If you’re feeling a bit sluggish, or are conscious that your diet has drifted towards being less healthy than you’d like, now might just be the perfect time to do a detox regime.
Detox regimes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but don’t need to be complex.
For most healthy people it’s as simple as committing to a period of clean eating in which you swap the dietary nasties for foods that are nutrient-rich and easily digested.
1. Abstain from alcohol
Alcohol is well known for its toxic properties, so it has no place in your detox regime. Water is the best alternative. Aim to drink at least a couple of litres per day while you’re detoxing, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice for flavour if desired.
2. Steer clear of artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners
If you’re in the habit of consuming diet soft drinks, lollies and processed foods, you might be surprised by the amount of artificial sweeteners, flavours and colours that are making their way into your diet.
From a nutritional perspective, these substances add no value to your daily diet, so there’s no need to put them into your body.
Switch to healthier options instead, such as nuts and seeds or bite-sized portions of fruit (strawberries, blueberries and lychees are great options).
3. Stock up on fresh produce
Fresh fruit and vegetables should form the foundation of your detox program. In particular, lean towards salads, which are packed with nutrients and offer unending varieties of flavour to choose from.
In traditional Chinese medicine, many salad vegetables (like lettuce, cucumber, parsley and celery) are regarded as having cooling and detoxifying properties, making them an ideal inclusion in your daily detox diet. (In contrast, heavy, slow-cooked foods like stews and casseroles are considered heating, and are therefore best avoided during your detox).
4. Break up with bread, cakes and biscuits
Stodgy, starchy carbohydrates like bread, cakes, biscuits and potatoes can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and as a result, may contribute to weight gain and feelings of sluggishness.
Many people choose to avoid bread entirely while detoxing, increasing their intake of fresh fruit and vegetables in its place.
If you do decide to continue eating bread though, choose one that has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) – a naturally fermented rye sourdough is a good option.
5. Cut back on caffeine
While small quantities of caffeine are not generally regarded as problematic, when consumed to excess, they can have negative effects on a number of aspects of health. For example, research has shown that women who consume large amounts of caffeine are more likely to experience period pain than other women (perhaps due to caffeine’s constricting effects on the blood vessels of the pelvis).
Since caffeine is habit-forming and can cause headaches and other withdrawal symptoms when you cut back on it, consider reducing your intake gradually over a few weeks rather than going cold turkey. As an alternative, try roasted dandelion root ‘coffee’ or switch to green tea, which is rich in antioxidants and is traditionally regarded as having detoxifying properties in Chinese medicine.
6. Take herbs to support your detox
In many different herbal medicine traditions, herbs are used to support the body’s organs of detoxification (especially the liver, kidneys and bowel) and promote the elimination of metabolic, microbial and intestinal wastes. Examples to consider taking during your detox include the traditional Chinese herbs Asian Dandelion, Phellodendron and Baical Skullcap, and the Western herbs Barberry and Rhubarb.
7. Take probiotics for better bowel health
During and after your detox, consider taking a probiotic supplement to help promote and maintain a healthy balance of the ‘friendly’ bacteria that inhabit your intestine. Doing so may help to improve your bowel movements, while also helping to relieve digestive issues such as bloating, flatulence and abdominal discomfort.
In particular, look for a supplement that contains clinically tested probiotic strains that have been specially selected for their ability to adhere to the lining of the human intestinal tract (such as HOWARU® HN019 and HN001, and FloraFIT® Bl-04).
8. Exercise – but gently
During a detox it’s best to be gentle on yourself, so consider switching your regular high-intensity exercise regime for gentle walks and easy flowing yoga sessions. And if you’re not currently in the habit of exercising, now is a great time to start, but remember to take things easy while you’re detoxing – you can always increase the intensity of your routine in a few weeks time.
Is a detox regime suitable for you?
Before you start your detox, it’s important to assess whether doing so is safe and appropriate for you. If you’re suffering from chronic health problems, taking prescription medicines, have a history of exposure to toxic substances, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your healthcare professional first.
Fusion Health, premium quality Australian-made supplements that combine the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine and the science of modern Western herbalism, including:
- Fusion Detox: Chinese herbs traditionally used to promote detoxification via the liver, kidneys and bowel
- Fusion Probiotic Advanced: Dairy-free, clinically tested probiotic strains to promote digestive health
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.