Your body needs a detox. Here’s a guide on how to do it.
Detoxing is like a spring cleaning; it removes all the unwanted substances from your body. These include heavy metals picked up from our environment, various toxins, and metabolic waste.
Although we have built-in detoxification mechanisms such as the liver and kidneys, the amount of toxic substances we are exposed to now is a lot higher than when these processes evolved.
Back when we were living on the savanna or in the jungles we weren’t exposed to pollution, pesticides, or heavy metals. Toxins can be found everywhere, from non-stick cookware to the fire retardants put in mattresses.
Signs your body needs a detox
Do you experience any of the following?
- brain fog
- gut distress
- general aches and pains
- anxiety and/or depression symptoms
If you said yes to any of these, it might be a sign that something is off in your body.
The following are methods I have found effective for my week-long, once a month, detoxes in my personal order of priority.
Switch to decaf
Caffeine mimics adenosine, the neurotransmitter in the brain that makes us feel tired. Caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, therefore blocking the adenosine from binding to the receptors, which is how caffeine works to make us feel awake.
However, continued caffeine use causes our brain to create more receptors, which is why it takes more and more amounts of caffeine to achieve the same buzz.
This also means that when we don’t have caffeine, or when the caffeine runs its course, there are a lot of receptors for the fatigue-inducing adenosine to bind to and we experience a huge crash in energy.
I love coffee, so I’m not willing to give it up altogether. People talk all the time about quitting caffeine, and I’m sure there are amazing benefits to this. But coffee and tea also have amazing health benefits and research has consistently linked coffee consumption to increased longevity. It tastes good, and I like the focus and energy it gives me. But you need to be aware of what it does to your body.
A one week detox from caffeine will allow your brain to get rid of some of the adenosine receptors in your brain, by the use it or lose it mechanism.
I never used to fast, and all the times I tried it I could feel my sympathetic nervous system being stimulated. My body was stressed, and I didn’t react well to it. But over time I have slowly (and accidentally) pushed my breakfast time further and further back. I just find I have more time in the morning to do deep work if I don’t eat. And now I feel great not eating for 14–16 hours, and barely think about it.
For some people, fasting is stressful on the body. I don’t recommend fasting if you’ve had a bad sleep, have a stressful day ahead, or are feeling particularly hungry. You don’t want to stress your body more. Eat if you’re hungry.
But going for extended periods of time without food gives the digestive system a break, and induces cellular autophagy. This is essentially a cleaning out process where the body gets rid of old cells and cellular waste products.
Similarly, during the day take breaks from eating. Try not to snack between meals. It will have benefits for your gut as well as your circadian rhythm:
“By giving your body a break from food for five or six hours, you are allowing your digestive track to rest and reset its circadian rhythm. This is an important step in healing the brain-gut axis.” – Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar
There are two sources of fuel that the body can use: glucose and ketones. Glucose is produced from carbohydrates (and your body can also make a small amount of glucose from breaking down protein). Ketones come from fatty acids metabolized by the liver. Your body won’t generally produce ketones unless there is no glucose available, such as in a carb-free or ketogenic diet.
Humans have evolved to go through stages of carbohydrate restriction. Back in our hunter-gatherer days, there were often periods of time when there were very minimal if any, sources of carbohydrate. Some populations did and still do live most of their lives in ketosis (the state of your body producing ketones).
For example, the Inuit people of northern North America often don’t have access to fruits and vegetables due to the climate and rely on meat for energy. This creates an almost constant state of ketosis.
Ketones are beneficial in numerous ways. Ketones have a natural anti-inflammatory effect, and the metabolism of ketones doesn’t produce free radicals as glucose metabolism does.
In fact, ketones are the preferred fuel source of the brain and can increase cognitive abilities, as well as focus and concentration. I like to utilize this little hack when I am studying for exams, and have found dramatic improvements in grades. Ketones increase antioxidants and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
A keto diet also mimics being in a fasted state, so combining this with the intermittent fasting mentioned above creates potent autophagy effects. Ketones will also help improve gut lining integrity, an important mechanism for reducing symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, and anxiety.
As a side note, it’s also important during this period to eat clean. Going keto will eliminate refined sugars and substances like gluten and a lot of dairy, but make sure you are also not ingesting vegetable oils or any other fake foods. Eat foods as they come in nature. This will produce huge results.
Eat detoxifying substances
Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria that is known as an accumulator; essentially, it will bind to any heavy metals in your body, thus reducing the levels of these metals in your tissue.
Other things you can include in your diet this week include dandelion extract, ginseng, and zinc. These substances have also been shown to reduce the levels of heavy metals and toxins in our body. Milk thistle extract helps with the growth of liver cells, and also fights oxidative stress. It is also high in antioxidants. Broccoli, lemon, garlic, and turmeric also aid the digestive system and liver detox processes. Try to include as many of these foods as you can during this week.
Drink bone broth
Bone broth is incredibly nutrient-dense, and also adheres to the ketogenic diet. It’s full of collagen, a crucial component of muscle as well as being the most abundant protein in your body. Furthermore, as with ketones, bone broth improves the integrity of the gut lining, an important aspect of improving symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog.
But usually I make my own bone broth. It is a whole lot cheaper than buying it, and you know the ingredients are of good quality. Put the following into a slow cooker and simmer on the low heat setting for 24–36 hours:
- Grass-fed bones (usually I use leftover bones from pork roasts or lamb chops). It’s recommended that you bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes first to improve flavor.
- Filtered water (enough to cover everything).
- Apple cider vinegar to help extract the nutrients from the bones (about 2 tablespoons).
- Garlic and other herbs for flavor.
- I also like to add ginger and turmeric for extra potent brain health benefits.
This is an Ayurvedic technique I have recently been experimenting with. It’s not as awful as I expected but I also wouldn’t say that it’s pleasant. Essentially, oil pulling is when you put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, usually organic coconut oil, and swish it around for 10–15 minutes before spitting it out (not down the drain as the oil will clog it).
What this does is remove the fat-soluble toxins and bacteria from your mouth. This not only helps to clean your teeth and gums for overall improved oral health but has also been shown to help with inflammation in the body. You do this on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning.
Saunas are especially beneficial for detoxing the body, but it can be a pain trying to get to the nearest public pool to use their sauna. If you have access to a sauna or hot tub, utilize it regularly. I just have an extra hot bath (for added benefits add Epsom salts). As long as it is hot enough to get you sweating, it will work. Sweating removes toxins from your body.
I always thought this was a crazy and odd thing to do. But there are so many benefits to jumping on a mini trampoline, especially first thing in the morning. It gets your heart rate up and burns more calories than running, and also stimulates your lymph system by increasing lymph flow and drainage (7). This will improve immunity, improve fitness levels, as well as increasing blood flow and boosting circulation. Here is a list of 197 other benefits of rebounding.
Detoxing your body is an important part of staying healthy. It improves your gut, your brain, and removes toxins and metabolic waste from your body. This will lead to greater feelings of wellbeing and a decrease in symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and anxiety.
A week-long detox should include as many of the following as possible:
- Avoid caffeine
- Fast intermittently
- Avoid carbohydrates
- Eat detoxifying substances such as spirulina and milk thistle
- Drink bone broth
- Try oil pulling
- Expose your body to high levels of heat
- Jump on a mini-trampoline
Source : Medium