Spring Cleaning For Your Body - KEY STEPS TO DETOXIFICATION
Brought to you from The NEEDS Wellness Team
Spring is here and we are cleaning our houses, yards and cars. What better time than this to sweep out the junk from our bodies, as well? Having a clean body may allow us to have more energy, less aches and pains, feel less depressed or anxious, fight infections effectively, lose weight, as well as benefit from healthier skin.
Every minute, we are exposed to toxins, from within our bodies and from the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.
Sources of toxins from the environment are endless. The air we breathe contains pollution from cars and factories. The foods we eat contain pesticide and herbicide residues, in addition to microorganisms. They may have toxic levels of metals or plastics from cooking food in aluminum and storing it in plastic. The water we drink and bathe in has chlorine, fluorine, and other toxic chemicals.
Ideally, our bodies have the ability to process and eliminate many of the toxins we absorb. Unfortunately, through inadequate nutrition, circulation, or an overload of toxins, our bodies store whatever toxins it cannot expel.
However, we can clean and purify our bodies and minds. The process is called "detoxification." This is accomplished by supporting and stimulating the organs of elimination: the liver, the stomach and intestines, the kidneys, the lungs, and the skin. Doing so will cleanse the blood and allow tissues and cells in the periphery to detoxify so that they can work the way they were intended.
STEP 1: LIBERATE TOXINS.
Eat a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables and drink rice protein shakes to allow your body to release toxins. Eat as much of these as you would like. It is generally safe to do this for a week.*
STEP 2: PROTECT TISSUES.
Toxins being released from t he fatty stores of the body have the ability to inflict damage on unprotected tissues until the liver or kidneys process them. Antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid, and citrus bioflavonoids are excellent in preventing tissue damage and side-effects from detoxification.
STEP 3: OPTIMIZE AND STIMULATE LIVER FUNCTION.
The liver manufactures bile which is one of the substances necessary to process fats in the intestines. The liver is also responsible for sorting the good and bad components in the blood. It processes and places the toxins into the bile.
We can stimulate the processing function of the liver by eating foods which have molecules the liver needs, such as garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), beets, and dark green leafy vegetables. We can also supplement with methionine, taurine, glycine, inositol, and N-Acetyl-LCysteine (NAC).
We can stimulate the excretion of the bile using dandelion root, milk thistle, turmeric and lecithin.
STEP 4: OPTIMIZE THE FUNCTIONING OF THE INTESTINES.
Our intestines are responsible for eliminating the by-products of food digestion and the toxins contained in the bile, which is produced by the liver and excreted into the intestines. We need to have regular, frequent bowel movements and keep the intestines free from disease-causing and toxin-producing bacteria or fungus. This can be accomplished by eating a diet high in fiber, drinking plenty of water and possibly stimulating the movement of the bowels with herbal or nutritional products, such as cascara, magnesium oxide, or high doses of vitamin C. The bad bacteria or yeast can be dealt with using antimicrobial herbs, such as Pau d'Arco or capryllic acid for fungal infections, and goldenseal, wormwood, or papain for bacterial or parasitic infections. Good bacteria, such as acidophilus and bifidus, are needed to repopulate the intestines in order to displace the bad bacteria or fungus and to prevent them from gaining a foothold later. The toxins in the bile can be bound and excreted by eating a diet high in both soluble and insoluble fibers, including a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. Additional binding material may be added to intensive detoxification programs by supplementing psyllium seed husks and bentonite clay.
STEP 5: OPTIMIZE KIDNEY FUNCTIONING.
Most of us don't consume enough water in a day for proper elimination by the kidneys. In addition, we drink coffee, soda, and other caffeine-containing beverages, which cause our bodies to dehydrate. Drink only water (either filtered or spring) and non-caffeinated herbal teas during your detoxification period. Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Additional stimulation for the kidneys can be incorporated by a cool-water spray to your lower back at the end of your shower.
STEP 6: STIMULATE EXCRETION OF BLOOD GASES THROUGH THE LUNGS.
Regular periods of deep breathing throughout the day will stimulate the exchange of gases in your blood stream. Place one hand over your abdomen and the other hand over your chest. Inhale slowly and deeply into your abdomen, making sure your hand on your chest does not move and the one on your abdomen is moving. Do this at least twenty minutes each day during your detoxification program.
STEP 7: STIMULATE LYMPH FLOW.
Lymph is the portion of our blood that is separated from blood cells and proteins as it crosses through the blood vessels and capillaries into the tissues, bringing them nutrients and removing toxins. Lymph makes its way out of the tissues and back into the blood stream by being reabsorbed back across the blood vessels and capillaries, and going into "lymph vessels," which are lined by the filtering lymph nodes, and eventually dumping into the blood vessels at a point in the chest. Lymph requires movement of the body for its movement through the lymph vessels. Regular, low-impact exercise is an important way to stimulate the flow of lymph. Dry skin brushing also stimulates the movement of lymph, in addition to removing dead cells and toxins that have come through the skin. Use a dry, natural sponge, such as a lufa, and start at the tips of the fingers and toes and make small, short, light strokes toward your heart.
STEP 8: CALM YOUR MIND.
Hormones produced during stress have been shown to decrease immune system functioning and also impair the detoxification mechanisms of the body. It is important to take at least 30 minutes per day for yourself in order to relax your mind. This time can be spent doing your deep breathing, meditating, listening to relaxing music, doing healing visualizations or mantras, etc. The point is—relax and become aware of your body and mind!
*NOTE: Consult your healthcare provider if you have any medical conditions or cannot afford to lose any weight before attempting a detoxification program.