'Detox' is one of the most overused words in our vocabulary at the moment: I see it attached to everything from smoothies to foot stickers to overpriced supplements. Unfortunately, we're so far removed from it that so many of us want a quick fix and engage in all kind of crazy diets and potions in a bid to 'cleanse' that many of us don't know what it actually means- giving it a terrible reputation! Today, I want to explain the true meaning of detox and how to naturally, gently support your digestion system in doing so (No laxative teas I promise!).
So what does detox mean? Well it's actual definition is to abstain from something or get rid of toxins from your body. Newsflash:our body can do some of this for us- through the liver and the lymphatic system. So what's left for us to do ourselves? Well while some people may feel they need to jump start these body system through different methods (more on those later) the biggest thing you can do right now to detox is the first part of the definition: cut back on something you know isn't healthy and introduce positive changes. Here's 8 ways to naturally detox your body (with no special potions or canyene peppers in sight!)
1.Detox in small steps. Remember the process is on giving up something that's unhealthy- not a complete diet overhaul. For one person this may be as simple as switching to a meat-free Monday if they eat too much red meat. Yet for a vegetarian, it might be adding a green juice to their breakfast. These simple steps can naturally support your gut.
2. Up the bone broth. I am planning a special bone-broth post soon, but if you are looking for a liquid replacement for one of your meals- then look no further than bone broth. Bone broth contains gelatin which can support your gut in it's healing process; it's also very nutrient dense- meaning it can give you a range of nutrients in a small cup- everything from Iron to protein.
3. Introduce Probiotic Foods. If your body is depleted in bacteria- which can happen if you are on antibiotics or if you have previously done a longer detox - it's important to support your body by adding probiotic foods back in. My biggest success has been with Sauerkraut (read my sauerkraut tips here)- I've found it really beneficial for gut health. There are more probiotic foods to experiment with which I discussed in my probiotics blog post.
4. Go Herbal. There are lots of 'teatoxes' out there that are nothing more than strong laxatives. Yet there are some naturally herbal teas that can support your gut. Mint and Fennel can soothe the gut while Nettle has a slightly stronger effect on the colon (should you be suffering from constipation).
5. Consider a retreat. If you are serious about detoxing, it could be worth dedicating a few days to it and giving yourself some rest and relaxation! While there are many things you can do at home, sometimes the chance to escape your everyday life, spend some proper time by yourself and really commit to something can really help. Here are a few suggestions:
Green Goddess Retreat, Bali I love Mel Wells, she is a massive advocate my body confidence and her retreat is all about self-love and being kind to your body.
Vitality Centre, Dublin Dubbed Ireland's Answer to the Betty Forde Clinic, this clinic has everything needed for complete detox getaway.
Cotswolds Juice Retreat A countryside juice retreat.
6. Epsom Salts. Epsom salts naturally detox the body. Simply add to a bath to draw toxins out through the skin- helping with things like joint pain and fatigue. My tip is to experiment with the amount you use since you may feel a little lightheaded at first.
7. Breathing Exercise. A simple deep breathing exercise can help rejuvenate the body and help stress (which has a massive impact on the gut) The NHS website offers some simple breathing exercises.
8. Massage and Natural Therapies. I know for some of you the jury may be out on natural therapies and that's fine. I've tried reflexology and reiki and my viewpoint remain that they are very relaxing, help deal with stress and can naturally stimulate the lymphatic system through massage and unblocking channels. Whether that can help significantly with the gut remains a personal issue but since they are super relaxing there's no harm in trying!
So those are my 8 tips for detoxing the gut. I hope this post has given you an idea of how detox doesn't have to be scary and how some simple steps can actually boost your gut health!
Jenna Farmer writes about gut health over at http://www.abalancedbelly.co.uk/
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