It feels like every time I turn around, there’s a new product promising to detox me in three days and make me feel like a refreshed, wellness goddess. Anyone else notice this on the reg? And heck, we can’t help but want to jump at the promise of an easy system reboot; we are over-worked, over-stressed and, let’s keep it real, over-served. But in reality, all of these cleanses come down to companies capitalizing on our love for quick fixes. And the truth is, a three-day cleanse isn’t going to do squat to improve long-term health.
So is detoxing in general a scam? Not at all! Every day, our body absorbs chemicals and toxins into our bloodstream from the environment, food and products we use on our skin and in our home. These toxins can build up, put stress on our organs and wreak all sorts of havoc on our health. Scary? Yes. But are there things we can do everyday to encourage our body to detox in a more gentle and effective way? Also yes. Here are five!
Let’s start with what we are eating. The easiest way to detox is to regularly consume as many fresh vegetables, fruit (citrus) and spices as we can (Think: leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, fermented food, plants like garlic and spices like turmeric). All of these work in different ways to bind to toxins, boost our immune system and encourage detox.
We know we are supposed to drink water to keep us hydrated, but did you know that water is crucial to detoxing, too? Water flushes toxins and waste from the body and transports nutrients to where they are needed. Plus, drinking good quality water matters. People get really heated about what kind is best, but my understanding is that spring water is the healthiest. Spring water is naturally filtered and contains trace minerals that our bodies need. Spring water isn’t always practical, so installing a home water filter system for your entire home might be a good idea (a whole house carbon filter is the best option). Avoid tap water at all costs. Most purified drinking bottled water like Aquafina and Dasani is filtered tap water, so skip it. Your body and the environment will thank you.
Dry brushing is brushing your body with a wooden skin brush before you shower. It helps stimulate your lymphatic system, whose main job is to rid the body of toxins. Plus, it also exfoliates skin, increases circulation, and people who do it regularly say it helps prevent and reduce cellulite. Real talk, if the promise of less cellulite isn’t a convincing reason to try it, I don’t know what else is.
Another perk of dry brushing? It’s quick. Start at your feet and work your way up your body and towards your heart using gentle circular motions for about 5-10 minutes. FYI: Don’t use the same body brush on your face since the skin is much more sensitive. You can buy a special dry brush for your face and use it gently.
Oil pulling is swishing a high-quality vegetable oil (coconut oil is my preference, but sesame oil works too) around in your mouth for a set amount of time and then spitting that oil back out, which binds the oil with bacteria found in your mouth. Studies confirm oil pulling helps reduce inflammation, boosts your immune system and increases tooth and gum health.
Start with a few minutes a day and work your way up to 20 minutes (which can take a few weeks to get to, so don’t worry if your jaw is sore at first). A bonus benefit is that it is a natural way to whiten teeth! Plumbers PSA: spit the oil back into a cup or into the trash. The oil can clog the pipes.
Taking a bath is an effective and relaxing way to detox and (the best part) lower stress. We all like an excuse to relax, so now you have a bonafide reason – it’s literally good for your health! It can be as easy as combining epsom salts with cleansing essential oils like tea tree oil or eucalyptus. If you’re really looking to treat yourself, buy a premade detox blend (this one is my favorite).
Ingredient quality is important here. Remember, we want to remove toxins, not add them. Throw out that bargain bubble bath from your company’s white elephant gift exchange, since it’s most likely laden with harmful ingredients (*cough cough* looking at you, Cucumber Melon). Then, turn down the lights, put on some slow jams and let detox bath salts work their magic.
Have you tried any of these natural detoxes? Any that I’ve missed?