Maintaining detoxification of body and mind isn’t easy.
Thriving in a toxic world involves protecting yourself from overwhelm - in the form of chemical, emotional and technological, which may be possible if you live on a deserted island but most of us don’t.
This means anything you can do to improve daily detoxification is going to be hugely beneficial for your health.
You may not connect the two but detoxification is also dependent on the health of your nervous system.
Living in an attention economy alone, never mind exposure to environmental and food toxins overwhelms the nervous system making us sympathetic (“fight, flight, freeze”) mode dominant.
You see, detoxification of body and mind happens when we are in the parasympathetic (“rest, digest and detox”) mode.
But there's lots you can do to avoid toxic overwhelm and support your nervous system and other detoxification processes.
10 Ways to Promote Daily Detoxification of Body & Mind
Here are 10 ways to promote daily detoxification of body and mind:
1. Include Fruit & Vegetables With Every Meal
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that your detox pathways thrive on - vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli (especially broccoli sprouts), cauliflower and kale contain phytochemicals and sulfur-rich compounds that have potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
These vegetables also support liver detoxification by increasing glutathione production, an important antioxidant for reducing oxidative stress.
Choosing organic produce will reduce your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals that further increase your toxic load.
2. Up Your Fibre Consumption
Fibre is essential to keep food material moving properly through your digestive tract.
A lack of fibre contributes to constipation and stool sitting in the colon for too long, enabling toxins to be reabsorbed into the body.
Fibre also feeds healthy gut bacteria, helping it to thrive, which positively influences toxicity.
Berries, pears, apples, chia seeds, almonds, legumes, oats and peas are excellent examples of high fibre foods.
3. Remove Refined Sugar From Your Diet
We all know about the harmful health effects of refined sugar.
Refined sugar is a toxin and therefore reducing your consumption of it, including hidden sugars, or switching to natural alternatives (not artificial sweeteners which are also toxins) is a positive step towards cleaning up your diet, and reducing toxic load.
4. Drink Dandelion Tea
Dandelion root tea contains high levels of antioxidants. The antioxidants present in dandelion like vitamin c and luteolin (a type of flavonoid) help to keep the liver functioning and in top gear.
Dandelion also contains potassium which is known for restoring mineral balance in the kidneys as toxins are flushed out.
5. Practice Intermittent Fasting
Do you practice intermittent fasting?
If not an overnight fast is a safe and easy way to enjoy the benefits of this effectively “quiet” period the body has to activate it’s natural self-cleaning system.
Intermittent fasting is known to ignite cellular autophagy which is when cells break down proteins and non-essential components and reuse them for energy.
Cells also use autophagy to destroy invading viruses and bacteria and rid themselves of damaged structures.
6. Daily Body Movement
How do you like to get your body moving?
One of the most important detoxification methods is regular exercise.
Exercise accelerates the removal of toxins through our largest organ of elimination, the skin.
Like massage, exercise improves your circulation, helps your lymphatic tissue drain, and enables your body to eliminate toxins through sweat.
Combining cardiovascular and weight training also appears to raise the antioxidant - glutathione more than one type of exercise alone.
Moving your body encourages peristalsis in the gut. Peristalsis is a wave-like kind of muscle contraction that's purpose is to move solids or liquids through your digestive tract.
7. Detox Breathing
As a breathwork instructor I also recommend certain breathing techniques to enhance your body’s ability to eliminate toxins.
Detoxification is directly connected to the delivery of oxygen to your cells and the removal of carbon dioxide.
Your lungs are also responsible for filtering out fumes, molds, allergens, and airborne toxins.
You can naturally detox your lungs by simply breathing and exhaling deeply.
Sleeping soundly without sleep apnea or excessive snoring also promotes lung detox.
A regular breathing practice is therefore not just beneficial for stress reduction (and this provides support for your nervous system too), but also for removing toxins.
Getting out in nature or going to the beach to breathe in salt air will also help to clean your lungs further.
8. Minimise Environmental Toxins
Plastics, heavy metals, skin and beauty care products and household cleaners all contribute to toxic load.
Many of these chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors, interfering with normal metabolism and weight management.
Reducing exposure to these types of toxins puts less stress on your detoxification pathways, helping to prevent an overwhelmed liver.
Products applied to the skin go straight into your bloodstream without bypassing the liver, in the way toxins entering the gut would.
You can reduce your toxic load considerably by just cutting out harmful chemical skin products. Click here for my go to for healthy skin and beauty products.
9. Improve Vagal Tone
Your vagus nerve activates the branch of the autonomic nervous system called "parasympathetic".
Like digestion, detoxification is only turned on when you are in the parasympathetic state. As mentioned earlier - the nervous system is vital in supporting detoxification of body and mind.
In the stomach, strong vagal tone stimulates stomach acid, for optimal digestion.
In the intestines, strong vagal tone triggers peristalsis. These muscle contractions allow waste to move through the digestive tract.
In the pancreas, strong vagal tone triggers enzyme production and release for digestion to then break down food and absorb nutrients in the small intestine.
In the liver, strong vagal tone triggers detoxification and blood sugar functions.
In the gallbladder, strong vagal tone triggers the release of bile, which rids the body of toxins and breaks down fat.
I'm sure you've got the picture by now, as to how vital the vagus nerve is in detoxification. Exercise, massage, meditation and breathing techniques all support high vagal tone. For more ideas check out - Why the Vagus Nerve is so Important + 10 Ways to Strengthen Vagal Tone
10. Regular Bowel Movements
The obvious way to know if your gut is detoxing well or not, is by bowel movement frequency and the appearance of your stools.
Optimal elimination involves one daily bowel movement (at least) that consists of a smooth sausage appearance stool.
Sorry for the detail, but many people measure effective elimination by bowel movement frequency alone. When it’s actually also about the end-result!
In a nutshell stools that consist of a cluster or separate nuggets are a sign of slow motility (i.e. constipation), and loose or watery stools indicate fast motility (i.e. diarrhea).
Constipation means that something is preventing your body from detoxing, and diarrhea can be a sign of inflammation in the gut wall and lack of nutrient absorption.
Of course, there’s many things to consider when it comes to gut health.
This is why it’s best to work with a holistic nutritionist & functional medicine practitioner like myself to identify the root cause and go about restoring optimal gut function.
If you missed Part 1 this "Detox By Default" series, click on the link below.
Part 1: 10 Reasons to Adopt Daily Detox & Eating Lifestyle Practices
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