FEELING sluggish and lethargic? Bothered by recurrent colds, flu, dull skin and the occasional breakout of pimples? These are all signs that you need to support your body's elimination system.
Waste matter is eliminated from the body through the liver, kidneys, skin, bowels and lungs. The clearance system can become overloaded when flooded with toxins.
Sources of toxins are from pesticides, food additives, agricultural contaminants in meat, crops, dairy products, heavy metals in fish, air and water pollutants.
Our body also produces toxins from the breakdown of food. If food is not properly digested, it will encourage the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast, which also release their toxic by-products.
There are many different types of detox programmes and they vary according to the needs of the individual. They all share the same objective - to flush out toxins, restore nutrients requirements and support the body's eliminating systems.
Avoid adding more toxins to the system. This calls for the avoidance of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, processed food with additives, flavourings and refined sugar.
The diet should incorporate fresh, whole organic food, greens, multi- coloured fruits, plenty of purified water, lean meat (such as chicken or turkey breast) and whole grain.
A high-fibre diet increases both the frequency and quantity of bowel movements and decreases the absorption of toxins from waste products. For quick and temporary relief of constipation, herbs like cascara and marshmallow are gentle-acting laxatives.
Toxins produced by harmful bacteria and yeast in the gut lead to bloating, candida (yeast) infection, gas, diarrhoea and/or constipation, allergies, skin conditions and a host of other problems.
It is important then to get rid of these troublemakers by re-balancing gut flora with probiotics supplement.
Probiotics are live microbial food supplements that confer health benefits to the host by preventing and suppressing populations of harmful bacteria, aid in digestion of food, lowers cholesterol and manufactures many vitamins including the B-complex vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin K.
The Lactobacillus strains help to digest proteins and lactose, which are of great benefit to those who have lactose intolerance to dairy products.
Some of the friendly bacteria like the Bifidobacteria strains are able to break down harmful toxins in the gut that may cause cancer.
To facilitate the detoxification processes within the liver, it is necessary to reduce liver overload and encourage recovery and healing in the liver.
Nutrition and herbs can play an important role in keeping the liver healthy and prevent it from damage.
Anti-free radical nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium protect the liver cells from free radical damage.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can destroy cellular structures unless they are effectively mopped up.
The most potent liver protective herb is milk thistle (Silybum marianum) containing a mixture of antioxidants collectively referred to as silymarin.
Fat-soluble waste products are usually eliminated from the body via bile. Human and animal studies both have shown that dandelion (Taraxecum officinale) has a direct effect on the liver by increasing the flow of bile, thus aiding in better removal of toxins.
Dandelion is usually combined with milk thistle for improved liver functions.
Tips to enhance detoxification:
* Reduce dairy products, animal meat and avoid junk food. Add more fresh organic fruits and vegetables as they contain fibre that help us eliminate toxins naturally.
* Drink more fluids, particularly purified water and fresh-squeezed juices. They help flush toxins from your body.
* Try a liquid diet - broths, clear soups, water and juices - for a full day once a week.
* Drink herbal teas like green tea and peppermint to promote urination and elimination of faeces.
* Regular bowel movements help prevent toxins from building up in the digestive tract.
* Take a steam bath, sit in a sauna or get a massage to loosen toxins from fat cells and move them out of your body.
* Relax or meditate at least five minutes each day.
* Exercise to improve better blood and lymph circulation to eliminate toxins through the skin and lungs.
By Yam Cher Seng