Detoxing: Get healthy inside
It’s a word that is all-the-rage and still a mystery. Detox? Or not? And if so, how? The answers are as many as the debates on whether or not it is a good idea.
While women regularly clean and exfoliate their skin, whether or not to take extra measures to clean the insides of our bodies is up for debate.
Some say the body is a well-oiled detoxing machine and that feeding it the foods it needs and practicing common-sense health measures will strengthen and enable it to naturally rid unwanted toxins.
Others say that in a world filled with pollutants where diets include unneeded chemicals, added measures to cleanse the organs, lymphatic system and colon aid in optimal health and digestion — especially with age.
Both camps agree that healthy foods aid in wellness. Some of the super foods tagged as detoxing heroes are cilantro, garlic, lemon, carrots, wheatgrass, brazil nuts, cinnamon, onions, pineapples and ginger to name a few. Each has its own strengths in addressing particular issues.
For those who want to know more, Lyn Sparks, wellness manager at Ever’man Natural Foods in downtown Pensacola, offers this advice: “We do cleanses to rid our bodies of pollutants from the environment — in the air, water and foods we eat,” says Sparks, who has worked at Ever’man for 13 years.
She says most people feel more energetic following a cleanse because the body is typically absorbing nutrients better.
Ever’man does not sell fasting cleanses. In fact, notes Sparks, “Our cleanses are gentle and you can go about your everyday tasks without a problem.”
She suggests starting with a one-week cleanse with a diet of healthy, organic foods, limited coffee and no alcohol. Many customers undergo cleanses regularly — often at the start of the season or twice a year.
“Many people do a cleanse to start a weight-loss program or if they want to change their eating habits. We sell a lot of cleanses after the holiday season when we have over indulged,” she notes.
Others regularly eat and drink their own concoctions — or purchase them — aimed at detoxing the body year-round.
“Many of our customers go to our juice bar on a regular basis where they can buy juices with spinach, kale, carrots, ginger, beets and wheatgrass,” she says.
Twist & Sweat
On the controversial topic of health, exercise is one of the few practices that unanimously remains a good guy. Specific to detoxing, sweating and twisting are thought by many to aid in ridding the body of unwanted toxins.
Since ancient times, saunas and other methods to induce sweating have been touted as important for optimal health.
For those who can tolerate the heat, hot yoga combines both heat and movement. Others may prefer cooler yoga practices while incorporating sweating in smaller doses.
Maria Pinochet, Ever’man Marketing & Member Services Manager, touts all forms of yoga, a 5,000-year-old practice, as helpful in regulating the body. This is particularly beneficial in our uber-busy society where relaxation and deep breathing may be in short supply.
“As breath is the foundation of every yoga class, the simple act of practicing deep breathing can help stimulate your organs and detoxifying systems, as well as reduce the effects of stress on the body,” notes Pinochet. “Since stress is so prevalent in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, and is also something that can affect everything from your digestive system to heart health, taking time to breathe deeply can vastly improve your daily health, as well as stimulate internal cleansing.”
Queen of the yoga poses for detoxing benefits are twists.
“Twists can help stimulate your digestive system, liver and kidney, all of which play a role in your body’s natural detoxifying systems. Twists are a common component of most yoga classes, and are a simple pose that you can add to your morning or evening health routine,” Pinochet notes.
Sparks recommends that anyone on medication should consult with their pharmacist before beginning a cleanse since medications may not be as effective during certain regimens.
Also, women who have heat-related issues should avoid hot yoga. For those who do practice it, should heart rate become elevated or breathing rapid, take a break.
In fact, some studios are offering “hot enough” yoga where temperatures are warm enough to promote stretching without extreme heat.
With all forms of detoxing, hydration is essential.