A Fresh Start for Spring
Winter brings with it an abundance of rich meals and extra helpings. With every sip and forkful, however, is the potential to take in excess sugar, sodium, trans fats, and empty calories. Now that the season of renewal is in sight, these cleansing strategies may help you release winter weight and begin the new season with a clean slate.
Process of Elimination
Some folks swear by fasting for best detoxification results, but fasting may be harmful for some people, including those with low blood pressure, low body weight, low immunity, or low energy levels. Likewise, women who are pregnant or nursing and children should not fast. Instead, one of the best strategies to eliminate toxins is to stop adding to the stockpile that might have accumulated over the past weeks or months.
Try to avoid sugar, sodium, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, food dyes and preservatives, trans fats, and alcoholic beverages for at least three weeks. Eliminating these foods will result in natural calorie reduction that will support fat reduction, if that is a goal. Likewise, because your detoxification organs are also involved in the digestion and metabolism of food, as well as the elimination of waste products, ease their burden during your cleanse by limiting your intake of meats, which can be difficult to digest. Focus instead on fruits like pineapple, which is a source of the anti-inflammatory digestive enzyme bromelain that helps to break down protein and improve the movement of food through the digestive tract. Fiber-rich vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will also help sweep the colon clean. Drink plenty of water to help with toxin elimination, and consider the use of detox teas made from herbs such as ginger and licorice root.
New Season, New You
Although your body has its own powerful cleansing mechanisms, the organs that do this work can use some support. At the same time, releasing toxins can cause discomfort throughout the digestive tract and beyond. Try these strategies:
Research has linked dysbiosis (imbalance) of digestive system bacteria with weight gain. Perhaps ironically, research also links artificial sweeteners—which are theoretically used to reduce calorie intake and thereby prevent or reduce weight gain—and dysbiosis associated with obesity. Adding probiotics to your regimen will not only improve digestion, but will also help to promote the release of excess weight.
Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats EPA and DHA from fish oil are used in the maintenance and repair of the membranes of every one of the trillions of cells that make up your body. Research shows that DHA is especially good at protecting the liver, a major detoxification organ. Other studies link adequate intake of omega-3 fats with decreases in body mass index (BMI) and body fat, possibly through improved satiety.
A Multi-Pronged Approach
A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement supports a healthy detox strategy in many ways:
- Vitamin A: Growth, function, and repair of epithelial cells (cells that line organs)
- Vitamin B5: Energy production; tissue healing
- Vitamin C: Water-soluble antioxidant; collagen formation
- Selenium: Helps with tissue repair; chemical detoxification
- Zinc: Enzyme function; cell replication and repair
At the end of three weeks, you might feel lighter and healthier. And you may not want to add back any of those toxins that bogged you down all winter!
Found in our Health & Happiness magazine.