Laura Thompson is a local Nutritional Therapist, Acupuncturist and creator of the Healthy Gut Plan, offering advice on a range of health issues
This time of the year, many of us are feeling a bit lack lustre and sluggish. The overindulgence of rich food ,alcohol and lack of activity has taken its toll. So should we detox or is it all a con?
Basically our bodies are constantly detoxing but sometimes they need a little help. Detoxification basically means cleansing the blood. The main detoxification organs are the liver, kidneys, intestines, lymphatic system and of course the skin.
When these organs become compromised, toxins aren’t properly filtered and this can have a negative impact on the your body.
Toxins can affect our ability to fight free radicals, which effectively accelerate the aging process and damage DNA. They can have also have an impact on your energy and mental alertness causing brain fog.
Hormonal imbalance particularly PMT (Pre-Menstrual Tension) can be a symptom of toxic overload, particularly in the liver and intestines. This is mainly because the liver is responsible for breaking down excess hormones.
When the liver is congested, it isn’t breaking these hormones down, which can, in some cases, lead to an excess of oestrogen in the body leading to heavy periods, migraines and irritability.
Read also: Longford's Laura Thompson on attainable resolutions for a healthy new year
Here are my top tips for detoxing.
1. The most important thing to remember about detoxing is that the bowel should move everyday. If you suffer from constipation it will hinder your detox and may lead to skin breakouts and rashes. This time of year I see so many patients with rashes who have tried a detox without considering the bowel. Make sure you have enough fibre in the diet such as flaxseed, chia seeds or psyllium husks. Remember you need to drink plenty of water for these fibres to work and swell in the bowel.
2. Cut out the alcohol - there’s not much point cleansing the liver of toxins if you are going to reintroduce them again.
3. Choose wholefoods: your body will be able to digest and metabolise them easily making it easier for your body to naturally detox itself.
4. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water, green tea and hot lemon water or cider vinegar first thing in the morning. Cider vinegar or lemon water helps to stabilise sugar levels and boost metabolism.
5. Eliminate the rubbish: by this I mean the sugary snacks and over processed foods like take aways and crisps.
6. Practise mindful eating: it sounds fancy but it basically means you should engage your brain before eating. This helps digestion and helps you to know when you’re full avoiding overeating.
7. Move more: exercise is so important, particularly for the lymphatic system, and doesn’t have to be intense to be effective.
8. Avoid stress: when your body is stressed, it goes into fight or flight mode. This slows down detoxing, cleansing, digesting.
9. Sleep: getting enough sleep is vital for a healthy body. Remove all technology from the bedroom. Take an Epsom salts bath before bed or take some Magnesium. Another good remedy is L-Theanine and Lemon Balsam this is great for reducing stress.
Detoxing is a great way of focusing on improving our diets, encouraging us to eat healthier and be aware of what substances we are putting into our bodies.
However, it’s very important to do it properly - especially if you are extremely overweight or suffering from a chronic illness.
I offer a gentle six week detox programme in my clinic, which focuses on the major organs, but also includes a change in dietary habits and lifestyle. For more information, call 043 33 47776.