To detox or not to detox?

Let’s not forget that we are detoxifying now!  It is a natural process that is happening all of the time.

At the start of the year there are so many fad diets around and extreme detoxes in the media. Many of them are unsustainable in the real world!  In addition to not being the best time to detox – Spring is naturopathically much better – a quick juice detox, although helping to flood the body with micronutrients and give our digestive systems a break, won’t always work on the deeper cellular toxin levels.   A 28 day cleanse is preferable to the quick fix as this mirrors your body’s renewal cycle – including the liver cells in charge of detoxification and female eliminatory menstrual cycles.  It’s also much more effective to add things to your diet which will help our natural detoxification organs work better over the longer term.

Support for the liver is much needed – to help get rid of by-products of medicines alcohol, food, drink, bacteria, pollution, cleaning chemicals and cigarette smoke to name a few!  Many organs are involved with detoxification – the liver, lungs, kidneys, skin and the gut.  But the liver takes the bulk of the work…

Some signs you might benefit from a gentle cleanse:

  • headaches
  • night sweats
  • fatigue and sluggishness
  • skin eruptions
  • low mood and irritability
  • slow thinking and poor memory
  • sensitivities to chemicals, perfumes or pollution
  • adverse reactions to food additives
  • bloating, excess wind and constipation
  • chronic itching
  • bad hangovers from alcohol consumption
  • having been on regular medication for some weeks, months or years

How to boost your liver function:

  • Vegetables – at least 10 per day, smoothie and soup making
  • Turmeric, ginger, parsley, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables (especially beetroot) garlic all beneficial to the liver
  • Drink plenty of fluids – although away from meal times
  • Quality protein – eggs, white meat (darker cuts have more iron)
  • Juicing– add Morning Elixir for additional protein, iron and Vitamin C
  • Get a good supply of B vitamins and other co-factor nutrients for the detoxification process – get in at least 1-2 cups of green leafy vegetables daily.
  • Feed your gut!
    • Prebiotics and probiotic foods recommended – fermented foods, soluble fibre-flaxseed crackers, wholegrain rice, millet or quinoa, stewed apple
    • Choose organic or wild foods, where possible, to minimise exposure to pesticides,antibiotics, growth promoters and other drugs
  • A wide range of brightly coloured fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, for their important antioxidants – cruciferous vegetables, pomegranate juice , berries, green tea, turmeric ginger, onions and garlic, herbs like coriander, dill and parsley (great source of Vit C!), rosemary and mint, citrus zest and beetroot 
  • Quercetin-rich foods to help reduce itching and sneezing symptoms: apples, onion, kale, cherry, red wine, extra virgin olive oil, beans.
  • Olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Also add polyunsaturated fats from oily fish, nuts, seeds and cold pressed seed oils (although don’t cook with these as they become unstable with heat).
  • Boost your iron!  The most bioavailable iron is iron from lean red meat, especially liver and the darker meat from game, poultry and oily fish, as well as eggs.  If vegetarian make sure you consume foods such as dark greens which are also rich in vitamin C, which help their absorption.