We give our homes a spring clean now and again so why not our bodies?
Compared to a generation ago, our modern selves have to contend with more pollution, more convenience foods, more additives, pesticides, preservatives and colourings. So our bodies have to work harder all the time and appreciate the chance for a little break! And what better time to do it than in the summer?
The physical and psychological benefits of detoxing are clear. Physical benefits can include more energy, brighter eyes and skin, less bloating and water retention, improved digestive function and weight loss. Psychological benefits can include a clearer mind and balanced mood.
Rather than following an extreme detox plan that limits just about every food except fruit and vegetables, it is better to have a more sensible approach that still allows you to work and function in your daily life.
A great way to give your system a break is to eliminate the following for just one week, and see the difference:
  1. Sugar: the bane of modern living and a cause of blood sugar and hormone fluctuations, cutting out sugar will provide a more balanced flow of energy during the day, and maybe a better sleep at night. Replace your sweet snack with oatcakes and peanut butter, or fruit with a small handful of raw nuts.
  1. Caffeine: this stimulant contributes to blood sugar swings, with the temporary high leading to an almighty crash. It is also has a diuretic effect on the body, depleting valuable stores of minerals and vitamins. If you consume more than two coffees per day, then wean yourself off slowly to avoid headaches. Remember, caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate and caffeinated soft drinks. Switch to herbal teas or hot water with lemon.
  1. Wheat: the subject of ongoing debate, wheat sensitivity is often mentioned in the context of abdominal bloating and excess wind. Cutting it out for a week gives a chance to see if energy levels increase, or bloating decreases. Switch to porridge for breakfast, consider a soup and salad for lunch and stick to brown rice and sweet potatoes for dinner.
  1. Dairy: not only are 15% of North Europeans lactose intolerant, but dairy products also have a high saturated fat content. Switch to coconut, almond or hemp milk and get your daily calcium from sesame seeds, leafy green vegetables, tinned salmon and seaweed.
  1. Alcohol: also a stimulant, alcohol takes its toll on your liver, compromises your body’s ability to detoxify and also contributes to blood sugar swings. Give your liver a break and switch to vegetable juices, herbal teas and water instead.
  1. Processed foods and artificial sweeteners: the aim of this detox is to eat foods in as natural a state as possible. As a result, avoid any foods with a long list of chemical-sounding ingredients, including artificial sweeteners, which are linked to mood swings and weight gain. Think fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish, organic meat, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans.
Along with these dietary changes, the following can also help you to detox more effectively:
  • Plenty of water, to flush out your system. Aim for 1.5 litres per day, including herbal teas.
  • Eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables to provide antioxidants, vitamins and fibre
  • Psyllium husks and flaxseeds help to cleanse the colon. They have the ability to help ‘unstick’ old faecal matter as it moves along.
  • The herb dandelion is known to help support liver function. Add clean leaves to salads, or drink as a herbal tea.
  • Ginger is helpful for cleansing both the bowels and kidneys. Grate it into stir-fries, or drink as a herbal tea.
  • Probiotics are important for general health and can also improve detoxification.
So, set your dates and give it a go. We’d love to hear how your get on.
For more ideas and recipes on detoxing, visit our website on www.glenvillenutrition.ie
Nutritional Therapist