We often hear the word detox being mentioned, especially in the early part of the year. But do we fully understand what that word really means?
Detox is about aiding our body to convert chemicals, toxins, hormones and other compounds into less harmful substances and ultimately excrete them out. In functional medicine we refer to it as “metabolic detoxification”, so it’s not just about cutting out drugs, alcohol or our phones for few hours a day and drinking juices.
Whether we realise it or not, this is actually a really important process that happens on an ongoing basis in our body. It is facilitated by many of our organs working together: liver, kidneys, gut, lymphatic system and sweat glands, and we should always make sure it is fully supported.
Failure to do so could lead to toxins accumulation in the body, as well as causing damage to cells and tissues, which may lead to symptoms such as:
To facilitate this, it is always a good idea to ensure our diet is rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre, that we stay hydrated, and that we ensure movement and relaxation everyday. And yes, overall our body’s ability to detoxify properly does depend on several factors; diet, lifestyle, and exposure to environmental toxins, to name a few.
Let’s have a deep dive on diet first, what nutrients do we need to support our liver detoxification process?
When it comes to lifestyle…
…ensuring we have enough physical exercise across our week (whether it is cardio or more restorative solutions such as yoga & Pilates) and working on both our body and mind is key.
Physical activity can improve circulation and increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the liver, helping the liver to carry out its functions more efficiently, including detoxification. Exercise also stimulates the release of endorphins, which supports the reduction of stress and improvement of mood, while promoting better sleep, which is essential for liver function and overall health.
And don’t forget that reducing our toxin exposure by using more natural products for our body and home, limiting plastic and preferring organic foods is just as important!