Detox is a continuous process in our bodies (and our lives). Every minute of every day. It’s essential for life and for wellness. It is the process by which your body protects itself from that vast number of potentially harmful substances it comes in contact with.
How you support your body in that essential function has a huge impact on how vibrant you feel.
Yet many people talk and think about detox as an activity with a start and an end. You “detox” for 2 weeks. Then back to “normal” life. Certainly there are moments in life, and conditions for which, an intensive short term detox program is helpful and beneficial. But supporting our bodies natural detoxification systems is best as an ongoing daily practice. It’s like only exercising for 2 weeks out of the year–you wouldn’t get the amazing benefits of regular physical activity. The same applies to detox support.
The Dirt on Toxins
Your body is constantly being bombarded with toxins. Some of the toxins you come into contact with are produced within your body, as byproducts of normal metabolic processes. But in our modern world most of those toxins come from your environment. And unfortunately, they are everywhere! In food, air, water, soil, household cleaners, textiles, and personal hygiene products.
Over 70,00 new man-made chemicals have been brought into commercial production and released into the environment in the last 100 years. We have limited information on many of those chemicals. And some have been found to be clearly toxic or harmful to human health. Studies have found at least 200 of these chemicals in the blood or breast milk of human beings in the U.S. and around the world.
That means there is no question these chemicals are getting into our bodies, but a ton of questions about the health consequences they are causing.
What we do know is that “medical researchers are recognizing an increasing number of symptoms related to the buildup of toxins, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, fatigue, infertility, allergies, behavior and mood disorders, and neurological conditions such as tremors, headaches, and cognitive difficulties, along with several other diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.” – Institute for Functional Medicine
9 Ways To Detox Daily: In with the good and out with the bad
Luckily, there are many ways to help protect yourself and support your detox systems daily. The key is to both support your body’s natural detoxification systems (in with the good) and to also limit exposure to toxins wherever you can (out with the bad).
Below are 10 simple ways to powerfully support your body in detoxing daily. These can feel a little overwhelming if you try to implement them all at once. So we recommend implementing one at a time, slowly but surely, as you are able. You might green up your household cleaners one month, change your skin care products the next, then slowly start adding in more detox supporting foods. We like to think of it as an ongoing process of learning how to protect ourselves from the negative impacts of toxins in our environment.
1. Sweat More
- Increase exercise that makes you sweat.
- Take hot baths with epsom salts regularly and/or sauna.
2. Eat colorful, nutritious, whole foods that support detox
- The organs that carry out metabolic detoxification day in and day out, in particular the liver, need support to do their job. One of the best ways to do that is by providing them the high quality nutrients they need to function well. Here are some of the best detox supporting foods to incorporate into your meals regularly:
- Berries, flax seeds, green tea, alliums (garlic, onions, etc), dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale), adequate protein (free range, organic meats, eggs, nuts and seeds), citrus, turmeric, bone broth, and a wide range of colorful fruits and veggies.
- It also helps to limit foods that increase inflammation and disrupt the gut (like refined grains, refined sugar, processed soy, and industrial seed oils such as safflower and soybean oil).
- Read more about which foods can help your body shine and feel great here.
3. Keep your gut healthy
- Make sure you are having 1-2 soft bowel movements a day–so you are clearing out those toxins regularly. If you are not you can increase your fiber and fluid intake and take 300-900mg of Magnesium Citrate a day.
- Take a probiotic to keep your microbiome (the good bacteria in your gut) healthy. This also helps keep your bowels moving.
- If you are having chronic, unresolved gut issues see a Functional Medicine practitioner to help you dive deeper and heal your gut.
4. Drink generous water daily
- 64 oz is the general recommendation, but listen to your body and be generous.
- Staying hydrated also helps our body flush out toxins and function better overall.
5. Get adequate sleep
- Through a number of mechanisms, sleep deprivation decreases our body’s ability to detox. Getting too little sleep also increases inflammation in our body, impairs our immune system, and puts us at greater risk for chronic disease. Aim for 7-9 restful hours of sleep each night. Read more about the importance and power of sleep here.
6. Manage your stress & relax more.
- Here are some of our favorite ways to do that:
7. Decrease exposure to chemicals in your food & water
- FOOD: Buy and eat as much organic/spray-free and locally grown food as you can. Limit foods with “extras” like pesticides, antibiotics, MSG, and GMOs.
- FISH: Limit/avoid fish with higher levels of mercury. Check out the EWG Seafood guide for more details.
- WATER: Get a great water filter to remove common toxins from your water. At a minimum you want a heavy duty carbon water filter you use for your drinking water. Better yet is a whole house water filter for all of your water. Either way your filter should remove particles 0.8 microns or under (and chlorine in particular).
- PLASTICS: Avoid drinking out of any plastics. Limit eating out of plastics as well, especially warm/hot food. Avoid heating up food in plastics. Pyrex containers are a great alternative.
8. Use natural personal & beauty products
- BEAUTY & HYGIENE PRODUCTS: Use safe, simple, toxin free beauty & hygiene products. In this department knowledge is our best friend. That’s why we love using the EWG Skin Deep Database to help us learn about the products we use and the ingredients in them. This resource is invaluable!
9. Green up your home
- HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS: Use safe, simple, toxin-free household products. This is a common way we unknowingly introduce a lot of icky chemicals into our bodies.
- AIR: Put a HEPA air filter in your house. This helps remove dust and mold, among other things, that can make your immune system more reactive and ultimately can impair detox.
- USE THE EWG HEALTHY HOME CHECKLIST to green up your home.
10. Support policies that protect our planet and communities from toxin exposure.
- Sign up for the EWG newsletter so you will be informed when there are important petitions about policies to protect your health (and our planet).
- Donate to EWG who does incredible work to protect our planet and our communities.
- Stay informed about what is happening in your own community around environmental toxin issues.
I hope this information helps you protect and nourish your body and home.