Kidneys: Going beyond water.
According to the National Institutes of Health, our kidneys remove waste and extra fluid from our body. They also remove acid produced by our cells and help us maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals—such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium—in our blood. The first logical thought that comes to mind to help these two bean-shaped organs is to drink more water. Although this is very true, as we age, the muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor weaken and chemical changes occur in the body leading to frequent urination. This can present a conundrum when it comes to staying hydrated. Luckily, there may be a more effective way of helping you utilizing your water and, therefore, reduce your number of stops to the bathroom. It turns out that electrolytes can help. We’ve seen a surge of electrolyte-enhanced bottled water on the market. This can be a great option when traveling but we do not recommend solely consuming bottled and/or electrolyte water. Instead, try adding foods that are high in electrolytes to your diet. This will not only count toward your “water” for the day but it will help your kidneys maintain a healthy electrolyte balance.
Foods that are high in electrolytes:
Cabbage, Celery, Cooked Swiss Chard, Cucumber, Lima Beans, Romaine Lettuce, Sesame Seeds, Strawberries
Colon: Have fiber work for you.
When we think of getting rid of waste in the body, the first thing we think of is elimination through the large intestines or colon. But what keeps your colon clean? The answer is fiber. Foods high in dietary fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, act like a scrub brush for your colon and move waste more efficiently out of your body. Dietary fiber also binds with carcinogens, substances that promote cancer formation in your body, lowering the contact these harmful chemicals have with your highly absorptive intestinal walls. Fiber is also the best food source for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Best sources of dietary fiber:
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), dried beans and legumes, raspberries, winter squash
Lungs: Breathe to keep the pipes clean.
We don’t often consider our lungs as a part of our daily detoxification process but with every breath we are releasing toxins. Each of our exhalations contains 78% nitrogen, 16% oxygen, 0.09% argon, and 4 % carbon dioxide. In addition, some scientists suggest that we breathe out as many as 3,500 additional compounds in microscopic amounts with each exhalation.
Watch the video linked below in the Lymphatic System information to kill two birds with one stone. This 3-part breathing exercise can clear the lungs as well as stimulate your lymph circulation.
Lymphatic system: Transport your toxins out of the body.
We often think of the lymphatic system as a part of the immune system but it also plays a big role in detoxification. The lymph fluid collects toxins from our tissues and transports them to the lymph nodes for removal from the body.
Breathing and everyday movement help move lymph fluid through the body but for a huge bang for your buck, try this incredible exercise called Breath of Joy. Try it in the morning to get the body moving and increase energy.
Bonus Tip: Dry Skin Brushing – this simple process helps increase circulation as well as lymph flow. It’s also a great way to exfoliate dry skin. You will need a long handled, natural bristle brush. Beginning at your feet and working your way up your body, brush toward your heart with long even strokes. Go easy on sensitive areas like the breasts and avoid your face. Never brush over broken, burned or infected skin. If your skin is sensitive, use a dry washcloth.
Liver: Reduce the chemical overload.
The liver is a busy organ but one of its primary jobs is detoxification. The liver helps filter toxins from the blood then combines them with amino acids so that they can be safely transported from the body via the bile or urine.
You can help lighten the load on your liver by reducing the chemicals you consume and expose yourself to everyday. Where are these chemicals coming from?
- Food – read the ingredients list on all of your food. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it. Reach for whole foods instead of processed items. Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store helps make buying foods that are not chemical-laden much easier.
- Skin Care – whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your body so buy products that are all natural, organic and as simple as possible. Coconut oil makes a great body moisturizer. Jojoba oil is fantastic for the face because it is molecularly similar to your body’s natural moisture. Natural shampoos and conditioners are available at your local health food store or online.
- Household Cleaners – most cleaning products are chock full of chemicals and can be expensive to boot. Why not try some natural cleaning products or try your hand at making your own. Check out Wellness Mama’s 19 Natural Cleaning Tips for some easy “how to” advice.
Skin: Sweat more, live longer!
Sweat glands in the skin play a crucial role in eliminating toxins and excess minerals from the body. We naturally release 3.4 fluid ounces of sweat every day but you can up your detox game by increasing your perspiration.
- Exercise – Moving your body increases bowel regularity, promotes circulation of blood and lymph, increases perspiration and helps release toxins from stored fat. Exercise is arguably one of the best ways to boost your body’s detoxification processes.
- Sauna – Fat just under the skin is used by the body to store toxins. One way to access that fat and stimulate the release of toxins is by introducing heat. Using a sauna is a great way to relax while increasing your detoxification. Saunas aren’t for everyone so follow these safe sauna practices outlined by Harvard Medical School.
Every day your body works hard to heal itself and eliminate harmful toxins. The steps above can help you help your body stay healthy for years to come.