The Doable Detox
DURING YOUR DETOX
Now that you’ve prepped your body, you’re ready to detox. Most experts recommend that a detox diet last a minimum of one week, and to get the most benefit, up to three weeks. “You need three weeks to eliminate all the toxins and re-educate yourself to have a healthy relationship with food,” says Saunders. Here, expert-approved guidelines:
Think fresh, whole, organic foods
Eat plenty of vegetables (choose sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes), fresh fruits, nongluten grains, beans, legumes, small amounts of nuts, seeds, nut butters, lean, organic poultry and wild fish.
In addition to drinking lots of filtered water, reach for fresh, organic vegetable juice and herbal teas. Good news for caffeine addicts: Small amounts of green and white tea are OK. “The catechins in green tea increase the production of enzymes that help the liver detoxify chemicals,” says Wong.
Steer clear of caffeine, alcohol, soda, red meat, sugar, flour, processed and refined foods and anything artificial. Also, avoid wheat and anything with gluten, dairy, soy and eggs. These are common food allergens, and if you’re even slightly intolerant, it’ll make your system work harder to digest them—the opposite of what you want to do during a detox.
Move your body
If you have the energy, a little aerobic exercise increases circulation and gets the lymph moving. Try to do some gentle yoga or easy walking for at least one-half hour.
Give yourself the brush-off
Brushing your skin daily (with a natural-bristle brush) stimulates the circulation of blood in the tiny blood vessels that are within body tissues, helping to flush them out. “Only brush dry skin— before a shower is ideal—and always brush toward your heart,” says Egenberger.
Turn hot and cold
Showering removes toxins from your skin and opens pores for further elimination, says Haas. To boost circulation, get the water as hot as you can stand for three minutes, followed by as cold as you can stand for 30 seconds. Repeat this three times, then dry off quickly, says Tobin.
Sweat it out
“Sweating in a sauna or steam room even a few times a week can help promote the release of chemicals,” Egenberger says. But, she cautions, it’s critical to slowly increase the time you spend in a sauna, get out if you feel dizzy and replace electrolytes right after you come out (coconut juice is great for this).
Relaxation doesn’t just give you a break, it gives your liver one, too. “Stress has a physiological effect,” says Tobin. “Our emotions and thoughts get turned into biochemical reactions. Mindfulness meditation and journaling are not only relaxing, they help you get in tune with the signals that your body gives you.”
Snag extra shut-eye
“Getting adequate rest is especially important when you’re trying to rid your body of toxins,” says Saunders. Try to get at least eight hours a night to give your body time to heal and recharge.
Choose smart supplements
When detoxing, supplementing with certain nutrients and minerals is important:
FIBER “Even though the liver has packaged the toxins up for elimination, the body still wants to recycle them,” says Tobin. “Fiber helps to escort that package out before it gets reabsorbed.” Add one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseed to a smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal or soup.
PROBIOTICS “Probiotics help strengthen the intestinal wall,” says Wong. “If that barrier isn’t working, it allows toxins to get into the bloodstream. They’re then sent back to the liver, adding to its burden.” Bastyr nutritionist Babb recommends Metagenics UltraFlora Plus DF, because it’s dairy-free. She suggests taking one capsule twice a day.
MILK THISTLE “A compound called silymarin in the seeds of milk thistle enhances detoxification and increases the synthesis of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant,” says Wong. Look for extracts that are standardized to 70 percent to 80 percent silymarin. Try Nature’s Way Thisilyn or Puritan’s Pride Silymarin (both are 175 milligrams per capsule). Take one capsule two to three times per day.
VITAMIN C “Vitamin C helps the body recycle glutathione and protects the detoxification pathways in the liver,” says Bennett. Take 500 milligrams twice a day and up to 2,000 milligrams two or three times a day.
MAGNESIUM “Magnesium relaxes the bowel and speeds up transit time,” says Tobin, and supplementing is especially important if your bowel is sluggish. Try Complete H20 Minerals Magnesium Concentrate and take 400 milligrams to 800 milligrams divided up throughout the day.