After months of cold weather and time spent hibernating indoors and indulging in stodgy food, the arrival of spring is the perfect time to refresh your health routine with a gentle detox.
“The purpose of detoxification is to eliminate stored wastes and refresh and reset your system,” explains naturopath Rebekah Russell.
“The two detoxification systems in the body that naturopaths concentrate on are the digestive system, particularly where the liver is involved, and the lymphatic system, which is also responsible for removing toxins from the body.”
According to Russell, an effective cleanse should be gentle and balanced (rather than extreme or overly restrictive), last for between seven to 10 days, and be holistic, addressing the body, mind and soul.
Start your spring cleanse with these tips.
Tip 1. Begin the day with warm water and lemon juice
Drinking a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning is thought to boost a sluggish digestive system and flush out wastes.
“It stimulates enzymes and gently kick-starts your digestive processes, as well as alkalising the body and helping to reduce inflammation,” says Russell.
As well as squeezed lemon juice, add some coarsely cut up pieces of lemon to your glass, so you benefit from the antibacterial properties of the rind.
Tip 2. Try dry skin brushing
Dry brushing before you shower with a natural fibre body brush doesn’t just exfoliate skin, it stimulates the lymphatic system, one of your body’s main detoxification channels.
“When dry brushing, you want to always brush upwards, for instance from your feet up your calves and from your hands up towards your shoulders, because that’s the path of the lymphatic flow,” advises Russell.
Tip 3. Simplify your diet
During a detox, you should ideally avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar and packaged and processed foods and fill up on natural wholefoods
and herbal teas instead.
“You want to nourish the body with the best quality ingredients to help it restore and renew,” says Russell.
She advises eating a plant-based diet, which is nutrient dense, during your cleanse as it’s easier for the body to break down and absorb compared to animal proteins.
“Buddha bowls make fantastic vegetarian meals – try adding in some quinoa, avocado, hummus, raw veggie sticks and sprouts,” suggests Russell.
Tip 4. Clear your diary
A detox is an opportunity to refresh and reset not just your body, but your mind and soul too. So, rather than overloading yourself with commitments, scale back your diary.
“Allow yourself time to reflect and be present,” encourages Russell. “You might want to rediscover the joys of reading, start journaling your thoughts and things that inspire you, or re-engage with something that you used to love, such as art or music.”
The process of reflecting and going within can also help you get clear on the various mental and emotional stressors that you want to ‘detox’ from your regular life.
Tip 5. Eat detoxifying superfoods
“Bitter foods and herbs like radicchio, rocket and mustard greens stimulate digestion by increasing saliva and enzymes, so including them in your diet during your cleanse would be a good thing,” advises Russell.
Garlic and onions, artichokes and brassica vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts plus the curry spice turmeric are also good additions , as they support liver detoxification.
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