If sleepless nights, stress, and rushed mealtimes are a regular part of your life, you’re probably used to not feeling your best. It’s hard to make time for self-care when it feels like you can never take a break. Scheduling a detox is a great way to take charge of your health, regain your energy, and feel more like yourself, but many of the quick-fix options available are disappointing. Your body knows how to detoxify naturally, but you can support—and speed along—the process with these essential rules for healthy cleansing.
Stick to a Colorful Diet
The brilliant hues of berries and leafy greens aren’t just pretty; they indicate the presence of important plant compounds called phytochemicals. This is where you’ll find all the antioxidants that are the keys to optimum health, like resveratrol, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, best known for their presence in red wine. There’s no single most important superfood to eat from this category, and a wide variety is best, since eating several different types of fruits and vegetables allows your body to benefit from the antioxidants and nutrients in each one.
Preparing a wide variety of produce can be a tall order, especially if you cook for an entire household. While you’re trying out new fruit and vegetable recipes, think about supplementing with a balanced greens powder to make sure your cleanse diet includes all the phytochemicals and vitamins you need.
Hydrate Your Way to Healthy
Drinking plenty of water has been the best way to get healthy skin from the inside out for years. But staying hydrated is vital for cleansing, too. Dehydration makes it harder for the liver and kidneys, your body’s detoxifying powerhouses, to pull toxins from the bloodstream and get them out of your system. Why? Both organs process toxins by turning them into water-soluble compounds that you can safely excrete without even noticing, but in the absence of whole-body hydration, neither one can neutralize unwanted substances.
Water also supports a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet by reducing the free-radical generating oxidative stress of intense exercise, so your body gets all the benefits it can from the nutrients you consume. Researchers have even found that drinking enough water can keep hunger pangs at bay, so you won’t be tempted to break your cleanse.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
For the best cleanse experience, you’ll need to detox your fridge and pantry, too. Many of the snack foods and convenience meals that populate the grocery store have heavy calorie counts and offer none of the nutrients that natural foods provide. Worse yet, most of them are packed with inflammatory ingredients that can contribute to numerous health issues over a lifetime. High-fructose corn syrup is a well-known offender, but ordinary added sugar is just as bad. Alcohol, processed meats, and refined carbohydrates are all considered inflammatory, too, and any serious detox should exclude them.
The most important part of detoxing your kitchen is getting rid of anything that could be considered ultra-processed food. In addition to containing plenty of inflammation-promoting ingredients, recent experimental research has demonstrated that people tend to eat more without realizing it when their diet includes heavily processed foods.
What to eat instead? Whole grains, lean protein, fish, beans, and fruits and vegetables are all good choices, as well as healthy supplements. Particularly if you have a sweet tooth, it’s common to be concerned about removing all the “fun” from your diet, but after a week or two of clean eating, your taste for sugar will start to recede. Better yet, you’ll have more energy, clearer skin, and even a clearer mind once you kick the sweet stuff for good.
Everyone wants more energy, less stress, and a healthy body! All of these results begin with your inner health, so they’re all in your control. By removing the inflammatory elements of your diet and replacing them with natural foods that support your body’s needs, you can help your body heal the toxic effects of stress, convenience foods, and sleep deprivation for good.