If you’re one for New Year’s resolutions, looking to break old habits, or create new ones, this is a great time of year to do so. Maybe its because we’ve had some down time with friends and family, or maybe there is more to it, but there is a certain energy at the beginning of the year that drives us to make changes.
The New Year is a great time to get back into a healthier routine and to give our bodies a break after overindulging over the holidays.
When people hear the word detox, often it brings up imagery of fasting or juice cleanses, which can seem a little extreme. A detox doesn’t need to be that hard and can be as simple as cutting down or removing processed foods and treats for a week or so.
Here are some ways in which you can help your liver to detoxify after the holidays:
- Drink more water – water makes up about 60% of our bodies. The body needs water to eliminate toxins. If you are experiencing symptoms such as headaches, constipation, acne, fatigue, lack of focus, take a look at your water intake. We need more during the summer and especially when exercising. Start by adding an extra glass to your daily consumption, but ideally the average adult should be aiming for 2 litres a day (some of which can be provided from fruit and vegetables).
- Dry skin brushing – our skin is the body’s biggest organ of elimination. Dry skin brushing helps the body detoxify by increasing blood circulation and stimulating the lymph system. For optimal benefits do this before a shower and end the shower with a blast of cold water. This will further stimulate good circulation, aiding elimination. We would recommend that you use a natural bristled brush as part of this routine. Starting at the feet, brush from the bottoms of the feet, up the legs in long sweeping movements. Repeat this several times per area, working up the body, always sweeping towards the heart (as this is follows the lymphatic pathways). Brush in a circular clockwise direction on the stomach and avoid sensitive areas such as the chest and face – you can use a softer brush for the face.
- Increase your fibre intake – fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and are an essential part of a detox. Soluble fibre (e.g. psyllium, apples, citrus fruit, carrots, oats & barley), helps reduce sugar cravings and maintain blood glucose control. Insoluble fibre (e.g. nuts, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans) helps to maintain a regular bowel movement, which is essential for removing toxins from the body.
- Eat the rainbow – support your body to detoxify and to be its healthiest by eating colourful fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provides your body with a wider variety of vitamins and minerals, improving your nutrient intake. The colours of your fruits and vegetables give you an indication of the nutrients you are consuming.
- Breathing – deep breathing exercises have a host of health benefits including reduced stress and maintaining lung health. Our lungs are another crucial part of toxin elimination, breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide (a waste product from the cells in our body). Take a moment during the day to take 3 deep breaths of even measure (e.g. breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds and breathe out for 3 seconds). It is also a great bedtime habit to help your body relax – put your legs up against the wall, place a hand on your abdomen and chest and breathe into and out of your abdomen in even measure.