We all know that the best ways to take care of your body is through diet and exercise, but are there any additional steps to maintain your health?
Over time, poor diet, inactivity and stress can lead to clogged organs and thick fluid. That’s why it’s important to detoxify your body at least once a year to reset your system.
Here are the most important systems and organs to detox and how to do it.
The liver detoxifies the blood and gets rid of rid alcohol and drugs. It also stores vitamins and iron and regulates cholesterol, hormone and energy (1, 2).
When the organ is overwhelmed by excess consumption of fatty foods and alcohol or regular prescription use, it cannot perform its tasks. This means that the blood cannot be efficiently filtered.
To clear the liver, avoid high sugar, high fat or high alcohol food and eat more liver-healthy foods like ginger, cumin, cayenne, lemon, tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, green tea and cruciferous vegetables.
You can detox your liver in as little as 3 days with this diet.
When your body is overloaded with toxins, bile released in the gallbladder from the liver can become too concentrated. This can clog the organ and ultimately result in gallstones and pain.
Gallstones typically occur in patients with high cholesterol, high fat diets. They can also be caused by skipping meals, losing weight too quickly or not eating enough fiber (3).
The organ responds well to daily peppermint and milk thistle ingestion but the most important thing is to stay hydrated, eat lots of insoluble fiber and avoid high-fat foods (4).
Blood is one the most important fluids in your body as it transports oxygen and nutrients to body tissue and collects its waste for processing.
Factors like age and poor diet can make arteries less flexible and full of plaque, putting stress on the heart and limiting blood circulation (5).
Dehydration also makes blood more sticky and harder to move throughout the body (6).
Some prescription medication, on the other hand, increases your change of developing blood clots, which clog arteries and cause heart attack, stroke and even death (7).
When the liver and kidneys aren’t working properly, blood begins to get overloaded with toxins and circulates them to your major organs.
That’s why it’s important to eat antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, dark leafy vegetables, beets, lemons and garlic.
You can also try holistic treatments like the blood-purifying diuretic Burdock root or the expectorant and circulation-booting red clover (8,9).
Lymph is the protein and fat-rich fluid that flows through the lymphatic system. Lymph carries vital white blood cells that fight off infection (10).
Lymph doesn’t have a heart-like structure to keep it moving so the main reason it gets congested is inactivity. It can also circulate more slowly if you eat lots of processed foods or simply don’t drink enough water.
The easiest easy to keep it moving is to perform cardio and aerobic exercises daily, and to get frequent lymph massages or practice dry brushing (11).
The pancreas is the organ in charge of producing and releasing insulin, the hormone which regulates glucose metabolism. In doing so, it prevents your blood sugar from getting too high (12).
When fat clogs up the pancreas, it can no longer produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. This one of the main causes of diabetes (13).
In that respect, losing just a single gram of fat in your pancreas is enough to reverse type 2 diabetes.
Inflammation can also hinder the pancreas’ ability to function properly, so make an effort to include more anti-inflammatory foods like pineapple, lemon and turmeric into your daily diet (14).
A lot of food goes through the intestines every day, some of it less healthy than others.
It’s believed that some food sticks onto the intestines or cause mucus build-up. Both can lead to inflammation and toxin build-up which enters the bloodstream (15).
This can cause low energy, fatigue, headache and weight gain (16). Constipation, a condition in which stool is backed up in the intestines, can cause devastating effects on the nervous system.
Many alternative health practitioners suggest colon cleansing to detox your body, although this process may cause abdominal cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting (17).
Instead, you should drink plenty of water and consume lots of fiber, probiotics and magnesium to avoid constipation.
It’s also a good idea to drink tea made of a tablespoon of ginger and a teaspoon each of cayenne and fennel tea every morning to fight inflammation, oxidative stress, ulcers, flatulence and gastritis (18,19,20).
Kidneys remove waste products and help to balance the body’s minerals, regulate hydration and produce hormones. Like the liver, these organs filter blood (21).
Fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium, such as grapes, sweet lime, oranges, cantaloupes, bananas, kiwis, apricots, dandelion root and prunes, aid in cleansing the kidneys.
Cranberries, which are commonly used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, contain a nutrient called quinine which converts itself into hippuric acid. This clears the excess buildup of urea and uric acid in the kidneys to prevent kidney stones (22).
As you go through the detoxification process, just make sure that you also take the time to detoxify your mind. Stress, anxiety and negative emotions can all lead to hormonal imbalance, chronic inflammation and excessive free radical production.