There’s no doubt about it: we’re exposed to many toxins due to modern industry, pollution, and our lifestyles today. As a result, it is very easy for your body’s natural detoxification pathways to get sluggish and backed up from the extra work of getting rid of them.
Additionally, the standard American diet (SAD) is lacking in many key nutrients essential for detoxification. So in addition to our toxic load increasing, our bodies have fewer tools to detoxify properly.
When your body can’t detoxify properly, toxins will accumulate, which can have a direct effect on other parts of your body. For example, if you have a hormone imbalance, which is common, used and excess hormones need to be filtered by your liver. If they aren’t, they just hop right back into circulation, which results in hormonal excess.1
Because a lot of toxins disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking or interfering with our natural hormones, they need to be eliminated quickly and effectively in order to maintain a healthy hormonal balance. Other toxic buildups can inflame the body, causing issues such as the following:
- Impaired memory
- Metabolic disruptions
- Skin issues
- Increased cancer risk
- Brain fog
The problem with “detox”
In the past few decades, many products have flooded the health and wellness market claiming to be able to detox and cleanse your liver. Many claim to be able to detox you after a weekend binge on alcohol or eating unhealthy food. But according to John Hopkins Medicine, while some ingredients in common cleanses and supplements have shown to produce positive results, many do not.2
Still other products don’t claim to detox the liver specifically, but also promise to flush your body of toxins. Many trendy detox options such as fruit-juice cleansing promise a quick fix as well, but they may actually do more harm to your body than good. The bottom line is that while supplements and cleanses may support the body’s own detoxification process, there is no magic pill that flushes your body of toxins on its own.
Now for the good news…
The good news is that your body already knows how to detox itself—it just may need a bit of support. And, you don’t need to commit to an intense week-long program if you don’t want to. By committing instead to making simple, easy lifestyle changes, including the 11 below, you can give your body the support it needs to rid itself of damaging toxins.
1 – Don’t eat too close to bedtime
Your liver is most active when the body is at rest—that means when you are sleeping. But if you’ve just eaten a big meal (or even a snack), your body will put its effort into digesting, not detoxifying. When you allow your food to digest before getting under the covers to get a good night’s rest, your liver will have a better chance of being successful at the work it was designed to do. Aim to have your last big meal 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. If you must have a snack before bedtime, pick something that digests quickly such as fruit. Your liver and your stomach will thank you!
2 – Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to a variety of health problems, one of which is an increase in inflammation and toxicity in the body. Recent research has also revealed that sleep is critical in helping the brain flush out toxins in addition to helping detoxify other parts of the body. And interestingly, this process of detoxing the brain is best carried out when sleeping on your side.3 To help your body detoxify like it’s meant to, make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
3 – Give yourself a lymphatic massage
You have lymph nodes throughout your body, including your neck. While it’s a great idea to get a full body massage regularly in order to work those lymph nodes, giving yourself a lymphatic neck massage is something you can do at home for free. While you’re at it, massage your face and head, too, because there are lymph nodes there as well. Lymphatic self-massage is often recommended to patients with head and neck cancer, but it is great for anyone looking to stimulate detoxification in the body.4
4 – Drink warm lemon water with Himalayan salt
Lemons have vitamin C, and they are packed with electrolytes and antibiotics that can transform toxins into digestible products while stimulating natural liver enzymes and neutralizing your body’s natural pH balance. Additionally, Himalayan salt is rich with minerals and also provides electrolytes that help hydrate your body. Natural salt such as Himalayan salt and lemon is a mixture that can help your body pull toxins from your cells. Drinking just 10 ounces of this water in the morning can do the trick.5 Remember to drink filtered water to ensure that you aren’t adding more toxins in!
5 – Jump around!
Jumping—any kind of jumping—is an effective way to help mobilize a sluggish immune system. Unlike your circulatory system, lymphatic fluids generally flow toward the neck, and as your lymphatic system has no pump—it’s always fighting gravity. Give it a boost by jumping daily by using a jump rope, doing jumping jacks, or better yet, invest in a mini-rebounder or trampoline.
6 – Boost your fiber intake
Digestion is a very complicated process, and poor eating habits can wreak havoc on your detoxification system. After you eat and the digestive process begins, your liver dumps toxins into your bile duct, which excretes bile into your small intestine to help emulsify and absorb fat. Without fiber to move the process along, your digestive process gets backed up, and your body will reabsorb those toxins. Having regular bowel movements to get rid of those toxins is important. Fiber doesn’t just keep things moving; it also binds to toxins, preventing them from being reabsorbed and helping eliminate them.6 A daily diet rich in plant-based fiber and low in animal products that contain no fiber at all is the best way to treat your digestive tract well. Eating a diet that abounds with a variety of colors ensures you’ll get your daily dose of fiber.
7 – Invest in a dry body brush
Like your heart’s vascular system, your lymphatic system also runs throughout the body. Unlike your vascular system, however, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to get things flowing. Similar to lymphatic massage, dry skin brushing stimulates your lymphatic system and also improves blood flow throughout your body. Dry brushing adds other benefits as well, such as increasing drainage of lymphatic fluids, which aids in detoxification. That’s on top of more aesthetic benefits such as a healthier skin tone (due to increased blood flow) and a natural skin glow thanks to the removal of dead skin and a lessening in the appearance of cellulite.
8 – Drink plenty of water
We’ve mentioned the benefits of drinking lemon water with salt, but we also can’t emphasize the importance of drinking plenty of pure water each day enough. Fiber depends on water to do its job in the digestive system, as do many other nutrients. Water is also especially beneficial for liver and kidney detoxification, as it flushes out liver tissues and also allows the kidneys to filter properly.7 To learn more about hydrating properly, take a look at these 7 hydration tips.
9 – Consider herbs
In addition to eating a healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, certain herbs may be just what your body needs to detoxify more efficiently. As mentioned, many ingredients in common cleansing and detoxing supplements aren’t proven to actually improve the body’s detoxification process. A few herbs, however, that are known to positively impact the organs of the detoxification system include the following:
- Milk thistle
- Dandelion root
- Red clover
- Artichoke leaf
10 – Breathe deep
Multiple studies show that deep breathing encourages the movement of lymph fluid through the bloodstream, dramatically increasing the elimination of toxins.8 Breathing deeply through your diaphragm is easy. Take a deep breath through your nose and hold it in to the count of four. Exhale through your mouth to the count of two. Perform this simple exercise two to three times per day. When you get better at it, you’ll find that you can increase the length of your deep breathing—for example, breathing in to the count of 5, holding your breath to the count of 20, and exhaling to the count of 10. Exhaling after holding your breath brings oxygen to your blood and stimulates your lymphatic system.
11 – Get your yoga on
You don’t have to go to the gym, turn into a pretzel, or wear stretchy pants to benefit from yoga. The basic yoga poses, twists, and inversions will stimulate your liver and lymphatic flow no matter how you’re dressed or how uncoordinated you are. There are many free videos online that show the basics, and they only involve easy movements such as putting your legs up on the wall or standing poses. A great perk is that yoga also helps push your body into a parasympathetic resting state,9 which is good for relieving toxic stress.
About Seth Morris
Seth Morris is an experienced article writer with a background in marketing, Web content creation, and health research. In addition to writing and editing content for the ZYTO website and blog, he has written hundreds of articles for various websites on topics such as holistic wellness, health technology, and Internet marketing. Seth has earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Management as well as Literary Studies.
1. Huizen, Jennifer. “What to know about hormonal imbalances.” Healthline Media UK Ltd. Medicalnewstoday.com.
2. “Detoxing Your Liver: Fact Versus Fiction.” John Hopkins University. Hopkinsmedicine.org.
3. “The right sleeping position will help your brain detox.” NeuroNation. Neuronation.com.
4. “How to do lymphatic self-massage on your face, head and neck.” Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Uhn.ca.
5. “Benefits of Lemon water with Pink Himalayan Salt.” Unique Minerals. Uniqueminerals.com.
6. Zhang, N., C. Huang, & S. Ou. “In vitro binding capacities of three dietary fibers and their mixture for four toxic elements, cholesterol, and bile acid.” Journal of Hazardous Materials 186, no. 1 (2011): 236-239.
7. Garvin, Christine. “What Are the Benefits of Water on Liver Detoxification.” Leaf Group Ltd. Livestrong.com.
8. “Your Breath of Life Part 1: Why Deep Breathing Is Important.” GrapeGate.com. Grapegate.com.
9. Thomas, Deborah. “3 ways Yoga can activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System & give you peace.” Lucia Yoga. Luciayoga.com.