As spring transforms into summer, your body is eager to break out of its winter shell and greet the warmer, brighter, often busier days. Your head may be screaming for release, but is your body ready for this blossoming?
Winter can be hard on the body, inside and out. That’s why somewhere around the time you do your spring cleaning in your home and clean out your closets, it’s time to cleanse your body after a long winter. A cleanse can be approached in several ways: intense, which means a full-blown detox program (e.g., a 7- to 10-day juice- and water-only fast accompanied by meditation, exercise, and other rejuvenating practices; a moderate version that involves a 3-day juice and water fast; or a mild and easy cleanse).
It’s the latter version we talk about here because it can fit into just about anyone’s schedule-whether you are a busy stay-at-home mother of three, a career woman on the move, a student who is also balancing a job, a caregiver for an ailing parent, or someone who finds herself multitasking most of the time. You may want to drop extra winter pounds, boost your immune system, enhance your digestion, and clear out “brain webs”-after all, the gut-brain axis is a powerful force! When you rebalance your gut bacterial environment, you also rebalance your brain.
11 ways to easily cleanse your body
Adopt the following tips and you will be well on your way to clearing out the winter doldrums and rejuvenating your body inside and out. You may discover that these cleansing tips will work for you year round!
1. Tackle your toxins. Clear your menu of refined sugar, saturated fats, caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Fill your plate with whole, natural foods, organic whenever possible. Follow this way of eating for at least three weeks. Of course, a lifetime would be best! Also avoid toxins found in personal care products (shampoos, toothpaste, cosmetics) and household cleaning products. Switch to all-natural cleaning options.
2. Befriend fiber. If you follow a whole, all-natural diet, you will likely get enough fiber in your diet. However, certain high-fiber foods possess better detoxifying abilities than others, so be sure to include apples, arugula, beets, broccoli, brown rice, cabbage, chlorella, seaweed, and spirulina.
3. Lemon up! Start each day by drinking 8 ounces of room temperature water livened up with the juice of half a fresh lemon. Refrain from eating or drinking anything for at least 20 minutes. Lemon up for at least 3 but no longer than 6 weeks. If you prefer an alternative to lemon, try the next tip.
4. Cash in on chlorophyll. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid chlorophyll into 8 ounces of water and enjoy at least once daily. Chlorophyll is a pigment with potent antioxidant properties and an ability to help flush toxins and waste products from the body. Similar to lemon water, try for 3 but no longer than 6 weeks.
5. Turn to herbs. Certain herbal remedies help cleanse and support liver function, the organ most responsible for detoxification. Liver cleansing herbs include burdock, dandelion root, milk thistle, turmeric, and yellow dock root. Beware of herbs that may harm your liver, such as comfrey and kava.
6. Go green. Green tea is a triple winner when it comes to cleansing. It is rich in antioxidants, it helps keep you hydrated, and it helps protect the liver. Keep a pitcher of green tea in your refrigerator or stainless steel water bottle and sip throughout the day. Add a bit of lemon too!
7. Catch your C’s. Although the RDA for vitamin C is a mere 90 milligrams, the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Linus Pauling Institute, note that 400 mg is necessary to saturate the cells in young, healthy nonsmokers. Therefore, if your vitamin C intake falls short of this goal, consider taking a supplement daily. Vitamin C helps in the production of glutathione, a compound in the liver that helps eliminate toxins.
8. Stay hydrated. Water helps flush out toxins and other waste from your body. Keep a water bottle with you so you’ll remember to drink at least two quarts of water (some of this can be green tea!) daily to stay properly hydrated.
9. Seek balance. Excess stress is a toxin, so you need to eliminate it as well. Practice deep breathing and meditation daily. As little as 10 to 15 minutes combining these two stress reducers will help keep you in balance as you cleanse.
10. Embrace exercise. Exercise promotes detoxification in several ways. It enhances circulation of blood and lymph, which improves their purification. Exercise increases the amount oxygen that flows through your system and the amount of carbon dioxide that is released. Other toxins can be released from subcutaneous fatty tissue when the tissue is reduced as a result of aerobic exercise. Sweating also allows for toxins to be released via the skin.
11. Dry brush your skin. Dry brushing helps remove dead skin cells and toxins, stimulates the lymphatic system, and improves blood circulation, all factors that are helpful in detoxification. Use a natural brush and start at your ankles, moving gently upward on your body, steering clear of any rashes or breaks in the skin. Shower after dry brushing to remove the dead skin cells.
Step into the summer feeling and looking refreshed! These steps on how to easily cleanse your body can make it all possible.
Image: Nick Kenrick
Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center