Do you feel stressed out all the time? Is your digestion not up to its usual efficiency? Before you write off chronic issues with your body as normal stresses, look at your diet and environment. You may just need a detox.
What a Detox Is (And Isn’t)
A detox is any effort to help your body do its job of cleaning out toxins from your organs, including your liver, kidneys and skin. Traditionally, a detox has had a drug or alcohol connotation, as in going into detox to get the chemicals out of your system. But today, detoxification is a holistic health approach that uses food, water, massage and other acts of self-care to encourage your body to perform its best.
A detox, however, is not a cure-all, and effective ones rarely are quick fixes. It usually involves small-but-valuable lifestyle shifts that require commitment. So, how do you know whether you need to take on the effort? Your body tells you, and there are dozens of clues. Here are five of the top signs your body is craving help clearing toxicity.
One surefire way to know anything is amiss in your body is to pay attention to your trips to the bathroom. If you need to detox, chances are, you’re constipated, thanks to the toxins that have built up in your body. Constipation, in turn, can give you a headache or make you sleepy.
Of course, the opposite problem can also signify a need to cleanse. Loose stools, indigestion and excess gas all are signs of a need to detox. Basically, if your bathroom habits change, pay attention.
Toxins can have a serious effect on your mental health, too. Specifically, the build-up of toxins in your organs and brain contribute to depressed feelings. If you aren’t typically prone to depression but feel its symptoms, you may need to detox.
Insomnia and fatigue are common signals from your body that it’s taking on too much. Lethargy, too, results from your lack of sleep and also your body digesting food inefficiently, which then leads to carrying around toxins you don’t need.
From a runny nose to post-nasal drip to congestion, the symptoms of toxicity that affect the nose are easy to notice. However, before you start a detox regimen, rule out allergies, colds and the flu.
Without the full support of your internal organs, your brain lacks the ability to function properly. This leaves you in a mental fog that can impact everyone around you.
How to Detox
Once you identify that you need to detoxify your body, start by checking in with your doctor. You may need specific blood work or other tests to rule out serious issues before you start a detox.
The most effective detox programs are those that use small steps to build new habits over time. The quick-fix shakes and severely restrictive plans (lemon water only, anyone?) may feel tempting as a fast solution. Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of health choice that offers overnight success. Instead, make subtle changes over time and make sure they stick. This snowballing effect helps support your body more completely in the long run and makes your hard work pay off bigger for longer.
Drink LOTS of Water
When you’re ready to detox, water is your biggest friend. And no matter how much or little water you drink today, chances are you can have a bit more. If you’re looking for an added flavor and nutrients, try infused water. An infusion pitcher lets you customize the fruits and veggies you use to enhance your water and focus on overall hydration to support flushing your organs.
Treat Your Skin Well
Your skin is your number-one defense against pollution, chemicals and other household irritants. Pay it back for all it does for you by soaking in Epsom salts or attending regular massage sessions.
Eat to Live
A better diet is always a good idea, and a successful detox counts on your efforts to improve what you put into your body. Whenever it’s feasible, choose organic foods. Also, avoid pitfalls of dieting like donuts by making a plan in advance to substitute a particular, healthy food for your go-to indulgence. This way, you start to retrain your brain about what constitutes a treat.
When you’re considering a detox, watch for the warning signs your body sends. Then, create a sustainable, custom plan that makes sense for you. When you’re active in your pursuit of healthful living, your body reflects your hard work.