Our National Training Manager Sonja Hindley shares her advice for gentle natural detoxification this spring…
It’s almost spring, and many of us are starting to feel more energised and motivated to clean up our diets and detoxify our bodies after the sluggishness of winter.
Our organs of filtration and elimination include the lungs, kidneys, colon and skin, but the liver is the main organ involved in detoxification. Blood passes through it carrying toxins (like medication, alcohol and chemicals), used hormones and waste from our cells that needs to be processed and eliminated. If the liver is not functioning optimally, or the bowels cannot eliminate waste due to constipation, toxic waste may build up, which is detrimental to our health. Fat soluble toxins are excreted in the bile, becoming part of our stool, while some toxins are made water soluble by the liver and excreted through the kidneys. The skin also eliminates toxins through sweat or rashes.
We are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis - from the food we eat and the water we drink to the air we breathe and the body and home care products we use. Our entire environment has become extremely polluted, and the cumulative burden is overwhelming our detoxification organs and contributing to cognitive, digestive, immune and hormonal imbalances.
Limit your environmental toxin exposure in the following ways:
• Drink filtered or spring water only (avoid prepared, bottled or tap water to limit your intake of xeno-estrogens, heavy metals and chlorine)
• Eat animals and plants from clean sources, like pasture raised eggs, dairy products and meat; sustainably caught and mercury free fish; and organic fruit and vegetables to avoid pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics
• Switch to non-toxic body care and home cleaning products
• Limit or avoid smoking and drinking
• Limit electro-magnetic radiation exposure from cell phones and wireless devices
• Avoid plastics of all kinds to avoid xeno-estrogens
Our bodies are always detoxifying naturally. However you can boost your body’s efforts by removing known toxins and allergens such as wheat and dairy, as well as sugar and refined foods, additives, caffeine and alcohol from your diet. Eat 7 to 10 cups of whole and colourful fruit, vegetables and leafy greens a day to add fibre, protective phyto-nutrients and antioxidants. Make sure you include berries and cruciferous veggies, as well as green tea and fresh vegetable juices - celery, cucumber, beetroot, parsley, lemon and ginger will all be helpful. Drink 1 - 2 litres of pure and mineralised water per day. Don’t overeat, and allow time to rest. Skin brushing and saunas may help with the elimination of toxins, as will oil pulling for improved dental health, sinus problems, allergies, skin breakouts and headaches. Lastly, get out into nature as often as you can to download inflammatory ions and radiation from electronic devices. These steps will allow for a gentle and natural detox, and will protect the liver and the kidneys.
If you need to use detoxification products, focus on supporting your liver, kidneys and lymphatic system, as your cells will release toxins into the blood stream as soon as your diet becomes more wholesome and fresh. For a comprehensive detoxification solution, try the Good Health Body Cleanse or the homeopathic Detox Kit from Heel. Solgar’s Milk Thistle/Dandelion Complex and A. Vogel’s Boldocynara & Nephrosolid will provide liver and kidney support, while SevenPointFive’s Liver Detox and Himalaya’s Liv52 focus on liver health. You may consider adding activated charcoal or zeolite for a short period to mop up toxins and help escort them out of the body.
Be sure to consume enough dietary fibre to prevent constipation and ensure regular elimination before starting a detox programme.
The Herxheimer Reaction is a short-term (usually a few days) detoxification reaction in the body. As the body detoxifies, it is not uncommon to experience flu-like symptoms including headaches, joint and muscle pain, body aches, a sore throat, general malaise, sweating, chills, nausea or other symptoms. Support your body with antioxidants such as vitamin C, glutathione and NAC to minimise symptoms. Make sure to rest - ideally detox during a period of leave when you do not have to attend stressful meetings or over exert yourself physically.
If you are on any kind of medication, start slowly by first making changes to your diet and lifestyle before introducing supporting supplementation. Do not take herbs close to medication, especially those that support liver health, as this may affect how the liver metabolises medicines, making them less or more effective. Similarly, activated charcoal should not be taken together with medications, or for long periods of time, as it will adsorb medicines, vitamins and minerals from the body.
We do not recommend that a detox programme be undertaken while pregnant or breastfeeding.