Detox Support

Written January 2019 by Phoebe Wynne-Lewis, BHSc, Dip Nat Med, Dip Herb Med – FxMed Technical Support

The summer months encompass so much fun and celebration – family, friends, travel, sun, surf, parties and overindulging in all the scrumptious, rich, fatty food (with the guilt belt off) while regularly consuming alcohol until we are more than merry!

During this time, our lives (and stomachs) can feel fuller and more satisfied than ever and our moods may be lighter and smiles brighter. However, these habits of over-eating, excess sugar, alcohol and lack of sleep can impede on the body’s detoxification processes.

View top tips below for supporting detoxification as this summer whirlwind comes to an end.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is eating within a specific period, and fasting the rest of the time. Start the eating clock at 9 am and stop eating by 7:30 pm.

  • The closer to sunset we stop eating, the faster our body will rebound and metabolise to help us burn fat and lose weight.
  • Other benefits include increased energy, improved memory and brain function, increased cellular repair, longevity and reduced insulin resistance.

Sweat

Our liver, kidneys and sweat glands are the primary players in our body’s ongoing effort to remove toxins and waste products naturally.

  • Our blood carries toxins to our liver and kidneys specifically to allow them to filter out waste. Sometimes, toxins diffuse from our blood into the sweat glands, which release them when we sweat.
  • Many chemicals can be stored in our fat cells. Exercise is a great way to shrink and change our fat cells, thus removing content and potentially removing contaminants in the process. They can also be eliminated during exercise and sauna therapy, through the skin via sweat.

Eat well

Adequate phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are imperative for adequate detoxification. Fill up on plant-based fruits and vegetables — the richer and more vibrant the colour of fruits and vegetables, the greater the antioxidant load.

  • The liver is highly involved in the detoxification process. The following can support the liver in performing its detox pathways: cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy and broccoli), beets, pomegranate, green tea, flax seeds, artichokes, grapefruit, pomegranate, sesame seeds and berries.
  • Detoxifying herbs in cooking include coriander, rosemary and turmeric. Spices such as cinnamon and ginger are digestive aids and will help with gassiness and bloating.
  • Increase fibre intake, i.e. bran, beans, berries, sweet peas, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, squash, wholesome whole grains (quinoa, brown rice), and increase protein sources such as eggs, chicken and legumes. They will help detoxify by stimulating the gastrocolic reflex which aid bowel movements and help keep us energetic and satiated. Healthy bowel function also promotes the secretion and excretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder, which supports the detoxification process.
  • Fermented foods such as plain yoghurt, kombucha and kimchi will help increase the number of healthy bacteria in our system as will a probiotic supplement.

Breathe

Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and exercise are great ways to promote healthy and normal breathing patterns.

  • Many of us may often find ourselves holding our breath or taking shallow “mini” breaths much of the day. Instead, we want to optimise the lung’s ability to circulate oxygen to aid in the removal of unwanted contaminants.

Dry Body Brushing

Improve your lymphatic system, increase circulation and encourage the detoxification process by dry body brushing.

  • Dry body brushing sheds dead skin cells, stimulates the nervous system and encourages the discharge of metabolic waste so that the body can run more efficiently.

Hydrate

Water carries nutrients to the cells, aids digestion and flushes out toxins via the kidneys.

  • In general, drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colourless or light yellow.

Improve GI Tract Function

Digestion and general GI Tract function may be disrupted by dysbiosis (imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria).

  • This imbalance causes damage to the mucosal layer of the GI Tract; the normally smooth intact mucosal layer becomes permeable, allowing food proteins to enter into the bloodstream. This consequently activates our immune system, causing inflammation, food sensitivities and a myriad of symptoms both in the GI system and throughout the whole body.
  • Balancing intestinal flora aids digestion by building up the good guys with probiotics and proper nutrition and reducing problematic microbes with various treatments.
  • Identifying food sensitivities through an elimination process, or with the use of functional testing can also aid digestion and the health of the gut. The most common food sensitivities are dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, and corn – and, not far behind, nuts.

Healthy beverages

  • Lemon water – The juice of half a lemon in water upon rising will kick-start your digestion, aid the liver and help to alkalize your body.
  • Green tea – Although green tea still contains caffeine, it improves Phase II detoxification – this means more efficient elimination of accumulated toxins in the body.
  • Green juice – Incorporate a green juice into your day. It provides your body and liver with an abundance of vitamins and minerals necessary for detoxification.
  • Mint, chamomile, and lemongrass herb teas aid our digestive system.
  • Ginger speeds up the journey of food from the stomach to the small intestine and also balances gastric juices.

Sleep

  • Recent research has identified the ‘glymphatic system’ which uses the cells’ mitochondria to remove cellular waste from the brain.
  • The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain is what is responsible for draining toxins from the brain, much like how the lymph system in other organs is what removes waste from those cells to the kidney and liver.
  • Scientists have noted that this system is particularly active during sleep. As we sleep our brain cells’ mitochondria remove cellular waste.
  • If we improve our mitochondrial function during sleep, we will turbocharge our brain’s maintenance system and get more clean up done in fewer hours of sleep.
  • For this cleaning process to be successful and rid our body of all waste substances, we need to get a sufficient amount of good quality sleep.