In the midst of spring cleaning kitchens and bedrooms, it's not such a bad idea to start 'spring cleaning' your body as well.
It's been a long winter, which means few of us had much exposure to sun (and if we're being honest, exercise), and probably turned to a lot more heavy comfort foods.
"Skin, hair and overall alertness are all outward signs that the body is impacted by a change in season," says Kim McQueen, a naturopathic physician based in Victoria, B.C.. "It only makes sense that changes happening on the inside of the body are equally as impactful."
The word detox might be something you hear after holidays full of heavy drinking and eating, but it doesn't have to be such a scary word — or include unnatural regimens like living on cabbage soup or only drinking juice. McQueen says simple things like drinking more lemon water or just adding more fresh fruit and veggies to your diet are all ways you can flush out the bad and bring in the good this spring.
Of course, crash detox diets aren't something health experts recommend. The Mayo Clinic notes detox diets or fasting diets aren't good in the long run, and making sure your body has everything it needs through simpler methods, like eating wholesome and less processed foods is the safer route to take.
Here are McQueen's tips on 10 things you can do this spring to get healthier, get more energy and flush out your liver — without going to extremes.
How To Give Your Body A Springtime Detox
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Omega-3 essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and are necessary to take in pill (or food) form because our bodies don't make them. For the best sources, try fish oil or algae and flax oil if you are vegan.
Are You Getting Your Vitamins?
Daily B vitamins provide energy, especially during this time of the year. Getting your B vitamins will also destress you and balance your overall mood. Brewer’s yeast and whole grains are rich in B vitamins while meats are high in B12.
Add New Herbs And Spices To Your Kitchen
As you spring clean your pantry, make sure you leave some room for some detoxifying spices and herbs. Dandelion, turmeric, milk thistle, and nettle all support the liver by circulating nutrients.
Get That Good Dairy Stuff
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacter bifidus (two complicated names that refer to two strains of good bacteria) keep the digestive tract and immune system healthy all year round. In addition to supporting good health, probiotics produce vitamins that assist with digestion. If you're lacking in the probiotic department this month, grab some Kefir (pictured here), kombucha or yogurt during your next grocery store run.
Need Of Those Rays
Get outside! Sunlight converts cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D. It’s difficult to get enough of the right sun exposure (especially in the winter) to provide the body with adequate vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and best consumed as supplements or through foods like eggs, salmon and soy.
Eat More Bitter Foods
Lemon and bitter greens like endive, arugula and peppermint all help with digestion, encouraging the production of stomach acid and the release of bile. If you've been feeling constipated or bloated these past few months, it may be time to start eating more bitter foods. For something simple, start your day with a 1/2 of a lemon squeezed into a mug of warm water.
Hop On The Organic Meat Bandwagon
Try to moderate exposure to toxins found in animal-sourced foods. If you eat meat, opt for meat that's free of antibiotics and hormones — just make sure you read these labels on the packaging.
Eat More Soluble Fibres
Eating soluble fibre helps to keep you full while slowing digestion to balance your blood sugar. As soluble fibre moves down the digestive tract it absorbs water and helps the body eliminate hormones and cholesterol. Try foods like avocados, kidney beans, peaches, prunes or oat bran.
Head To The Gym
If your New Year's resolution ended in, well, January, springtime is the best time to get active again. Not only will working out give you more energy, but your body and mind can destress as well.
Health permitting, saunas and exercising are also great ways to rid toxins from your body.
Eat Fresh Fruits And Veggies
Switch things up and reach for colourful vegetables and fruits throughout the day. Buying organic fruits and veggies limits toxin exposure, but there are some foods like avocados and watermelon that don't need be bought organic.