A couple of days ago, I was at my dentist’s clinic. Just as he was about to get going with the dreaded drill, there was a power outage. It was a good thing it went when it did. We had to wait a little for the generator to kick in and to pass the time, started talking. Somehow the topic turned to health spas and their ads for natural ways to detox. And these days, every where we look, there’s some product or other that claims to remove toxins from the body and help one stay healthy.
The discussion turned to the methods touted by some of the natural healers which involved fasting, liquid diets and herbal medicine. Then we had a good laugh when he said that most of these approaches had no solid research based evidence to show that they were effective. In fact, some of the products recommended also have unpleasant side effects. Unfortunately, some herbal products do not need regulatory approval. So, what can one do?
The good news however, is our body is quite the champ when it comes to natural ways to detox. Even better is the fact that there are simple ways we can make it easier for our body to do its job. For free, because natural is best. No need to go to an expensive spa.
6 Natural ways to detox
I was surprised to see this tip. But then it makes sense, doesn’t it? Exfoliating the skin is the fastest and easiest way to get rid of dead skin. This in turn helps better circulation and the growth of new skin cells. The result? You glow, naturally. If you are a fan of eco-living here are some cool recipes for making your own exfoliating skin cleansers from my friend Pratibha Pal.
Another easy recipe I use is mixing chickpea flour in curd with a pinch of turmeric into the consistency of a thick paste and scrubbing it on my skin. In fact, exfoliating your whole body is recommended. For those of us who are too lazy to go through the motions of cosmetics, here’s an easy trick. Use a loofah when you bathe and scrub your body in circular motion all over. This opens up your pores and says goodbye to dead skin cells.
I know this is a fundamental requirement to stay alive, but you’d be surprised how you can learn to breathe properly. If you catch yourself holding your breath, or sometimes take in short shallow breaths, you must practice breathing slowly, rhythmically to bring down your stress levels. Call it conscious breathing. And feed your body more oxygen to help it function efficiently and do its job.
The best way to put this in action, for me, is first thing in the morning. I snooze my alarm once. Between that ring and the next, when I am happy to get out of bed, I take slow deep breaths. Tummy breathing here, people. Not chest. Watch your tummy rise and fall as you breathe in, hold it for five seconds and and breathe out slowly. I do this for about five minutes and just lie in the remaining ten, mulling over the day’s to-dos. Try it. It will change your life.
Yes. For some of us, this is right out of our comfort zone. We already know that stretching helps the body and mind. If you are into yoga, even better. Together, stretching and yoga relieve stress and maintain muscle elasticity, facilitating blood flow and keeping your circulation as it should be. Stretching at least twice or thrice a week is good. Here are some easy stretching exercises – 15 minute workout for your abs. Lots of good exercise routines online. But if you have any health issues check with your doc to find out what’s safe for you.
Not over the small stuff. But good clean sweat. The talk of sweating makes us wrinkle our noses, but it is great for the body as one of the natural ways to detox. So work up a clean sweat. You can do this with aerobics. Or like me, vigorous cleaning house. Or going on a really brisk walk. Or climbing several flights of stairs – which takes care of your cardio exercise, too. As we sweat, the body gets rid of stored fluid, so make sure you drink enough water to make up for the loss. Practice working up to a sweat for a week and drink enough water to see noticeable results in the form of fresher skin, lower stress levels and better sleep!
Minimize pain killers
If you have the habit of depending on painkillers, step back a little and think about this – most painkillers, even Tylenol (or paracetamol as we know it) cause liver damage. Our liver has the job of filtering toxins from the blood. We can prevent it from having to work overtime and be kind to our bodies at the same time by thinking twice before popping that painkiller.
Boost digestion with fiber and water
To keep our bodies functioning efficiently, fiber and water are vital ingredients. Both perform the role of cleansing our colon effectively. Getting adequate fiber is critical as it keeps the digestive system healthy. Besides filtering out toxins, water keeps us hydrated and ensures that our skin is supple and healthy, and the joints working smoothly. To get water and fiber working for us, the standard recommendation is 30 grams of fiber per day (salads, vegetables, whole grains) and about eight glasses of water. Water is a champ, really.
I follow all the above tips and feel the difference. They’re easy and well within my control. And oh, tip no.7 – I smile a lot. That helps too!
How do you detox? Do you have any tips for natural ways to detox?