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How to Cleanse Right
A diet cleanse can be incredibly good for your health -- if you do it right, that is. Nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos explains how to cleanse right.
A cleanse (or detox) is the process of clearing accumulated toxins and waste from your body. It doesn't have to involve crazy fasts or injesting nothing but lemon and water for days. It's about eliminating key stressors and toxins from your diet for a short period of time and adding certain nutrients and foods to give eliminative organs (e.g. liver, colon, skin, etc.) a little boost.
Which cleanse should I choose?
Eat clean and drink lots of water to help flush toxins from your system. Your diet should consist of clean, whole foods, including organic fruits and veggies, gluten-free grains (e.g. quinoa, brown rice, etc.), healthy fats and lean proteins. Try to consciously eliminate toxins, such as processed/refined foods, synthetic skin care products, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and highly allergenic foods (e.g. wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, corn and peanuts).
How long should I cleanse?
Most cleanses should last between one and three weeks. If you're trying a green-juice fast, you shouldn't go longer than one day.
A cleanse isn't all about deprivation. In fact, it's just as important to add certain nutrients to your diet cleanse to aid organs in flushing your system of toxins. Nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos helps you get the most out of your cleanse with these body boosters.
Chili Peppers for the...Lungs
With every exhalation, the lungs eliminate toxins from the body. However, environmental pollutants can build up in the lung tissue and create a thick coating of mucous, preventing optimal oxygen absorption.
Chilis break down and liquify that mucous, making it easier to flush out toxins. Capsaicin, the active component in chilis, also helps open up the capillaries and remove toxins via the sweat glands. Also try: ginger and/or onion.
Dandelion for the...Liver
One of the liver's primary functions is to remove and break down toxins in the blood. It also helps to process nutrients from the blood.
Dandelion is rich in chlorophyll, which helps to eliminate toxins from the liver. Both the leaves and root have detoxifying properties. Try adding the leaves to a salad or lightly steam them and drizzle with lemon, olive oil and freshly minced garlic. Also try: milk thistle, artichoke leaf, lemon and/or water.
Parsley for the...Kidneys
The kidneys filter waste from the blood to be excreted in the urine. They help keep the blood clean and regulate bodily fluids, blood pressure and pH.
Parsley helps to flush out toxins via the urine and is effective in the treatment and prevention of kidney stones, thanks to its diuretic properties. Also try: ginger, nettle and/or basil.
Flaxseed for the...Colon
The colon obviously carries a heavy load when it comes to toxin removal. Even mild consipation (e.g. one bowel movement per day) can lead to toxins being recycled and reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
Flaxseeds expand in your intestines with water and add bulk to stool to aid in its passage. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation of the intestinal tract. Also try: hemp and/or green juices.
Sea Salt for the...Skin
The skin is in fact the largest eliminative organ! Its health is essential to your overall well-being.
Sea salt helps to pull toxins from the body. Add 2 to 3 cups of sea salt to a warm bath and soak in it. Or try a foot bath instead. Also try: Epsom salt, peppermint, ginger, burdock root and/or dry-skin brushing.