5 ways to detox your body naturally this summer

By Leyla El Moudden

Summer has arrived, and with the sunshine comes the perfect opportunity to take some time to detoxify your body, shed that “extra winter” weight, get your skin glowing and renew your energy levels. In natural terms, detoxification is helping the body process food and waste more effectively whilst nourishing it with a steady flow of fresh nutrients and minerals. By doing this, we increase energy, and vitality, clear the skin and reduce any extra weight accumulated over the winter months. During cold weather, the body is naturally inclined towards heavy, starchy meals to survive what would (in nature) be a time of scarcity of food and resources. When the sunshine arrives, those natural survival instincts turn toward a desire for increased energy, so summer is the perfect time to detox, as the weather is on your side for enjoying lighter, fresh food.

Our bodies are purpose-built for detoxification, yet during winter months, we tend to sabotage our natural detoxification pathways by overloading the body with carbs, sugars, fats, caffeine and alcohol. When the weather is colder, we tend to ‘hunker down indoors’ eating foods less for their nutrient content and more for their comfort factor. In the cold, we usually sweat less and tend to be less active, moving about less, which can slow down our channels of elimination. The result is sluggishness, poor skin tone, low energy levels and that extra soft body fat around our middle. All of these effects can be reduced with a detox program, which aims to give our elimination organs the nutrients they need to manage and clear waste from our bodies more effectively.

The end goal of any detoxification program is to clear the system of toxins that have built up in the body, or more specifically, remove the foods that create inflammation, drinks that dehydrate us and chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and preservatives that put a huge toxic burden on our organs. An ideal detox program would be part of a weekly or monthly routine, but for many of us, that’s not a realistic goal. Instead, an occasional 10-18 day detox plan is an excellent way to get our metabolism back and revive and rejuvenate our body.

So, let’s get started. What are the key essentials when it comes to a summer detox?

1. Be gentle on yourself

Depending on your current health, undertaking a radical change in eating and drinking such as a detox routine should match your health level. If you do yoga three times a week, swim at the weekends and eat 100% organic food – great! You can probably handle a more intense detox such as 10-days on just juices, bone broths and homemade vegetable soups. If you are a person who is relatively healthy but has been hitting that snack cupboard for the winter and haven’t seen your exercise kit for many months, then giving up processed food, switching to organic foods and using only filtered water as your daily fluid for 18 days will do wonders for your health and mood. 

If you have chronic health issues and struggle with your weight, then I suggest that you find a supportive health practitioner to work with and create a tailor-made detox plan for yourself. As time goes on, and your health improves, so too will your detoxification routine, so for now find a level of detoxification that is achievable for you and work with that.

2. Lighten the diet

Diet is the primary route by which nutrients enter the body.  During a detox, the diet must be as clean as possible. A clean diet is one free of chemicals (that means organic produce where possible), and fresh, colourful and home cooked meals. Aim for five to six different colours of fruits and vegetables on each day of your detox. Enzyme laden fruits such as papaya, pineapple and kiwi fruit are fantastic additions, as they help the body digest and absorb nutrients. If needed, you can make this eating style easier to manage by creating soups, smoothies or juices from your produce. For protein, choose clean meats, such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken or wild caught fish and cook these on a low heat, ideally on a grill or air fryer so you are cooking gently and without using salt and oil. Tastes and flavours can be added using fresh herbs. If you must use salt opt for natural salt that contains many trace elements and minerals such as sea salt, or rock salt.   

3. Rest

Giving the digestive system rest between meals is a must during a detox program, which is why I recommend a 4-hour break between meals, as well as having a strict cut-off time for eating, such as four hours before bedtime.  Remember the importance of sleep, as this is when our detox organs do most of their work, so getting a good night’s sleep is critical for a successful detox.

To enhance the uptake of nutrients and minerals from your food into your system, and particularly if you are over the age of 30, add in a digestive enzyme supplement with each meal, Digest Gold™ from Enzymedica UK will reduce the energy burden of digesting and enhance your nutrient levels after eating and that means more energy!

A detoxing process needs to be supplemented by low-stress levels, so take relaxing breaks when possible. Reduce your exposure to blue lights from electronic equipment such as phones, screens and laptops. Research shows that the average person spends 11 hours each day listening to, watching, reading or interacting with media, and a large percentage of people check their devices 150 times a day. Technology is a tool for us to use, not to be enslaved by it!

4. Drink clean water

Scientists estimate that 60% of the human body is made up of water and our elimination organs need fluid in order to excrete properly. Even mild dehydration can lead to our body systems slowing down, reducing our energy levels, ageing us faster, wrinkling our skin and building up our toxic load.  

Filtered drinking water keeps the natural minerals in the water yet filters out any pollutants and chemicals that may be in the water from the treatment plants or the pipes that carry the water to your home. If you don’t have access to filtered water, it would be worth investing in a filter jug to have as ‘unpolluted as possible water to drink. If you have a reverse osmosis system in your kitchen, this water will have been stripped of all its natural minerals as well as contaminants, so it’s very helpful to make sure that you do include pink Himalayan rock salt or natural sea salt in your diet to put the minerals back in!

5. Support elimination

Our bodies need to get rid of waste to keep us healthy. If we are constipated, bloated or suffering from skin outbreaks these are clear signs that one or more of our channels of elimination is struggling to rid our bodies of waste. We detox naturally by having a bowel movement, urinating and sweating. So gentle exercise to get us moving such as walking, re-bounding (mini trampoline), yoga or Chi-Gong are ideal when we are in a detox phase. Having sessions in a red-light sauna is also greatly beneficial for a good sweating session.  

Another great detoxification trick is ‘dry skin brushing’ before a cool shower. Take a firm, natural bristle shower brush and gently brush your skin whilst it is dry. Start from the feet, brushing in smooth strokes all the way up your legs towards the groin area.  Then from the hands down the arms towards the armpits, across the collar bone, gently around the tender skin of the breasts towards the heart. Include your head and neck, brushing downwards from the top of your head.  Dry skin brushing not only feels great, but it also stimulates your lymphatic system and provides a huge treat for the skin!

In conclusion

Detoxing for health is the act of supporting our elimination systems, taking a break from food and environmental toxins and increasing our nutrients, through a set period of time. Anyone can do it and any level of detoxing will help to leave your body lighter and healthier, so you can really enjoy that new beach outfit waiting for you in the wardrobe!

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