Detoxing is the process of removing harmful or unwanted toxins from the body and it’s a process that we can all benefit from – whether old or young, sick or healthy. During the detoxification process, you not only work to remove toxins from your body, you take care to not introduce any new toxins, either.
There are generally 2 different ways to go about detoxing. The first is through a short detox or “cleanse” that usually lasts between 3 and 7 days. This type of detox is more intense and is primarily for the short term.
The second type – and the focus of this post – is detoxing by way of introducing new, healthier habits into your everyday life and removing harmful ones as they relate to food and lifestyle. This type of detox is more moderate and made for the long-term.
Browse through different sections of the post below, or jump straight down to the 15+ Ways to Detox Your Body.
- Health Benefits of Detoxing
- Ways to Detox Your Body on a Daily Basis
- Foods that Naturally Detox Your Body and Mind
- FAQs About Detoxing
Health Benefits of Detoxing
The list of health benefits to your body and mind when you embark upon a detox are near endless! And, if you incorporate regular detoxification into your daily habits by way of lifestyle and diet, the benefits are compounded and will grow exponentially over time.
Below is a basic list of some of the most common, helpful benefits of detoxing. We also put together a more comprehensive article dedicated to the subject here: Healthy Benefits of Detoxing.
- Boosts energy
- Leads to clearer thinking
- Better heart health
- Reduces acid reflux
- Slows Aging
- Gives you healthier, shinier hair
- Helps you to lose weight
- Increases strength of immune system
- Removes harmful toxins from the body
- Promotes better looking, healthier skin
- Balances your hormones
- Helps get rid of bad breath
For more information, read: 14 Benefits of Detoxing Your Body
Ways to Detox Your Body on a Daily Basis
#1: Start Your Day with Lemon Water
This is something I’ve personally been doing for years and can’t imagine not starting my day with it.
Lemons are a powerful aid in the detoxification process. Their structure is similar to that of the body’s natural digestive juices, so when you ingest lemons, you trick your liver into producing additional bile.(1) This bile helps to move food through your digestive tract more efficiently – reducing gas, bloating, indigestion and also more quickly ridding your body of harmful toxins.
The best way to consume lemon water is at room temperature. You’ll have to adjust for your tolerance of lemon in water, but I recommend the juice from half of a lemon in a 12 oz. glass. I like to throw the lemon in my water so the additional juices are allowed to seep out, but if it’s easier for you to drink without it, feel free to remove the lemon rind after squeezing – you’ll still get the majority of the juice in your water.
#2: Dry Skin Brushing
If you’re like me and love back scratches, then you’ll have no problem incorporating dry skin brushing into your daily routine. Each morning, before you get into the shower or start your day, take a dry skin brush and brush your entire body (this should only take a few minutes).
The brushing will not only feel good, but it will remove dead skin cells, which encourages new skin cell growth.
Dry brushing also increases circulation and activates your lymphatic system, both of which will help to more efficiently drain toxins that have built up in your body.
#3: Sip on Some Herbal Tea
The health benefits of tea are numerous. The antioxidants found in most teas help to destroy free radicals and prevent them from causing damage to cells throughout your body.
Red Clover (Read more: Benefits of Red Clover Herb) tea is an excellent choice for loading up on antioxidants. It also acts as a strong expectorant, which means it helps to clear the lungs of excess phlegm and other toxins.
Ginger tea helps to aid the body in digestion, stimulates circulation and helps to remove toxins found within the liver and color.
Green tea is another amazing choice for a detox tea. The polyphenols found in green tea can help prevent and treat several conditions including digestive issues, certain types of cancers and liver disease.(2)
#4: Stop Using Harmful Cleaning Products
The list of harmful cleaning products has become quite expansive. Companies have sacrificed their users health and put people at risk for all types of damage with the harmful chemicals they include in their products.
The Environmental Working Group put together a hall of shame list which includes harmful cleaning products that you may be using for everyday chores around your house and yard.
Some of these cleaning products have been banned abroad or in more progressive states like California, but are still being sold and used in many other states throughout the US. Stop using these harmful cleaning products and your home will be a much healthier environment, free of chemical toxins that can damage your body.
#5: Make Sure You Get Enough Dietary Fiber
Lack of fiber leads to constipation and hard, irregular bowel movements in most people. Since going #2 is a form of detoxification, the more efficient you can make this process, the better it is for your body.
When you’re not having healthy bowel movements, waste is hanging on somewhere inside your body. Adding more fiber into your diet does several things for your body:
- Fiber serves as “food” for healthy bacteria in your digestive tract that break down toxins, so give them what they need to keep on fighting.(3)
- Soluble fiber (found in oats, fruit, nuts and certain vegetables) helps to regulate blood glucose levels and lowers cholesterol. It’s also the type of fiber that helps you feel more full for a longer period of time, preventing you from overeating.(4)
- Insoluble fiber (such as whole wheat, whole grains, broccoli and tomatoes) speeds up the removal process of stool and toxins, making your intestinal tract a healthy, happy place.
#6: Get Better Sleep
Sleep is your body’s natural rejuvenation process. Your tired body and mind can only repair themselves through deep, uninterrupted sleep. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, your body is never going to be able to efficiently handle the internal tasks it needs to perform on a daily basis.
Stop watching TV and using your electronic devices at least 2 hours before bedtime, and never use them in bed. The artificial light and extra brain power needed to focus on electric devices will keep your mind and body wired to stay awake.
We also wrote an in-depth post on natural ways to beat insomnia and get better sleep.
#7: Invest in a Juicer or Smoothie Machine
Juices and smoothies are an excellent way to start your day. When you combine healthy fruits and vegetables into a single drink, you’re loading your body up with the key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs to work as efficiently as possible.
Make sure you include healthy greens such as kale, arugula, chard and spinach into your juices or smoothies for maximum effect.
If you don’t have the equipment and aren’t ready to invest in it, I recommend Blue Print juices. They’re the best-tasting, healthiest juices in my experience and their ingredients are all organic. You can purchase them online or at Whole Foods and other specialty grocers.
#8: Sweat More
Sweating is one of the body’s natural mechanisms to detox. Your sweat is full of toxins and other waste that your body needs to eliminate on a regular basis, so why not help it out? Green Med Info summarized research from scientific studies which proved that the process of sweating helps to eliminate dangerous heavy metals and petrochemicals from our bodies.
The science-based evidence is there: sweating is good for our bodies in that it is a natural way to eliminate toxins.
Tip: Apart from regular exercise and physical activity, you can also sweat in a sauna.
#9: Watch Less TV
The connection between TV and detoxing has to do with your mental state while watching TV. When you’re watching TV, you’re being distracted. This can lead to “distracted eating” – overeating due to the fact that you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating.(5).
And of course, it doesn’t help that when watching TV, you’re inundated with ads for unhealthy foods and drinks with subliminal messaging that may influence you to make poor dietary decisions.
When you’re spending less time watching TV, you’ll be able to make better choices when it comes to your food.
#10: Ditch the Air Fresheners
Air fresheners offer a quick, easy and cheap fix to covering up unwanted odors and giving your home that “just cleaned” smell. But at what cost to your health? Numerous scientific studies have looked into the dangers of air fresheners and scented candles and the results are pretty scary.
In 2009, South Carolina State University published a study that determined long-term exposure to certain types of chemicals found in scented candles could cause damage to humans and result in poor indoor air quality. The study concluded that the release of these chemicals into the air could “lead to the development of certain health risks like cancer, common allergies and even asthma.”
In 2014, Scientific American published a study that looked at the potential harmful effects of regular exposure to air fresheners. Researchers found that “…women who were exposed to high levels of two common phthalates (di-n-butyl phthalatebutyl and benzl phthalate) during pregnancy were more likely to have children who developed asthma.”
#11: Detox Bath
Stepping into a bath with nothing more than hot water will help to relax your muscles, ease tension and reduce stress.
Add some Epsom salt into your next bath and the benefits will multiply. Epsom salt by itself has many health benefits including the regulation of enzymes, improving nutrient absorption, reducing tightness in muscles and joints and reducing inflammation.
When you combine Epsom salt with the hot water in your bath, it will act as a natural detox – helping to draw out and remove toxins and other metabolic waste in your body.
The directions are simple: Mix in 2 cups of Epsom salt and a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a tub full of hot water. Get in, relax and sit for 20-30 minutes or until you can no longer stand the wrinkles on your skin!
#12: Oil Pulling
This is another technique that should be done first thing in the morning – before you eat or drink anything – for optimum effect. I personally prefer to use coconut oil with this technique, but you can also use sunflower seed oil or sesame seed oil based on your own personal tastes.
Take a teaspoon of the oil and put it in your mouth. Swish it around in your mouth for up to 10 minutes, then spit everything out and rinse your mouth out with water. Try not to swallow any of the oil, as it’s working to extract bacteria and toxins in your mouth. You want to get rid of these, not send them back into your body!
Note: with denser oils such as coconut, it will take a little time to melt down to liquid form after first putting it in your mouth.
Although there isn’t much concrete science behind this technique, there are studies that have been done to research the benefits of Ayurvedic remedies such as oil pulling when it comes to oral health.
#13: Eat More Cruciferous Vegetables
The phytonutrients found in cruciferous vegetables have numerous benefits for your health. In particular, they have anti-inflammatory properties, help promote liver detoxification and contain powerful antioxidants that help keep harmful free radicals in check.
Cruciferous vegetables that can be used for detox on a daily basis include broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, rapini, arugula, watercress, mustard greens, radishes, collard greens and more.
You really can’t get enough cruciferous vegetables in your diet, but at an absolute minimum, you should aim for 2 servings per day. 1 serving = 1 cup of raw vegetables.
#14: Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods should be avoided because of the harmful process(es) which they go through before they make their way onto your plate. Foods are processed for a few different reasons – to add flavor, add color and to increase their shelf life. While those may sound like good things for your food, the truth is that they’re far from it because these processes are generally carried out with artificial (chemical) compounds.
An article on processed foods by Dr. Mercola states that the 7 most harmful ingredients in processed foods are synthetic trans fats, artificial preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors and artificial sweeteners. And here’s why:
Avoiding processed foods at all costs will go a long way to detoxing your body and ensuring you keep harmful toxins from being reintroduced in the future.
#15: Learn to Relax
Reducing stress, anxiety and depression from your everyday life can do wonders for your mental state. When we talk about detoxing, we’re not only referring to cleaning up your body, but also your mind. Work to incorporate helpful stress-busting techniques such as yoga and meditation into your everyday life.
If you’re more outgoing, try signing up for a local yoga class – with the growing popularity of yoga, I’m sure there’s a studio nearby.
If you prefer to start out simple and do something on your own, I recommend guided meditation. There are many free apps out there (some with paid options for additional features) that will help you learn to meditate and practice mindfulness on a daily basis. My personal favorite is the Calm app.
#16: Eat More Probiotics
The longer waste from food hangs around in your digestive tract, the better chance it has to create an environment full of toxins. Your body needs to expel waste and toxins from your digestive tract as soon as possible; that’s where probiotics come into play.
Probiotics are an amazing source of healthy gut bacteria that will have your digestive system running as efficiently as possible.
While probiotics are an excellent addition to any diet, they’re especially helpful for those suffering from Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.(6)
Healthy sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi (Korean-style cabbage), plain yogurt, greek yogurt and kefir.
#17: Choose Organic Foods
Organic foods are held to higher standards than non-organic foods. When it comes to organically-grown fruits and vegetables, there are restrictions on using certain types of harmful chemicals and pesticides for fertilizer, pest control and preservation. If there are less chemicals used during the growing process, there will be less chemicals that get put into your body when it’s time to eat.
Although organic food is typically more expensive than its more popular counterpart, choosing organic goes a long way to ensuring you’re not loading up your body with toxins leftover from the growing process.
Foods that Naturally Detox Your Body and Mind
- Dandelions (Read our complete write-up on the health benefits of Dandelion Greens)
- Olive Oil
FAQs About Detoxing
Is detoxing safe?
Detoxing is generally considered to not only be safe, but extremely health and beneficial. The only issue where detoxing can potentially be unsafe is when you go to extremes with the detox and deprive your body of key nutrients over a long period of time.
You can incorporate habits into your daily life to help detox or you can choose to do a short (3, 4 or 5 day cleanse, for example) detox.
A full-on cleansing detox is not something that should become your sole diet for the long term, as it can greatly restrict the number of calories your body needs and also potentially deprive it of key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
What are the side effects of detoxing?
Initially, there are typically some side effects to detoxing. You’re ridding your body of toxins and depriving it of substances like caffeine and sugar that its used to getting on a regular basis.
Common, typically short-term side effects of a detox are headache, nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. These should all pass within 2-3 days for most people, sometimes sooner.
Will detoxing cause frequent trips to the bathroom?
Your body expels toxins through sweating, urination and bowel movements – so yes, you will notice a change in your bathroom habits at the onset of a detox. If you are especially toxic, you may have a few large bowel movements within the first few days that are loose/runny.
A few instances of these events is completely normal; it’s just your body’s way of flushing out toxins that have built up in your system over the previous days, weeks and months.
Within a week or so, your body should start to adjust and your trips to the bathroom will become more regular and predictable.
How do I know if my detox is working?
The before and after of detoxing will become noticeable within just a few days; within a week or so, the changes will become even more clear.
The earliest signs that your body is detoxing: increased energy, clearer thinking, healthier bowel movements, less gas and bloating and better sleep.
Over time, you’ll notice that you’re getting sick less and less and will have a better sense of well-being and mental clarity.
Is detoxing easy?
Most people have trouble going through their first detox and working to implement regular habits of detoxification into their everyday lives.
For starters, the initial detox is going to create general withdrawal symptoms. With a detox, you’re going to be taking away many of the processed foods and chemicals to which your body has grown accustomed.
Your diet – the foods you consume, how you consume them and when you consume them – are going to be different from what you’re used to. Whenever you embark on a quest to change your life and implement new, healthier habits, it’s going to be a process that isn’t always easy – but one that’s most definitely worth it.
How do I know if I need to detox?
Although anyone can benefit from a detox, some people’s body’s are crying out for it more desperately than others. Some common symptoms that there are too many toxins in your body include:
- Overheating and/or sweating
- Bloating and gas
- Insomnia (Read our in-depth guide to getting better sleep)
- Extreme mood swings
- Sneezing/runny nose
- Memory loss
- Sluggishness/Fatigue/General “lazy” feeling