Guest post from local Nutritional Therapist Sarah Gale
Every January, there's a certain predictability to the wellness world: detoxes and cleanses take centre stage, promising rapid results and a fresh start. While the notion of 'resetting' our bodies can be appealing, especially after indulgent holidays, it's essential to recognise our body's incredible built-in detoxification system. Our liver, kidneys, and even our lungs are nature's original detox tools, diligently working to filter and expel toxins without the need for a fancy juice cleanse or restrictive diet.
In truth, detoxification is a continual process. It's not something you only initiate after a period of overindulgence. Our liver is continuously filtering blood, neutralising harmful substances, and aiding in digestion. Simultaneously, the kidneys are always working, purifying the bloodstream and excreting waste. Our body is a beautifully efficient system designed to self-clean and regenerate.
If we're keen on supporting our bodies, the key lies in consistent, daily habits. So if you do feel like you need a bit of a re-focus this January, here is a deep dive into some practical ways to support our bodies.
At the foundation of good health is proper hydration. Drinking water assists in digestion, maintains healthy skin, and ensures that our kidneys function efficiently. While the "eight glasses a day" adage is a good starting point, individual needs can vary. Aim for ‘straw coloured’ urine and a sensation of thirst quenched as indicators you are drinking enough.
A shift towards whole foods - fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains - offers a multitude of nutrients that bolster our natural detox mechanisms. These foods are high in fibre, which aids digestion and promotes regular bowel movements, further assisting the body in expelling waste.
When we sweat, our bodies not only regulate our temperature but also release accumulated toxins through the skin, one of our largest elimination organs. Activities like exercise, saunas, or even a brisk walk can promote sweating, helping to rid the body of unwanted substances, including metals like lead and mercury, and certain environmental pollutants. Make sure to wipe or rinse sweat off regularly so you don’t reabsorb the toxins.
Greens are like the MVPs of the food world. Rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they support liver function and provide the body with vital resources for detoxification. Try adding in a handful a day. The darker the leaf the better.
Protein is pivotal in many of our body's functions, detoxification included. The amino acids derived from proteins act as vital assistants for our liver when it comes to neutralising and clearing out toxins. To ensure our liver operates optimally, it is essential to have an adequate protein intake. Incorporating foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, and tofu into our diet can effectively help us meet our protein requirements.
Committing to cooking more meals at home puts you in control. You are aware of every ingredient, reducing the likelihood of consuming processed or additive-laden foods which can unnecessarily tax our detoxification systems. Rediscover your cookbooks, browse Pinterest for fresh ideas, or opt for recipe boxes to simplify and diversify your home-cooked meal repertoire.
While moderate alcohol consumption can fit into a balanced lifestyle, it is essential to remember that the liver processes every drop we consume. Taking occasional breaks from alcohol allows the liver to recuperate and focus on its many other vital functions. Going cold turkey on alcohol might not just be good for liver health you might notice an improvement in your sleep, mood and energy levels too.
Our bodies are like smartphones; they need some downtime to recharge. Sleep is when our body tends to repairs and maintenance, with the liver being especially active during these restful hours. Cutting short on sleep is essentially limiting your body's natural detoxification and repair window. Aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep nightly can significantly support your body's innate detox processes.
I know, easier said than done, right? But, long-term stress can throw a wrench in our detox works. So, if you can’t ditch it all together, how can you better manage your stress? Whether it's through meditation, deep breaths, or just jamming to your favourite tune, find your zen.
Incorporating regular movement into your routine goes beyond just fitness or weight goals. Engaging in physical activity enhances blood circulation, essential for transporting oxygen and vital nutrients throughout the body, and playing a key role in detoxification. Simple everyday actions, such as choosing the stairs over the lift or opting for a walk to the supermarket, whilst seemingly trivial, can have a profound effect on supporting your body's natural detox processes and boosting metabolic health.
Our bodies are well-equipped to handle the daily challenges thrown its way. Rather than seeking external, often drastic solutions, it's about nurturing and supporting our in-built systems. This January, let's choose to step away from the detox frenzy and honour our body's inherent wisdom and capabilities. Embrace habits that stand the test of time, prioritise balance, and understand that the best support often comes from simple, consistent practices.
Sarah Gale is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Clinical Nutritionist DipION mBANT and hormone expert and helps women who just can’t lose weight break free of the diet cycle, rebalance their hormones and feel confident in their own skin again.
After a lifetime a hating her body and chronic yo-yo dieting, Sarah realised that yo-yo diets didn’t have the answers and by balancing her hormones, fixing her metabolism and working on her mindset she could finally lose the weight and get her self-confidence back.
You can find out more about Sarah and the services she offers over at Sarah Gale Nutrition