Seven safe and smart detoxing tips

Has an indulgent Christmas and a January full of BBQs and beers (or wining and dining) left your health a little worse for wear – and your New Year’s resolutions by the wayside? Then you may like the idea of giving your insides a break to detox and cleanse your body.

While many fad detoxing diets and products are available, there is certainly a safe way to go about it – and ‘juicing’ for two weeks straight isn’t it.

When carried out safely, a detox can improve your digestion and gut health, take a load off your cleansing organs (i.e. your liver and kidneys), boost your energy levels, give you clearer skin, and help you shed a few unwanted kilos. Importantly, detoxing can also highlight your eating habits – and, hopefully, help you change them for the better in the long run.

So, if you’re thinking about embarking on a cleanse, consider eliminating the usual culprits – that is, alcohol, caffeine, meat, sugar, gluten and dairy. Instead, focus on only eating wholefoods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, gluten-free whole grains (e.g. quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet and brown rice) and lots of water. Supplementing your coffee habit with herbals teas can also help to stave off any cravings.

But before you begin, here are seven safe and smart tips for detoxing:

  1. Start small. If this is your first time detoxing, try a three-day cleanse first, then work your way up to a seven days cleanse for your next one. Then, if you wish, follow with a two-week cleanse. But make sure you have at least a few months (about three to six) in between each one.
  2. Do your research before you detox. As mentioned earlier, many trendy detox diets exist. And just because it’s being advocated by someone famous, doesn’t mean that it’s safe. If unsure, get a health check-up and seek professional advice from a certified nutritionist.
  3. Check your calendar. Choose to detox over a period where you don’t have any functions and events – such as weddings and birthdays – that will interfere with your detox.
  4. Beware the ‘detox reaction’. Some people experience a reaction on the first few days of their cleanse, where they experience certain withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and diarrhoea. These usually last up to one to two days, so it’s important to stick with it.
  5. Listen to your body. Besides the detox reaction, you may feel tired and lethargic, as generally, you’re consuming fewer calories. So listen to your body and take on fewer activities; or stop the detox altogether if you are feeling too ill and lethargic, and see your doctor for a check-up.
  6. Supplement your detox.  While taking a break from certain foods can help to cleanse your body, there are many other deeds you can undertake to supplement the process. Consider taking a digital detox for a few days, doing activities that’ll make you sweat (e.g. exercise, sauna and hot yoga), getting enough sleep each night, and doing relaxation and breathing exercises.
  7. Have a post-cleanse plan. While tempting, it’s best not to celebrate your detox achievement with a hamburger and a few pints of beer. Have a think about how you’d like to break the cleanse – preferable something light and that’s not too far off your detox diet. Also, try to consider the cleanse as a mental jumpstart to healthier habits, aiming to minimise the likelihood of slipping back into your old ways.

Bonus tip: If you find you’re struggling to complete your detox, enlist help from a supportive friend or family member – one who’ll motivate you and keep you accountable. Even better, why not find someone to join you?

Would you try detoxing? Have you detoxed before? What was your experience? 

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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