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Seven Healthy Ways To Detox This New Year
02/11/2021
Linda May-Zhang, PhD

Are you still recovering from 2020 and the Quarantine 15? Or are you working on resolutions for a healthier lifestyle and looking for ways to detox and feel better? A detox may be the solution you are looking for to start 2021 off right.

If you think detox is a 7-day juice fast or a veggie soup diet to flush out toxins from your body, you may want reconsider. Detox plans that involve dramatic calorie restrictions are not very effective and can be quite dangerous for your health.

Instead of calorie restriction and simply juicing, an effective detox regimen should include a more holistic approach such as supporting your body’s natural detoxification system. Goals for detox would include reducing inflammation, decreasing your cravings for sweets, or having more energy and vitality. We’ve rounded up 7 healthy ways to help you achieve your detox goals and gain control of a healthier lifestyle.

1. Eat foods that fight inflammation

Foods packed with nutrients and antioxidants can combat inflammation and provide your body with energy. A healthy diet can also combat signs of aging and improve skin and general health. Examples of good anti-inflammatory foods include those rich in vitamin C (citrus, berries), carotenoids (carrots, spinach, stewed tomatoes, kale), vitamin E (nuts, seeds, avocados), and whole grains and legumes that are packed with fiber and protein (quinoa, millet, chickpeas, lentils).You may also add spices or foods packed in anti-inflammatory properties, like, cumin, turmeric, garlic, onions, ginger, parsley or basil. Not only do these foods help with inflammation, they also help you reinforce a healthy diet.

2. Limit sugar and processed foods

Eating nutrient packed foods is just one aspect of a detox regimen. Foods that are high in sugar or overly processed cause inflammation and frequent consumption can cause your body to be under a state of chronic inflammation. Try to cut out processed, fried, and sugary foods along with placing a limit on red meat. How to ward off cravings of sweets? Try some healthier alternatives such as a tasty green detox smoothie that is packed with some of the foods listed above. You may add a natural sweetener like stevia for a sweeter taste without the calories.

3. Support your gut with prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods

Gut health is important for your body’s natural detox system. Prebiotics are fibers that feed naturally-occurring bacteria in your gut, which in turn produce nutrients beneficial for health. Good sources of prebiotics include oatmeal, bananas, artichokes, asparagus and tomatoes. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that supplement your gut. These microbes play a major role in not only gut health but also general health and your brain. Probiotics include yogurts with active cultures or fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, or miso.

4. Take it easy with alcohol

When you drink alcohol, your body works hard to try to metabolize and get rid of it from our body. When you drink too much, especially accompanied with dehydration, you may experience the unpleasant symptoms of a hangover the next day including headaches, nausea, irritability and fatigue. Taking it easy with alcohol or cutting it out completely is the best way to detox from a night of drinking. You may also consider taking a supplement to help with alcohol metabolism and detox.

5.Hydrate

Water does so much more than just quench your thirst. Hydration keeps your cellular machinery in top shape and helps your body detox by removing waste products through urination, breathing and sweating. The adequate daily intake for water is 3.7 liters (125 oz) for men and 2.7 liters (91 oz) for women. You may need more or less depending on where you live, your diet, and your activity level.

6.Get active

Regular exercise, whether that’s going for a run, hiking or walking, is associated with a longer and healthier life. Exercise also reduces overall inflammation, which helps with the body’s natural detox system and its ability to protect against health conditions. About 2.5-5 hours of moderate intensity exercise (like walking) or 1.5-3 hours of vigorous exercise (like running) is recommended weekly for keeping active.

7.Get good sleep

Ensuring adequate and quality sleep every night is one of the best things you can do for your body. Sleeping allows your brain and body to recharge itself. Sleeping also helps flush toxic waste products from your brain that accumulates during the day. You should sleep 7-9 hours per night on a regulate basis to promote good health. If you have difficulties staying or falling asleep at night, you may need to implement some lifestyle changes or reevaluate your diet to help you have better sleep.

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Dr. Linda May-Zhang has over 10 years of research experience in nutrition, chronic diseases and pharmacology. She has published over 20 peer-reviewed academic papers in scientific journals. She is also a science writer with a passion for educating the lay public.

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