Rebecca Edwards, naturopath and lecturer at the College of Naturopathic Medicine offers her January detox advice
Many people feel that they have overindulged during the Christmas season.
Doing the rounds of Christmas parties, Christmas dinners and Christmas leftovers can cause lots of us to go into January feeling bloated, tired , a little down and somewhat toxic. Luckily there is a lot we can do to pep ourselves up using nutrition and natural health products.
Post-Christmas is a great time to have a ‘detox’ – assisting your body to cleanse itself of metabolic by-products and toxins which have accumulated over the festive season.
1. Avoid ‘toxic’ food
The first step is to avoid taking in any substances which will contribute to the body’s toxic load. This means staying away from alcohol, sugar, dairy and processed foods in general. Try to eat as ‘naturally’ as possible, consuming foods in as close to their natural state as you can.
Here’s a sample menu:
Morning snack: oatcakes spread with hummus
Lunch: mixed leaf salad containing chopped fresh vegetables, a hard-boiled free range egg and some lemon juice.
Afternoon snack: handful of mixed unsalted, raw nuts and seeds and a piece of fruit
Dinner: lentil and vegetable soup
This diet avoids foods which the body finds difficult to digest, such as meats and processed grains. Eating regularly is important to balance blood sugar levels (preventing energy fluctuations) and avoid cravings for carbohydrates and sweet things.
2. Drink water
Consume at least two litres of filtered water throughout the day. Avoid caffeine – rather than coffee, experiment with herbal teas. Nettle and dandelion are particularly good for de-toxing. Rooibos has a stronger taste and is full of antioxidants.
3. Look after your liver – try some Milk Thistle
Focusing on the liver is an important part of a detox. The liver is the organ which acts as a filter, trapping and processing any ingested toxins. Therefore it is crucial to support the liver during any kind of detox programme. This can be done by increasing the amount of liver-friendly foods consumed – dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts and eggs.
Supplements can be very beneficial to boost and support liver function. A herb called Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) has been clinically proven to increase liver detoxification pathways and protect the health of the liver. B vitamins are also crucial to liver health, and taking a high-dose multivitamin can help detox. Look for one with about 50mg of each of the B vitamins.
4. Sleep well
Getting enough sleep is also key to good health and healing. When you are at rest, your body is doing its regeneration and repair work. Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours sleep a night and avoid keeping late hours – there is an old saying that an hour’s sleep before midnight is worth two hours after midnight.
Don’t forget that exercise is important to boost metabolism and release mood-lifting endorphins.
You should try and stick to a detox plan for at least two weeks - see how you get on and discover what a difference it makes to you!
The above information is a guideline only. For a treatment designed especially for your needs see a qualified naturopath.