Does your body need a spring cleaning?
When springtime arrives with its longer, sunnier days, blooming plants and more comfortable temperatures, we often feel the need to give our homes and yards a good, thorough cleaning. We open windows to let fresh air replace stale winter air, we empty closets and garages and give or throw away things we no longer need, we wash the dust and dirt out of rugs and curtains and clear the yard of winter debris. We rid our physical surroundings of unnecessary, unwanted and maybe even unhealthy things such as mold. Once we’re done, our homes and yards look and feel better.
But what about our bodies? Do our bodies need a “spring cleaning?” If you overindulged in rich holiday foods and adult beverages and curled up under a warm blanket instead of hitting the gym, then your body could probably use a good spring cleaning! And even if you stuck to your workout schedule and went easy on the calorie-laden party foods and desserts, spring is a natural time of renewal and growth. If you want to rid your body of toxins, lose a few pounds and feel more energized, then maybe it’s time to devote some of that spring-cleaning time to your body!
How to Start a Body Spring Cleaning
You don’t have to follow a complicated regiment to feel revived and renewed — you can start by making a few minor changes.
Let’s Start with Foods that Cleanse
Don’t feel like you need to starve yourself or go on some crazy green juice diet to start a body spring cleaning! Simply reducing your intake of prepackaged foods, processed meats, and fast food is a great start. Add leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and parsley, fruits such as pears and apples and root vegetables such as beets and ginger to your diet as these aid in cleansing your body naturally. Take advantage of farmers markets and buy local, organic, seasonal fruits and veggies.
Although it can get expensive, try to eat only organic meats since traditionally raised meat can contain a multitude of toxins because of bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation happens when the animals are given antibiotics and exposed to toxins such as pesticides used on their food and contaminants in their water — by the time the meat gets to your stomach, it has accumulated a lot of toxins. You can also eat cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel because they contain healthy fats that boost immune function. Avoid large fish that are likely to contain contaminants such as tuna and swordfish. A word of caution here — meat slows down digestion, so eat it sparingly during a detox.
Water — Your Body’s Best Detox FriendYou’ve undoubtedly heard you need eight glasses of water per day, but do you know why? Even if you’re not sweating, your body loses water all day — and night — by merely breathing, evaporation and
using the bathroom. Your body needs adequate fluids for digestion, waste removal, blood circulation, nutrient distribution, and body temperature regulation.
Water also helps energize your muscles. Your muscle cells can shrivel and feel fatigued if they don’t receive enough hydration. We can even end up with unbalanced electrolyte levels, which can become serious health problems quickly and lead to weakness, seizures, and an irregular heartbeat.
Okay, so we know water is good for us, but did you know that tap water can contain unhealthy contaminants? Although municipal tap water in the U.S. must meet health standards, it can still contain bacteria, pesticides, industrial waste, lead, and mercury. It’s often well worth the money to invest in a water filter, whether it’s attached to a faucet, in a water pitcher or a whole-house filter.
If you’re serious about avoiding contaminants and maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance in your body, consider drinking bottled water that contains alkaline and electrolytes. Why alkaline? Unhealthy diets and stress can alter our body’s pH levels and create an acidic state. Weight gain, skin problems, lack of energy, joint pain, and digestive issues can all be symptoms of an acidic body. Alkaline helps neutralize the acidity. In addition to electrolytes helping cells function optimally, they help our bodies absorb nutrients.
Supplements That Will Boost Your Body Spring Cleaning Efforts
We’ve talked about making some minor changes in our food and water consumption, but to truly feel the benefits of a spring cleaning, you’ll want to consider adding some supplements to your routine. Supplements are just that — they supplement what you’re already doing in your diet and lifestyle habits and your body’s abilities to repair and detoxify itself.
Multivitamins: If you’re not already taking a multivitamin, consider adding one since a high-quality multivitamin can fill in nutritional gaps. The key is to make sure you’re not wasting money or even potentially jeopardizing your health by taking a low-quality multivitamin. Low-quality vitamins often contain low-cost vitamin and mineral forms which your body can’t easily absorb. So instead of boosting your body’s nutrient intake, your body ends up just flushing away what it can’t absorb — you might as well flush away the money you spent!
Some low-cost multivitamin ingredients contain harmful toxins and artificial dyes to make them visually more appealing. Avoid those for sure and try to find a multivitamin specific to your gender as men and women’s nutritional needs differ.
Detox Supplements: Here’s where you can really make some progress in your body spring cleaning program. Natural detox supplements can help you shed excess fluids and toxins, making you feel leaner and more energetic. Just as with multivitamins, some detox supplements are better than others!
The better detox supplements contain a lot of B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and pyridoxine because of their detoxing properties. For example, riboflavin (B2) makes up a component of compounds called flavoenzymes, which help your liver break down toxins.
- Other ingredients to look for in a detox supplement are potent antioxidants such as dandelion extract, milk thistle, and resveratrol, the element touted in red wine. Resveratrol supports detoxification and has a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation.
- Antioxidants help our bodies by neutralizing free radicals, which are like little thieves that “steal” electrons from other molecules. This leads to disruptions in cell function. Antioxidants donate one of their electrons to the free radical, which stabilizes the molecule.
What About Spring Cleaning for the Mind?
We’ve been talking about how to clear out the winter “debris” from our bodies, but our minds can benefit from a spring-cleaning cleanse too! Again, you don’t have to follow some complicated program — even just sitting calmly and focusing on breathing deeply and slowly for a few minutes in a quiet place can do wonders. Or, if you’re up for something a little more ambitious, try meditation. You can find a variety of free meditation apps and online programs to help you get started. Many people swear by yoga for clearing the mind of “debris.”
You can also try a natural supplement that will help calm your mind. Look for ones that are designed to support the adrenal gland. It should contain ingredients such as ashwagandha and holy basil, which help reduce stress and anxiety.
So now you’re ready for your body spring cleaning! And the best thing about it is that you don’t have to wait for spring — you can give your mind and body a detoxifying cleanse any time of year.
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