Spring is a time for renewal, rebirth, new beginnings – and spring cleaning. One survey found that almost 80% of us embark on at least one spring cleaning project at this time of the year, with bedrooms, closets, and kitchens being the top priorities. With this focus on fresh starts, it’s also a great time to focus on cleansing your body and recharging your health. After all, it was a long winter and taking some time to make your health a priority will help recharge your energy as we emerge from hibernation.
You might wonder why your body needs spring cleaning, since it’s not always as obvious as when the kitchen needs to be cleaned. However, every day, your body is exposed to multiple harmful toxins. Many of these toxins aren’t readily apparent: we’re often unknowingly exposed to environmental pollution and toxins in our food and water. Plus, chronic high stress, combined with our modern sedentary lifestyles, further contributes to harmful accumulations in the body.
Your body has many “cleaning supplies” that help eliminate harmful toxins, including your:
- Liver – the body’s primary filtration system, converting toxins into waste products, cleansing your blood, and metabolizing nutrients and medications to provide the body with some of its most important proteins.
- Colon – removes water, salt, and some nutrients forming stool which excretes toxins.
- Kidneys – purify and filter our blood.
- Lungs – act as filters for the toxins in the air we breathe.
- Lymphatic system – lymph vessels connect to a group of lymph nodes which act as a filter for anything harmful that the body does not need.
- Skin – acts as a barrier for our body and excretes toxins through sweat.
Just as we wouldn’t expect our household cleaning supplies to keep performing without some basic maintenance, over time, these organs need some cleansing themselves. Some signs that it’s time for a reset include:
- Sluggish digestion
- Mysterious skin issues
- Unexplained fatigue
- Fuzzy thinking, poor concentration, and impaired memory
Ready to jump into your spring cleaning for health? The following steps are an important part of a spring detox.
Regular exercise reduces inflammation throughout your body, boosts endorphins, and gives you energy. Plus, the sweat from a good workout can help eliminate toxins. Although more research needs to be done, several studies have found that sweat helps get rid of toxins like heavy metals and BPAs. However, you’ll receive many benefits from movement even if you don’t work up a sweat. It’s a great time of the year to get outside for a walk or a hike! Spending time in nature is one of the best ways to rejuvenate your mental and physical energy.
Your liver acts as your body’s filtration system, so when it is overtaxed, more unwanted toxins can enter your body. One of the most effective ways to support your liver is by being mindful of alcohol consumption. It’s generally recommended that women limit themselves to one drink per day, and men to two drinks, but total abstinence is a good way to kick off a spring detox. Avoid sugary drinks as a substitute, however, as they can contribute to fatty liver disease.
Herbs and supplements that support the liver, such as milk thistle and turmeric, can also improve liver functions. The chemical compounds in cilantro have been shown to bind to toxic metals and loosen them for easier transport out of the body.
Traditionally used as a diuretic, studies suggest that dandelion may help improve liver and gallbladder function. The blossoms of red clover also support liver function by stimulating bile production and act as an effective diuretic, helping to cleanse the blood and rid the body of excess fluids.
Water flushes out waste products through urine and sweat. Staying hydrated also helps the organs in your body work optimally, so aim for two to three liters of water a day. An eco-friendly water bottle can help you stay on top of water intake, and some people like to add a bit of lemon or cucumber to their water to make it more interesting.
Whole, natural foods help the detoxification process in several ways. This is particularly true for foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help combat free radicals, which are unstable molecules that cause cellular damage. Pollution and toxins like alcohol and tobacco lead to the production of free radicals, but antioxidants fight them and reverse the effects of the oxidative stress they create. Foods high in antioxidants include many nuts, brightly colored produce like blueberries, strawberries, kale, beets, goji berries, and dark chocolate.
Foods high in fiber help with elimination and therefore act as literal cleansers. Foods high in insoluble fiber, such as whole grains , help clean the digestive system as they move through your system. Soluble fiber also supports the production of good bacteria in your gut, which supports the liver and other functions. Good sources of soluble fiber include beans, vegetables like brussel sprouts and broccoli, and fruit like apples.
Some beauty and health products contain toxic ingredients like parabens and phthalates, and their negative effects can be more than skin deep. Look for natural ingredients whenever possible. The Environment Working Group (EWG) website gives detailed information on exactly what many products contain and ranks them for their level of potentially harmful toxins.
It’s a different type of cleaning, but getting rid of clutter in your surroundings can have a positive effect on your mental health, and act as an impetus for your spring detox. However, be sure to use natural cleaning products!
Sleep really does clear your brain, as studies show that the brain gets rid of accumulated toxic byproducts while we sleep. It’s also when your brain processes the events of the day. Plus, being well-rested helps you tackle the other elements of staying healthy.
Don’t delay your spring detox! Your body and soul deserve as much attention as cleaning your home!
If you’d like to learn more and create a customized program for you, let’s talk!