“Detox” has a way of sounding like a daunting task. But, it’s an essential part of owning a human body: unhealthy things come in (despite our best efforts), so in order for us to stay healthy, they have to go out.
By taking small, consistent steps to shake off the bad stuff—pollution, toxins, less-than-wise food choices, stress—we free up our organs, systems and mind to better deal with the day-to-day. Plus, it makes doing a longer-term, extensive detox or cleanse less of a shock to the body if you do decide to go that route. Follow these 14 ways to detox daily, and see if you don’t just feel a little bit better.
We know, you’ve heard this one a million times. There’s a reason for that: staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your body (and your sanity!). Not only does drinking enough water mean you’re flushing out toxins on the regular (and if that means plenty of bathroom breaks, so be it), it means your skin will stay healthy, you’ll sleep better and you might even notice that headaches, muscle cramping, digestive issues, and aches and pains subside substantially. If you just can’t bring yourself to chug all day long, try infused water to make it easier.
2. Breathe deeply
Conscious deep breathing can help reset your nervous system, leading you to feel calmer and to get some of that nervous or anxious energy out of your body. Inhale slowly through your nose, and hold the breath for seven seconds (or as long as is comfortable for you). Then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat five times. Making the inhalation longer than the exhalation increases energy, while making the exhalation longer than the inhalation promotes relaxation.
Want to consume a lot of fruits and veggies, but don’t have the time (or the palate) to be chomping on leafy greens all day? Smoothies are the perfect way to pack large amounts of nutrients into a delicious drink, while retaining the fiber—unlike juicing. Just be careful not to overload your smoothie with fruits (which naturally contain sugars) or other sugary ingredients. Start with this detox smoothie recipe and customize from there!
4. Brush your skin
As the largest organ, the skin is vital for healthy detoxification and proper digestion. In fact, the skin is known as the third kidney. Dry skin brushing improves lymphatic drainage, reduces cellulite, promotes digestion, and supports detoxification. You can purchase a skin brush at Whole Foods, on Amazon.com, or simply use a dry towel. Gently brush in a circular motion, always moving from the extremities towards the heart, thereby improving blood flow to the heart. Use counter-clockwise strokes on your belly to improve detoxification.
5. Scrape your tongue
By tongue scraping every morning, you remove bacteria that can lead to poor digestion and liver stagnation. Brush your teeth before you tongue scrape. Then use a tongue scraper or a spoon to reach as far back as possible and pull forward, scraping off the white film, which is candida and streptococcus mutans.
Antioxidants (found in foods with high levels of Vitamin A, C and E, like berries) help fight free radicals, while fiber (found in whole grains, lentils, beans, fruits and veggies) is essential to regular digestion and helping you feel full longer. This Baby Kale Salad with Oranges, Blueberries and Pomegranate is the perfect place to start upping your antioxidant and fiber intake. If you remember nothing else, just remember to eat more fresh produce!
7. Sweat regularly
Whether it’s detox Yoga (such as Yin), a brisk walk, jogging, cycling or swimming, commit to getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat at least 15 minutes every day. Using a rebounder (a mini trampoline) is a fun way to naturally detoxify your lymphatic system. Bouncing releases toxins as you force the lymph to pump the toxins out. Sweating releases toxins from the body, and regular exercise gets the blood moving and is essential for a healthy metabolism. You can also work up a sweat in a sauna, steam room, or a hot bath. Just make sure to hydrate before and after sweating.
8. Sleep like you mean it
This is another no-brainer: Sleep is essential to a healthy, functioning body. It’s when we reset our brain, repair cells and flush out toxins from our liver and kidneys (there’s a reason you have to pee first thing in the morning!). Awakening well-rested will also encourage you to eat healthier, be more active and have a better mood. We can’t say it enough: Don’t skimp on sleep!
Probiotics (healthy bacteria) regulate and restore your intestines’ natural balance, and studies have shown they can help rid the body of heavy metals, free radicals and dangerous bacteria. Try one of these 13 recipes packed with probiotics, this recipe for probiotic lemonade, or our tutorial for brewing your own kombucha.
10. Enemas are not the enemy
Okay, this probably does not sound appealing, but enemas are a good way to naturally remove waste from the colon. Often bacteria, yeast and unwanted pathogens will create toxic build-up, leading to poor digestion. For more information on how to do a home enema properly, click here. Alternatively, you can find a local colon hydrotherapist and get a colonic pre- and post-detox to clean out any toxic build-up.
11. Use a castor oil pack
Rub castor oil on your stomach, your liver (right side), and your upper abdomen. Some people prefer to soak a cloth, towel, or old shirt in the castor oil, wrap the pack in plastic wrap, and then apply over the desired organ. You can lay a hot water bottle or heating pad on the top of the pack and relax as you release toxins. It is recommended to apply a castor oil pack for 35-45 minutes one to three times a week during detox.
Teas made from ingredients like burdock root, chicory, cilantro, dandelion, fenugreek, ginger, milk thistle or turmeric can help detoxify the body, tone the liver, stimulate digestion and increase metabolism. Or try this cleanse water recipe, which uses lemon juice, cayenne and ginger. Even a simple mug of hot water with lemon can be satisfying and detoxifying. Two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed into 16 ounces of water can help regulate our body’s pH levels, which also helps detox.
13. Take an epsom salt bath
Soaking for 30 minutes in an epsom salt bath is a wonderful way to detoxify the body and relax the soul. Add 1/4 cup of Epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup sea salt, 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (optional), and a few drops of lavender to a warm bath. The epsom salt detoxifies the liver and provides your body with magnesium and sulfate, both essential minerals for detoxification. The added raw apple cider vinegar lowers acid levels, which balances the pH in your body.
Oil pulling has been a common detoxification practice for centuries and can be done with coconut, sesame or olive oil. Learn everything you need to know about it here. (Oil pulling should be done on an empty stomach to ensure maximum benefit. The best times are upon rising and before bed.)