How To Naturally Detox Your Body

It doesn't involve juice cleanses or restrictive diets.

The word "detox" may bring images of juice cleanses, the master cleanse, water fasting, or some other type of dietary regimen that promises to "flush toxins" out of your body or help you lose weight quickly.

However, most detox diet and juice cleanse claims are not accurate. Your body does not need a special diet to detoxify itself—that comes naturally—and some regimens can even be dangerous. Any weight you lose might come back unless you modify your lifestyle.

Your body can remove toxins with or without your help—no special pills, juicers, or cayenne are needed. Here's how you can help your body boost its natural detox system.

Two young woman preparing healthy breakfast in modern kitchen


Why Should You Opt for Natural Detoxification?

Many popular detox plans can require drastic lifestyle changes that are not great for your body or overall health.

"[Detox plans] often involve restrictive eating patterns and usually minimize calories," Jessica Cording, CDN, a dietitian, health coach, and author of "The Little Book of Game-Changers: 50 Healthy Habits For Managing Stress & Anxiety," told Health. "The problem with these detoxes is, at best, they're not very effective and, at worst, they're dangerous."

Often, detoxes focus on "short-term detoxing." Many detoxes do not emphasize reintroducing healthy foods or developing an eating pattern that helps you support overall health and well-being, said Cording. Instead, you can fare much better with your health by allowing your body to detox on its own.

"The body has various ways of detoxing itself," Rudolph Bedford, MD, a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., told Health. "That includes the liver, which works to break down various toxins and elements that you consume, allowing you to eliminate them, and the kidneys, which metabolize and excrete many things."

Your liver and kidneys are not the only organs that help remove toxins from your body. Even your skin and lungs help your body get rid of toxins, pointed out Dr. Bedford.

How To Naturally Detox Your Body

Your body can detoxify itself in many ways without a specific, depriving diet. Here are some ideas.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Whole foods packed with nutrients are your best bet to keep your body clean internally. Fiber-rich foods like fruit, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean protein, and probiotics can aid gut and liver function. Any waste gets out of your system as soon as possible.

Try cutting out fried, sugary, processed foods and red meat to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Take It Easy With Alcohol

When you drink it, alcohol "jumps to the front of the metabolic pathway" so that your body can process it quickly and get it out of your body, said Cording. 

"By the time your body gets to the other things you've eaten, it's already been working hard and isn't functioning at its peak performance," added Cording.

Your body processes alcohol mainly through your liver and a little through your breath.

"That's why you can smell alcohol on a person's breath—it's the ethanol leaving their lungs," said Dr. Bedford.

Your body must work hard to process alcohol, directly impacting the organs that naturally detoxify your body. Keeping your drinking to a minimum can help support your body's natural cleansing processes, advised Dr. Bedford.

Swap Added Sugars for Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Excess sugar and processed foods can lead to weight gain over time. Those foods also link to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), said Dr. Bedford.

In contrast, antioxidants are artificial or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage that lead to chronic diseases. One of the main things that antioxidants do is offset free radical damage caused by highly unstable molecules.

Free radicals can cause "oxidative stress," which is a process that can trigger cell damage. Oxidative stress links to many chronic diseases, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Eye disease

Try loading up on antioxidant foods, which include several fruits and veggies, advised Cording.

Consider Taking Prebiotics

Prebiotics are nutrients that help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. Your gut bacteria can break down prebiotics into their natural components, like fatty acids, which benefit organs outside the gut.

To keep things moving—and detoxing—in your gut, try eating enough fiber, drinking plenty of fluids, regularly exercising, and loading up on prebiotics, advised Cording.

You can get prebiotics naturally by eating more foods like:

  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Beans
  • Whole-grain foods

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated will help your kidneys flush out toxins, said Dr. Bedford. Switch things up with tea if you want something different than water. Some evidence suggests that green tea may benefit some risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

Get Moving

Sweating is one way for your body to safely and effectively eliminate heavy metals like nickel, lead, copper, arsenic, and mercury. One study published in 2022 found that sweating from dynamic exercises, like running, may get rid of more toxins than sweating in a sauna.

What's more, exercise has mental health benefits. Staying active helps you feel less anxious and depressed and improves your health.

Care for Your Skin

Dry-brushing skin with a soft brush before your bath or shower can help your skin look and feel better if done correctly. By mechanically exfoliating, you can remove dead skin cells, which may smoothen your skin texture. In contrast, exfoliating may increase the risk of acne and redness if you do so too harshly.

Some evidence suggests that adding Epsom salts to your bath may help cleanse your body inside and out. For example, researchers have found that the skin might absorb minerals in Epsom salt, namely magnesium. In that way, your body may reap the benefits of magnesium, which aids muscle and nerve function, controls blood sugar, and regulates blood pressure. A hot Epsom salt bath can make you feel relaxed, as well.

Get Good Sleep

Getting quality sleep is essential for keeping your health on track. Sufficient rest will help reduce stress and inflammation so your body can function at its best. 

Here's how much sleep you need by age in years:

  • Ages 18–60: At least seven hours
  • Ages 61–64: Seven to nine hours
  • Age 65 and older: Seven to eight hours

You can use sleep hygiene practices to help you get a good night's rest, such as:

  • Create a sleep haven by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, quiet, and free of technology screens.
  • Stick to a standard bedtime that allows you to get at least seven hours of sleep nightly.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, including on the weekends.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before you go to bed.

A Quick Review

You may consider detoxing if you need a reboot to get on a healthy path. Detoxes and cleanses are not necessary since your body detoxifies itself.

Still, you can help your body boost its natural processes and eliminate toxins by adjusting your lifestyle. Eating nutritious foods and reducing or eliminating added sugars and alcohol will go a long way. Enhance your body's natural detox by getting enough water, rest, and exercise.

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