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Detox: Who Needs It?

What is detox? 

Detoxing—is it necessary or merely another marketing buzzword? Even if you do not consider yourself significantly health-conscious, you probably are familiar with detoxification or the elimination of toxins from the body through dietary intervention or supplementation. 

Is Detoxing Necessary? 

Truth is your body is capable of detoxifying itself without special health supplements, laxatives, teas or even the sauna. The body has its own detoxification system in place with the liver, kidneys and other organs designed to eliminate toxins and waste products from the body. Therefore, healthy individuals with no underlying health issues may not need a specific detox program. 

What You Can Do to Help Yourself

While the body is capable of detoxing itself, there are things that you can do to help or hinder the process. Here are some ways you can support your body’s detox:

  1. Stay hydrated
    Drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day helps lubricate the joints, regulate the body’s temperature, and flush toxins out of the body. Because water transports waste products out of the body, staying properly hydrated is important to detoxification, and keeps waste products from building up in your blood.

    Water is essential for flushing toxins out of the body. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day.

  2. Eat a healthy diet
    Focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods helps your body stay healthy and keeps the body’s detoxification system running optimally. On the other hand, a high consumption of refined sugar, processed foods and saturated fats negatively impacts the body, and are linked to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease which can harm organs key to detoxifying. 

    Focus on nutrient-dense foods found in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains and reduce your intake of refined sugar, salt, processed foods and saturated fats.

  3. Exercise regularly
    Staying active increases blood flow and allows lymph fluid to circulate, helping the body flush out toxins and bacteria more effectively. It also reduces inflammation in the body which can weaken the body’s systems making it more vulnerable to diseases.

    Engage in at least 150 minutes per week of accumulated moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity).

  4. Get enough sleep
    Having adequate quality sleep allows the body to repair and recharge itself itself and remove toxins that build up throughout the day. Thus insufficient or poor sleep allows toxins to accumulate and is linked to many short- and long- term health consequences such as anxiety, high blood pressure and heart disease.

    Your body does a lot of its repair work while you sleep. Sleep deprivation on the other hand can affect and weaken your immune system, so aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. 

  5. Manage stress
    Positive stress (short-lived and tolerable) is a normal part of life, but  prolonged or excessive activation of stress can increase the production of toxins in the body. Overexposure to stress hormones can have a cumulative effect on physical and mental health, but research indicates that proper stress managements such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, fostering healthy relationships or seeking professional counselling can lead to a longer, healthier life. 

    Find ways to manage stress by practicing deep breathing exercise, taking proper care of yourself and connecting with others.

How Do I Know If I Need a Detox?

While our bodies are created to detoxify itself, our current lifestyle, diet and constant exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and even medication often place a burden on our body’s systems most likely not experienced by previous generations.

Keeping your body’s detoxification process running well is key to good health, and there are often signs when your body’s system is weakened or could benefit from a jumpstart to a healthier lifestyle.

While there is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to individual needs, it is always important to focus on making sustainable changes that supports overall health and wellbeing. What can you do to improve your diet? What changes can you make to move towards a more active lifestyle? What changes—big or small—can you implement right now so you can live healthier and better? #starttoday

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