Spring clean your body with a detox

Friday 26th April 2013 by Charlotte Maxwell

The days are getting longer and hopefully we have seen the last of the frost – it finally feels like spring has arrived! So why not take put an extra spring in your step and shake off your winter skin by trying a mini springtime detox?

Although you can do a detox diet at any time, springtime has traditionally been regarded as the best time of the year and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that the body’s energies that come to the surface in spring make it easier for the body to release toxins. There is always debate in medical circles about the benefits of doing a detox. I know many doctors think the liver (the main organ of detoxification) is perfectly capable of ridding the body of toxins without any special support. I personally am not a fan of full-on detoxes and I think the liver is the most amazing organ that can deal with almost all the rubbish we throw at it. But I also believe that we can give it a bit of a helping hand every now and then, especially if you are feeling a bit sluggish or bloated. A springtime inner cleanse will also help our body’s to adjust to the changing season and if we are attuned to the rhythms of nature we will also feel a new surge of energy and awakening at this time. In nature, this is the time for sowing the seeds that will develop into our food for later in the year. In the same way, we can prepare our bodies for growth and development for the year ahead. But we don’t need to spend a fortune on commercially-packaged detox kits. All we really need to do is reduce the body’s exposure to nasty toxins and at the same time bump up our intake of liver-supporting nutrients to help the liver in its amazing work. Just follow these easy steps for a week or two and watch your energy levels surge, your skin glow and be filled with a sense of wellbeing: Reduce your toxic load as much as possible, by limiting your exposure to: o Processed food, deep fried foods, animal fat, alcohol, caffeine, o   Foods that commonly produce intolerances: dairy, wheat, sugar o   Avoid smoking or smoky environments o   Avoid non-essential pharmaceutical drugs o   Keep your house well ventilated, especially whilst using household cleaning materials Increase liver-supportive foods o   Proteins, especially eggs, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds o   Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnip, o   Beetroot o   Garlic and onions o   Lemon o   Soluble fibre, which binds to toxins and excess hormones to eliminate them from the body. Foods high in soluble fibre include apples, pears, sweet potatoes, beetroot, oats, flaxseeds. o   Foods high in anti-oxidants such as green tea, turmeric, ginger, bright coloured fruit and vegetables such as cherries, berries, beetroot, sweet potato, spinach and tomatoes.

Support your other organs of elimination, to take some of the pressure off the liver:

o   Support your skin by dry skin brushing, taking alternating hot and cold showers and avoiding hygiene and beauty products containing harmful chemicals. o   Support your Lungs by taking regular steam inhalations with essential oils of tea tree or thyme and taking time to breathe deeply several times daily, ideally outdoors in nature ·        Get plenty of sleep. Our bodies clear toxins throughout the night so try to get to bed by 10pm every night. ·        Drink plenty of water. Aim for at least 2 litres a day and to add variety, why not try some wonderfully cleansing teas like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, liquorice, fennel, mint, dandelion or nettle. A little warning: While detoxing, even in this gentle way, you may find yourself more tired than usual, more emotional and with transient headaches. Don’t panic, this is just the result of toxins being released. Simply drink more water, eat more green vegetables and take a nap Happy cleansing! Compiled by Sara Jubb at Naturopathy