying systems
We know the human body has an amazing ability to detoxify naturally. Key organs like kidneys, liver, and skin, plus the complex network involved in the immune system, are all part of the bodies’ natural way to cleanse and rid the body of toxins. This system works 24/7, which is why supporting it with key nutrients can really improve your natural detoxification processes.
MaxLiving’s Max Cleanse helps aid the body’s natural detoxification processes with a key combination of vitamins, minerals, and natural herbs to promote detox health, general wellness, and liver health. Featuring Green tea extract and ellagic acid to help protect cells from damage, silymarin and watercress help promote a healthy liver, essential vitamins support overall health, and activated charcoal and other nutrients help absorb and eliminate toxins it’s the sure-fire way to enhance your detoxification plan.
6. Fuel your digestive system
If you follow health and fitness news these days, it would be difficult not to read or hear something positive about your digestive system (often referred to as your gut microbiome). That’s because researchers have found that a balanced ratio of gut microbes (bacteria) in your digestive tract protects against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins. A healthy gut is essential for maximizing digestion, elimination, and absorption of nutrients.
Probiotics are tiny, valuable bacteria that work to move out unhealthy bacteria in the gut in favor of healthy bacteria and flora. Natural probiotics are readily available in fermented foods like small beans cooked over 3 days, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles.
Fiber is gut fuel
We can categorize fiber based on its ability to dissolve in water. Soluble fiber has various benefits for metabolic health, while insoluble fiber functions mostly as a bulking agent. Since we can’t digest fiber, it ends up in the large intestine unaltered. In the large intestines fiber (mostly soluble) interacts with your gut bacteria and are able to digest (ferment) they become fuel for the digestive system. This increases the number and balance of friendly gut bacteria, with powerful health benefits.
But there’s more…
When it comes to keeping our bodies free of toxins, your digestive system not only works to break down the foods we eat and take up nutrients, it also sends the waste products out.
This process is central to cleansing your body optimally
Many detox programs call for giving your digestive system a break from heavy foods and instead drink special detoxifying drinks. However, this rarely helps speed up eliminating toxins naturally because it does not emphasize the importance of fiber. Foods that are high in fiber are best for fueling the natural detoxification process that happens through digestion.
Fiber, found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, slows digestion, helps with nutrient absorption, and removes toxins via stool. Your digestive tract uses probiotics from fiber to nourish your intestines with beneficial bacteria, which helps maintain immune health.
In short, the more fiber you eat, the more effective your digestive system is at eliminating toxins.
About the Author
Zach Zovath graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exceptional Education from the University of Central Florida. He continued on to receive his Master’s degree from the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida. He is a master-level personal trainer, coach, and health consultant. In addition, his specializations include corrective exercise, performance enhancement, prenatal/postpartum core stability, and exercise therapy. As a result of his education and experience in the health and fitness industry, he has developed fast and effective exercise programs for health care facilities.