Herbfacts

How to detox the gentle way

Do you feel it’s time for a detox?

Here are some great ideas from clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer to help get you started.

We can all benefit from a cleaner lifestyle, whether it’s cutting down on alcohol or eating more healthily. When it comes to a detox, it’s much better to do this slowly, rather than going on a really extreme regime that can be shocking for the body; a more measured detoxification means you’ll be more likely to continue your cleaner lifestyle in the long term.

Typical signs that your body could benefit from internal cleansing are feeling sluggish, bad breath, constipation, poor skin, bags or dark circles under the eyes, irritability and fatigue. Detoxing lightens not only your body but your mood and also boosts energy levels.

LOOK AFTER YOUR LIVER

Your liver is the main organ of detoxification and the body’s hardest working organ.  As well as playing a vital role in the digestive system, it is the processing plant for everything that goes into the body.  As well as cleaning up your diet there are a number of herbs that are specifically beneficial for the liver.

Top of the list has to be the herb, milk thistle; not only does it help to regenerate liver cells, it works as an antioxidant in the body, helping to detoxify.  Make sure you take it every day for a month to give the liver a helping hand at the beginning of your detox.

Certain vegetables are especially cleansing and should be included in your diet as much as possible over the coming months. Globe and Jerusalem artichokes help to reduce fats in the liver and improve detoxification. Beetroot is a great liver cleanser and broccoli helps the liver to excrete ‘old’ hormones. Dandelion, which can be drunk as a tea, helps bile production and detoxification. Garlic, which contains sulphur, helps to detoxify toxic metals and environmental contaminants whilst parsley, which can reduce fluid retention, will help you feel lighter.

Try to include these herbs and vegetables in your diet as much as possible.

CLEAN UP YOUT DIET

Your diet is key to any detoxification plan; firstly remove as much sugar as possible, including cakes, sweets, biscuits, and chocolate.  If you need to add some sweetness to your cooking, then try using xylitol, which is a natural, plant-derived sweetener.  Processed foods, saturated fats, caffeine and alcohol can all increase the burden on the liver, impeding its ability to detoxify efficiently. So again, reduce your intake of these or cut out altogether.

Replace caffeinated drinks with herbal teas; the liver loves green tea as it contains lots of antioxidants.  Also, increase antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, particularly the colourful ones such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, apples and berries.  Try to include a daily juice to help increase the body’s intake of vegetables in particular.

GET YOUR BOWELS MOVING

It’s very important to keep the bowels moving in order to help the liver’s cleansing functions.  Try to include plenty of fibre in the diet from wholegrains, such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, beans and lentils.  Adding some flaxseeds to your cereal or porridge can also be beneficial.

WATER, WATER, WATER

And finally, you need to increase your daily intake of water – two litres of filtered or bottled water is recommended at least for the first month. As a general rule after this time you should still try to drink at least one and a half litres of water a day.