New year, new you, right? Does your resolution involve a healthier and cleaner lifestyle to take with you through the year?
The start of the New Year is a popular time for health resolutions. One of the most common health resolutions is a cleanse or detox diet, yet you don’t have to stop there. You can continue healthy New Year’s Resolutions all year long. We have access to air purifiers, organic and wholesome foods, water filters, and organic, toxin-free clothing which enable you to practice healthy living no matter what month it is. Any step toward a healthy, toxin-free lifestyle is a step in the right direction!
Detoxification refers to the body’s ability to flush out harmful toxins and chemicals. Instead of detoxifying your body once or twice each year, I encourage my patients to actively detoxify their bodies on a daily basis. Now, I am not suggesting that everyone lives off of green juice forever, but I do believe that there are many ways to support your body’s detoxification pathways.
Before we dive in, let’s go over how to identify if you could use a fresh start.
8 Signs Your Body Could Benefit from Detox
- Digestive issues like constipation
- Migraines and/or headaches
- Hormone imbalances and/or infertility
- Anxiety, depression, and/or mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating, brain fog
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, and/or cancer
- Muscle or joint pain
Support Your Detox Pathways
Removing toxins from your body is the first step in detoxification and if you want to eat a cleaner diet and work towards a healthier lifestyle, then the key to your success is consistency. Detoxifying your body is much more than a week-long juice cleanse. It is something that I recommend doing on a daily basis in order to obtain optimal health and wellness.
A great way to get started with this detoxification process is with The Myers Way® Comprehensive Elimination Diet, where you cut out all toxic and inflammatory foods in order to identify any personal food sensitivities and discover the perfect diet for your unique needs. The best way to detoxify your body on a daily basis is to think about the food that you eat, the water that you drink and absorb, and the air that you breathe.
Clean eating is an important part of cleaning up your lifestyle (no pun intended). Nutrient-rich foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-quality animal protein contain vitamins and minerals that can help repair any damage in your gut and strengthen your immune system.
Toxic foods include alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten, and dairy should be avoided, as they can wreak havoc on your gut and your health. Excessive amounts of these foods can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of illness and inflammation. If your diet is high in mercury-containing fish, consider reducing your intake or avoiding them altogether to avoid exposure to additional toxins, such as heavy metals.
Other high-quality sources of protein, with essential vitamins, and minerals include wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, and planted-based sources such as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.
To prevent toxins from making their way into your diet, and continue to eat healthy food that will fuel you towards your goals, here are some great ways to clean up your diet:
- Avoid packaged foods with added sugars and preservatives
- Choose wholesome, real, foods such as fruit, vegetables, and high-quality animal proteins
- Choose organic foods whenever possible
- Avoid inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Avoid GMO foods such as corn, soy, and canola oil
- Avoid inflammatory foods including sugar and alcohol
- Avoid fish that are high in mercury (tuna, swordfish, grouper)
Water is essential for optimal health. Every cell in your body needs water to function properly, making hydration a crucial step in proper detoxification. More than half of the body is comprised of water, so it’s important to take note of the quality of water that you consume, both by drinking and bathing. We absorb water internally as we drink it, but we also absorb water through our skin.
In order to avoid potential heavy metals or other contaminants in water, I personally drink and shower in filtered water. In my home, the water filters are designed to remove heavy metals, chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, and herbicides from water.
I also choose to drink only from glass or stainless steel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2011 alone. I use a stainless steel water bottle from Kleen Kanteen instead of plastic water bottles in order to reduce plastic waste and avoid toxins such as Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been shown to imitate estrogen and other hormones in the body.
Drinking filtered water is a great way to save money, preserve the environment, and avoid BPA.
3. Air Quality
The quality of the air we breathe is another important factor in achieving optimal health all year round. The EPA warns, “Indoor air levels of many pollutants can be 2–5 times and on occasion more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because it is estimated that most people spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors.”
In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by the EPA and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. You can protect your home environment with a HEPA air filter, which I have in both my home and office. My favorite air purifiers from AirDoctor® are designed to remove even the tiniest particles from your air, including viruses, pet dander, dust mites, air pollution, and even cigarette smoke.
4 Ways to Detox
1. Support Your Liver
The liver is the main organ responsible for detoxifying your entire body. Supplements with alpha-lipoic acid and milk thistle can help support the liver as it rids your body of toxins. Omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, resveratrol, and n-acetyl-cysteine can all help support the liver as it clears toxins and unwanted chemicals from your body.
2. Stay Hydrated
In order to properly eliminate toxins, it is best to stay very well hydrated. Even though it may seem inconvenient to use the restroom so frequently, you will be helping your body eliminate unnecessary toxins and supporting your immune system. Try to drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water per day.
3. Stay Regular
Ideally, you want to have at least one bowel movement per day to ensure that unwanted toxins are removed from your body. To help get things moving, try to ensure that your diet is fully of fiber-rich foods. This can be easily achieved with healthy side dishes including heart-healthy foods such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, kiwi fruit, and berries.
If you are not having one bowel movement per day, this is a sign from your gut that something is not functioning properly. If constipation has become a chronic problem for you, I would highly recommend taking magnesium citrate, vitamin C, and more fiber.
4. Sweat Out Toxins
Another way to help your entire body detoxify is to use an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas help your body release a number of toxins, including heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, and other chemicals.
I have an infrared sauna in my home from Sunlighten Saunas that I use frequently. If you’re new to infrared saunas, I would recommend starting out with 4-minute sessions at 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit and slowly working your way up to 15-30 minute sessions. If an infrared sauna is not available, but you have access to a regular sauna, I would recommend a 10-20 minute session at 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you would like further guidance as you detoxify your body, I would highly recommend participating in The Myers Way® Comprehensive Elimination Diet or seeking out a functional medicine practitioner in your area.