Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, CLE, shares the truth about detoxing, as well as five natural, easy ways to detox your body on a daily basis.
As a dietitian, I urge you to remove the noise around the concept of detoxing. Instead, focus on simple ways to optimize healthy habits for an effective mind and body reset.
In this article, we’re going to dive into what it means to detox. Plus, I’ll share effective daily detox tips to support your body’s natural processes of toxin removal.
What is detoxing, Really?
By definition, to detox means to filter the body from harmful toxins or substances. More recently, however, the term detox has taken a new identity.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about detox diets, juice cleanses, and so on. Unfortunately, many detox products on the market are largely misleading. Why? Because these products gloss over an important fact:
The human body is self-healing.
Moreover, a healthy body can detox itself from toxins all on its own. Truth be told, it’s pretty amazing.
What are we detoxing from?
Indeed, we face countless exposures to toxins on a daily basis. The main routes of exposure include:
- breathing polluted air
- using chemically-dense household or skincare products
- eating processed foods
How the Body Detoxifies Itself
The liver is the body’s largest detoxification system. It’s responsible for deactivating and removing toxins that we ingest. These toxins range from heavy metals and food additives to excess hormones.
Similar, but a bit different, are the kidneys. They filter out undesirable substances like medication byproducts and harmful chemicals.
Other major players in the body’s detoxification process include:
- the digestive tract, which helps expel toxins through bowel movements
- the lymphatic system, which produces white blood cells to protect against harmful toxins
- the respiratory system, which uses the lungs and bronchi to help convert toxins into carbonic gas to exhale
- the skin, which acts as a final line of defense against toxins by releasing crystals (a classification of toxins) and supporting the kidney’s filtration process
As you can see, our bodies are always in some state of detox. It’s amazing that the human body is constantly at work to cleanse itself from toxins that can negatively impact different facets of health like our skin, digestion, energy, and more.
5 Natural, EASY WAYS TO DETOX DAILY
Although the body can detoxify on its own, it doesn’t mean that we can’t lend a helping hand. That said, consider following the best natural ways to detox your body daily through healthy, sustainable habits.
1. Eat a Varied, Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is the perfect way to help fuel the organs and systems that do the heavy lifting. A colorful diet rich fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, plant-based fats, and lean protein is highly recommended.
Incorporating high-fiber foods like lentils, seeds, and certain fruits can also help reduce the amount of time that the bowels—which may include toxins—wait in the intestine to be passed. In addition, one review found that dietary fiber can actually strengthen the protective barriers of detox organs like the liver and kidneys. By doing so, it allows these organs to focus more on other important processes like detoxification, rather than protection.
On top of that, researchers have linked the intake of high-sugar foods and beverages with poor liver function. This is yet another reason to limit foods that have added sugars, preservatives, and other ingredients that distract the liver from its normal function.
Since processed foods can contribute to the toxic load, aim to eat foods in their whole form. Eating farm-to-table, seasonally, and organic is one of the best ways to do so.
2. Nourish the Gut Microbiome
We know that the digestive tract is an important detox player. Needless to say, supporting gut health is one of the best ways to ensure a properly functioning digestive tract.
A healthy gut has a diverse microbiome balanced with good and bad bacteria. You can achieve it by supplementing with prebiotics, probiotics, and including fermented foods in your daily diet.
Prebiotics are like food for probiotics, the good bacteria that help create an environment optimal for efficient digestion and other health processes. Conversely, a gut microbiome imbalance can take its toll on our major detox organs.
In addition to supplements and food sources of probiotics, you can also support gut health by eating polyphenol-rich foods. Dietary polyphenols are found in high-antioxidant foods like berries, dark chocolate, vegetables, and nuts.
On that note, antioxidants can also help fight toxins that live in our bodies in the form of free radicals.
When we think of ways to detox, drinking water is often high on that list—but usually for the wrong reasons.
Contrary to popular belief, water doesn’t just simply flush out toxins. Rather, it helps remove harmful cell byproducts like urea and carbon dioxide from the bloodstream. Once filtered from the blood, water enables toxin removal through other detox channels like urination, breathing, and sweating.
However, note that it’s unnecessary to follow a water fast or drink excessive amounts. A general rule of thumb is to simply sip on eight cups of water daily. All things considered, the goal is to promote regular bathroom visits, as this is one of the main ways the body detoxes itself.
4. Break A Sweat
Sweating is an excellent way to help the body excrete toxins. Regular movement and/or exercise are easy ways to break a sweat. Regular physical activity supports healthy cell function, including cells’ ability to detoxify from oxidative stress.
Additionally, exercising packs a load of benefits that ultimately support the healthy function of our major detoxification organs.
Whether you enjoy hitting the sauna, walking your dog, or gardening, make sure to get to moving and sweating every day. I suggest aiming for at least 30 minutes daily.
5. Supplement with Detoxifying Greens
No, we’re not talking about celery juice here. Chlorella is a nutrient-packed alga known to magnify our body’s toxin elimination process. One study suspects that chlorella may in fact help the body get rid of toxins.
Next, this superfood is classified as a chelator, which simply means it binds to and deactivates heavy metals. Another study found that participants who supplemented with chlorella experienced lower heavy metal levels (including mercury, silver, tin, and lead) compared to those who didn’t supplement.
To incorporate this daily detox tip, considering adding chlorella to your supplement routine. HUM’s Daily Cleanse pairs chlorella with other gentle detoxifying ingredients like spirulina, dandelion leaf extract, and red clover.