Our systems are working hard day and night so why not give them a healthful, helping hand?

Hmm… detoxing. It seems so intuitive – why wouldn’t you want to give your body a break from all those pesky toxins that surround us? Yet it’s an incredibly divisive topic within the health and wellness community. Some say the body does a perfectly competent job of eliminating toxins all by itself. Others say bring out the wheat grass enemas! We’re going to apply the rule of common sense here. First, the reality is that most of us live imperfect lives – junk-rich diets, stressy jobs, exercise-unfriendly commutes and weekend binging. And the reality is that we really are surrounded by pesky chemicals, and yes, they do enter the bloodstreams. Our systems are working hard day and night so why not cut back on dietary nasties and give them a healthful, helping hand? A healthy, safe, common sense detox is based around avoiding toxins and gently helping the body do its own natural detoxing job. Here’s how:

1. Drink plenty of water. It flushes out the system

2. Exercise. It aids the circulatory and lymphatic systems and also helps the bowels do their job.

3. Choose a high fibre diet. Fibre keeps things moving along nicely in the bowels. Choose brown rice, bread and pasta over white to avoid sugar and insulin spiking, side-step hunger bangs and feel stronger emotionally.

4. Accept that caffeine and alcohol are not really your friends. Try green tea instead.

5. Choose organic foods. Who wants to consume pesticides?

6. Eat a colourful diet. Aim for 8-10 portions of different fruit and veg a day. Choosing plants of different colours mean we are more likely to consume a range of vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients. Our hunter gatherer ancestors ate a much bigger variety of foods than we do, so our bodies thrive on a more varied nutritional mix. Also, you can loosely group benefits by colour. For example, yellow-orange veg like carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato are rich in anti-oxidant carotenoids; cruciferous green veg like broccoli, kale or sprouts may contribute to how the body protects itself against oxidative stress.

7. Cook from scratch with quality ingredients. Food processing removes nutrients and enzymes; processed foods may be bulked up with cheap, fattening fillers or trans fats. Cook with good fats such as olive oil. Choose real butter over margarine.

8. Relax. Stress can have a damaging effect on the body. Take some ‘you’ time, go for a walk, whatever it takes.

A sensible, steady-as-she-goes, nutrient-rich detox might not be trendy or especially Instagramable but it is sustainable.