“Detox” is a buzzword in the health and wellness industry, from 3-day cleanses that a celebrity swears by to total diet makeover plans. Beauty regimes and powdered drinks promise to help you detox from the inside out.
If you haven’t “done a detox” then you probably know someone who has.
With all the focus on how to detox, we’ve lost sight of what we’re actually doing and why. What exactly are toxins, and why should we be concerned about them? And, more importantly, how can we incorporate detoxing in our daily lives and routines?
What is a toxin?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a toxin as “a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation.”
In other words, it’s a substance that impairs the normal functioning of our cells, tissues and organs.
How do toxins get in our body?
There are three main avenues that toxins to travel into our system:
- As a natural byproduct of normal bodily functions. Not all toxins come from pesticide-ridden fruit or smog. Toxins are created as a natural part of the digestive process. Anything that can’t be used or absorbed by the body is considered a toxin.
- Being ingested or absorbed from external sources – water, air, food, pharmaceuticals. This category is where we normally think of toxins, from smog to chemical preservatives in processed foods. Toxins are everywhere, from household cleaners to beauty products. (Check out these natural cleaning options.)
- Engaging chronic behaviors – think beyond the common culprits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol, and think about the late nights, skipped meals, extreme stress, and any other behavior that can throw your system out of whack.
How does the body detoxify itself?
The human body is pretty amazing at processing what we put into it. First, the circulatory system takes toxins to the lungs, where some are exhaled. The liver and the kidneys are detox powerhouses, filtering out impurities and toxins so they can be eliminated as waste. Finally, some toxins are released via sweat through the millions of sweat glands in the body.
Studies reveal that toxins like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates – which act as hormone disruptors in the body – are best excreted through sweat. (The scientific term is “preferentially excreted.”) We pick up BPA from plastics and phthalates are found in soaps, detergents and shampoos.
Do we even need to “detox”?
If the body can take care of toxins itself, why is there all this talk about detoxing?
Have you ever seen the famous I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel are working in a chocolate factory? They’re supposed to take chocolates off a conveyor belt, wrap them in a wrapper and put them back on the conveyor belt. At first, it’s easy work. Soon, the conveyor speeds up and Lucy is wildly grabbing chocolates, shoving them in her mouth … it’s a classic.
The body is sort of like that. It’s programmed to process toxins. But, when we send in too many the body can reach its limits, and it sort of sets the toxins off to the side to get to later. Those leftover toxins can accumulate and affect the body in negative ways like allergies, headaches, low energy, depression, digestive problems and skin issues—and sometimes more serious chronic diseases.
What are some simple ways to detoxify?
Think about detoxing as supporting the body to process toxins more effectively, as opposed to a “one and done” clear out. Like clearing out clutter from our homes, it’s an ongoing process and there are simple things we can do every day and make a part of our monthly routines for a little extra support.
1. Drink more water. Since the kidneys are a detoxifying factory, keep them working at optimum efficiency by giving them enough water to do their job. (For an extra boost, add the juice of a lemon or a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day.)
Experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces plus one ounce of water for every ounce of non-water beverage. So, if a 150-pound woman drinks 6 oz. of wine and 12 oz. coffee in a day, her water goal would be 93 oz. (75 + 6 + 12). (Tip: a calibrated water bottle makes it easy to keep track of your water consumption.)
2. Work up a sweat. Enjoy a sauna (try our Infrared Sauna!) or a hot bath. As a bonus, you’ll de-stress at the same time.
3. Try an ionic detox foot bath. The soles of our feet are packed with a total of 250,000 sweat glands! The ionic foot bath helps to draw out toxins through ionized salt water. It can even help neutralize the pH in the body. Plus, it’s relaxing and invigorating! (Call us at 909-480-1711 to schedule your foot bath.)
4. Tweak your diet. Make some simple switch-ups in your diet to support your liver and kidneys do their thing. Eat more raw fruit, veggies and herbs. Drink some green tea. Add a probiotic to help with digestion.
5. Detox your daily choices. From that extra cup of coffee to thinking “just one more episode” of binge watching past your bedtime, every day choices can add unnecessary strain on our system.
Healthier choices leads to everyday detoxing—eliminating the need for detox fads and helping you feel more alive … naturally!