Natural Detox Guide

January 12, 2018

By Carla Yaldezian-Estrada MS, RD, Registered Dietitian, – CareerSmart® Learning Contributor


The human body is a self-healing and self-cleansing organism. When we remove toxins and add what is lacking, our bodies bounce back into health as if by magic. Despite the new trend of detoxification, it is not at all a new tenant of natural health. Detoxification methods of healing date back thousands of years. Detoxing is a natural, common sense medicine, enabling the body to heal, regenerate and even rejuvenate itself. Detoxification by definition is the physiological removal of toxic substances from within your body. Your lymph and circulatory systems detoxify your individual cells, while your liver, kidneys, and intestines mainly carry out detoxification on a broader scale. Other organs such as your lungs and skin also play a part in excreting toxins from your body. With this in mind, there are two fundamental practices to follow when attempting to rid the body of toxins: detoxification cleansing and eating real, whole foods – just as nature intended food to be. Detoxing and cleansing is important to include as an ongoing practice to improve and sustain overall health. 

Detoxification Cleansing. The processes of digestion, absorption, and assimilation are completed approximately eight hours after eating our last meal. The body then enters into detoxification mode. A healthy body, use to eating natural foods, needs around four hours to cleanse and detoxify itself from all the waste products of normal metabolism. Many of us who follow a Standard American Diet or SAD (literally), routinely expose our bodies to foods that promote toxins, therefore requiring additional attention to detoxing and cleansing practices. Several bodies of research support the daily practice of intermediate fasting or the practice of abstaining from food for a minimum of twelve hours after your last meal (i.e if your last meal was at 7 p.m., don’t eat anything until 7 a.m. the following day). Additional research shows remarkable healing capabilities when fasting for extended periods of time, such as one to three days (drinking purified water is a must). Extended fasts are recommended to practice a couple times a year to even on a monthly basis. Fasting allows the body to literally break down damaged cells and tissues and rebuild healthy ones. This enables the body’s metabolism to run more efficiently, speeding up our digestion and fat-burning processes, and providing a renewed sense of energy and purity. Benefits from fasting have been seen widespread from individuals with autoimmune diseases, arthritis, joint pain to obesity, diabetes, liver and kidney disease.

Eating Real, Whole Foods. Practicing regular fasts are pointless if the body is continued to be inundated with foods that promote toxins and waste byproducts. Adding foods that help support natural detox pathways such as whole fruits, vegetables, natural spices and seasonings, prevents feelings of bloating, fatigue, joint pain and inability to lose weight. Here is a list of the top detoxing foods: Dark Leafy Greens: kale, collard greens, arugula and spinach (to name a few) are full of minerals, including ironcalcium, potassium, and magnesium, and vitamins, including some B vitamins as well as vitamins K, C, E which are minerals needed in detoxification pathways. They are full of fiber, which makes them slow to digest and good for detoxifying your bowels. Green Apples: The soluble fiber in the pectin helps remove cholesterol and toxins from your blood, while the malic acid is a cleansing nutrient that removes carcinogens and toxins from your blood. Beets: This blood-cleansing and purifying food is high in fiber which helps to prevent reabsorption of wastes and assists your body in eliminating toxins in liver. Broccoli Sprouts: broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which detoxifies the body of carcinogens, like cancer cells, before they actually cause harm to the body. Ginger: This anti-inflammatory agent stimulates digestion, circulation, and sweating, which are your body’s three main avenues of natural detoxification. Ginger also rids your body of the build-up of waste and toxins in the colon, liver, and other organs. Tumeric or Curcumin: This golden spice is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent reducing pain associated with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps your liver process metabolic waste and toxins by stimulating your gallbladder to release bile, which in turn improves liver function. Chlorella: This fresh water algae is one of the most nutrient dense “superfoods” for supporting your immune system by providing phytonutrients, amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium and B vitamins. Spirulina: This blue-algae’s driving engine is a compound called phycocyanine, which has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore inhibiting cell oxidative damage. This damage contributes to chronic inflammation, cancer and autoimmunity in general. Water: drinking ten plus cups of purified water daily is needed to push toxins and waste out and cleanse the blood, tissues and organs.

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