Forget colonics and ultra-low-cal juice fasts. If you want to clear out toxins and boost your overall health, there are smarter and safer ways to do it. Here are five expert-approved tactics that are guaranteed to make you feel like a better, fresher version of yourself.
Sweat it out
âSaunas have been used as part of detox protocols in integrative medicine for decades,â says Susan S. Blum, M.D., assistant clinical professor of preventive medicine at theÂ Icahn School of MedicineÂ at Mount Sinai in New York and author ofÂ The Immune System Recovery Plan. Far infrared saunas (which mimic the sunâs rays, minus the UV radiation) may be especially helpful because they heat up bodily tissue more effectively than traditional saunas, she explains. As your body gets hotter and blood flow increases, toxins that are stored in body fat get released. Those might include BPA (which is found in many plastics), pesticide residue, and both legal and not-so-legal drugs.
If youâre currently trying to detox, aim to spend 10 to 15 minutes in a sauna two to three times a week. âMake sure you drink enough water and stay hydrated,â says Blum, who recommends that sauna newbies start with just five minutes at a time. If you have a medical condition involving your lungs or heart, play it safe and check with your doctor beforehand. Same goes for anyone who has low blood pressure or tends to get light-headed easily.
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Take a breather
Deep breathingâespecially a technique calledÂ ujjayi breathingâmay help get rid of toxins in two ways. This technique builds heat in the body so you sweat toxins out and it can help eliminate excess carbon dioxide each time you exhale, says Sinda Anzovino, a Westchester, New York-based yoga instructor atÂ Yoga by Sinda,Â New York Sports Clubs, andÂ Life Time Athletic. To begin the process, sit in a comfortable position and breathe in and out deeply through your nose. âWhile inhaling, imagine that your throat is opening as if you were yawning,â says Anzovino. âWhile exhaling, try to constrict the back of the throat and make a soft âhaâ sound as if youâre mimicking the sound of the ocean.â Silently count to five on each inhale and exhale; continue for five to 15 minutes. Afterward you should feel relaxed and energized.
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Snooze to lose
While youâre asleep your brainâs waste-removal team, called theÂ glymphatic system, is working overtime, according toÂ researchÂ from the University of Rochester Medical Center. Toxic proteins linked to Alzheimerâs disease build up while youâre awake, and getting adequate shut-eye is key to making sure theyâre cleared out as quickly and efficiently as possible. In fact, scientists discovered that the glymphatic system is nearly 10 times more active during sleep than while youâre up and about. Most adults need seven to nine hours a night, soÂ set your DVRÂ instead of staying up late to catch your favorite talk show or TV series.
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Soak in good health
Whether youâre really sick or just run-down, chances are youâre low on glutathione, says Mark Hyman, M.D., founder ofÂ The UltraWellness CenterÂ in Lenox, MA and author of the newÂ 10-Day Detox Diet.Â Your body naturally makes this protective antioxidant, which zaps free radicals and helps your liver filter out toxins. However, things like stress, illness, and environmental pollution all deplete your levels. One easy way to build them back up is to take a bath with Epsom salts, which contain sulfur. Sulfur boosts glutathione because glutathione is, in part, made up of sulfur molecules, explains Hyman. âEpsom salt also has magnesium, so it will help you relax and sleep.â Simply add two cups the next time you draw a hot bath.
Cruciferous veggies such asÂ broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and bok choy contain phytonutrients that also help your body produce more glutathione, sys Hyman. OtherÂ detox-friendly foodsÂ include dandelion greens, which improve the flow of bile in the liver; celery, which increases urine output; and cilantro, which Hyman says can help remove heavy metals such as mercury and lead from the body. Wash down whatever youâre munching on with a cup of decaf green tea to give your metabolism a kick and further aid in the eradication of unwanted toxins.
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âView each meal as a chance to heal,â says Hyman. âIf you eat the right foods, the body knows what to do so you can regain your health by eliminating problems such as fatigue, bloating and brain fog.â
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