We live in a toxic world. Each year, more than 5 billion pounds of pollutants are released into the environment in which we breathe, eat and live. Moreover, lifestyles that include unhealthy foods, inadequate exercise and sleep and financial woes lead to stress hormones that can wreak havoc on our bodies and digestive systems.
If you feel lethargic, experience brain fog, gain weight or have trouble sleeping, your body might need a reboot. This can be accomplished by undergoing a cleanse.
Our body has a natural ability to rid itself of toxins. Unfortunately, technological advancements have led to such harmful substances as artificial food ingredients, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides and more constantly bombarding us and adversely affecting our health. Since our body can no longer cope with the variety of toxins we encounter daily, it’s a good idea to detoxify or cleanse once or twice a year to prevent the buildup of harmful substances.
Five essential organs are involved in cleansing:
- Skin: With a total area of about 20 square feet, the skin is the largest organ in our body. It’s especially susceptible to toxin exposure through products we use — including cosmetics, household cleaners and toiletries — that contain harmful ingredients and get absorbed into the bloodstream.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid putting anything on your skin that wouldn’t be safe to eat. You can also try dry skin brushing to remove dead skin cells from the surface and stimulate the lymphatic system, which works as a drainage system in your body that removes excess fluid and toxins. Exercise allows your body to get rid of toxins by sweating them out.
- Lungs: Toxins also can be inhaled — especially if you’re a smoker or live in heavily polluted areas. Your lungs are responsible for filtering out carbon dioxide, fumes, mold and other airborne toxins. Also beware of overloading with fragrances and essential oils. Installing an air purifier in your home constitutes a good investment. Your whole family will enjoy air free from allergens, microorganisms and other contaminants. You can also use plants to filter indoor air and minimize toxins. After ensuring the air you’re breathing is clean, exercise or yoga can open up your lungs and boost their cleansing function.
- Kidneys: The kidneys filter blood and release toxins through urination. The best way to ensure kidney function is to maintain proper hydration. Average water intake for a healthy adult living in a temperate climate should be 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women. Several plants act as a diuretic, which means they increase urine production. Some of these plants include alfalfa, dandelion, juniper and parsley. Taking supplements that contain these ingredients can help your kidneys flush out toxins.
- Colon: The digestive system, also known as the gut or gastrointestinal tract, affects our overall health. Leaky gut, a condition in which bacteria and toxins penetrate the intestinal wall, has been linked to celiac and Crohn’s disease, food allergies and irritable bowel syndrome. The colon, or large intestine, is quite literally a huge part of the digestive system. It reabsorbs water from digested food and turns what’s left into stool, which is then released by a bowel movement. A cleanse that involves the colon, using either a fiber-heavy diet or gentle laxative, can unburden your system and even enhance your immune system.
- Liver: The liver is the most important cleansing organ as it detoxifies blood, produces bile to digest fat, breaks down hormones and extracts essential vitamins and minerals the body needs. The liver also produces some of the major substances necessary to keep your immune system working smoothly. Keeping your liver healthy is critical in any cleanse. Milk thistle and dandelion in tea or supplement form can boost liver function and aid in the cleansing process. In fact, milk thistle has been known to stimulate cell regeneration and trigger the formation of glutathione, giving it the potential to reverse liver damage.
A good cleanse should:
Minimize toxins that go into your body and make your body more efficient in getting rid of them.
Heal your gut. Gut microflora imbalance and a leaky gut constitute some of the greatest sources of inflammation in the body.
Supply you with sufficient macro and micronutrients to fuel your body.
Allow you to maintain a diet and lifestyle to keep you healthy even after the cleanse.
Improve energy and focus.
Enhance mood and improve sleep.
Support detox and healthy digestion.
Jump-start weight loss and reduce cravings