Have you noticed how many people get sick after Christmas and Easter and other holiday periods? While prolonged or high stress certainly has a negative effect on immune function, the main reason people fall ill with colds, flus and similar ailments post silly season is that the body has called detox time! Think about all the symptoms of a cold of flu – fever, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sweating – all are signs of detoxification, it’s the body doing what it can to expel what is clogging up your lymphatic system and loading up your liver.
So, what can you do when the holidays, and the gustatory over indulgences come to an end for another season?
By supporting your detox pathways you can avoid getting sick during / after the holidays. Too late for your holidays this year? It’s actually never too late to start. Supporting detoxification year round is crucial in our modern world.
Regardless of the time of year, or whether there’s a silly season coming up or not, consider adopting the below simple tips to give yourself and extra detox boost, and notice how your energy, skin and sleep improves as a result.
- Starting with the basics – drink more (clean) water! Start each day with 2 glasses of warm water with the juice of half a lemon and a tiny pinch of good quality sea salt or Himalayan Rock Salt. (If you’d like to get 15% of the same filter system I use at home and work, go to Waters Co Australia and use discount code HelenP2016)
- Grab a herbal liver and kidney cleansing tea from your health food store – there are plenty of brands with numerous blends available, so pick one that appeals and drink 1-3 cups daily. Make sure there’s no added flavours (even if it says natural flavour in the ingredients).
- If you have a juicer at home, get juicing, especially veggies and lemons. Favour green veggies – kale, cavolo nero, parsley, wheat grass, spinach, coriander (cilantro), etc. add a little carrot and or beetroot to sweeten it up, some lemon for liver and immune function and some ginger to stimulate your circulation, getting all the nutrients in your juice distributed to your cells quicker! Fresh turmeric can also be juice for an anti-inflammatory liver loving hit.
- Sweat! A great way to detox, whether it be in a sauna, in the gym, hiking up a hill or 3, going for a swim or a ride, hot yoga, or whatever else takes your fancy. Exercise has a benefit over sauna’s in that you’re also boosting your circulation which will help your lymphatic system to move out the “gunk” in your cells.
- Eat lots of veggies and some fruit. Depending on what hemisphere you’re in, those in colder climates may do better with simple broths and veggie soups, made with or without homemade bone broths – very nourishing – and delicious! Those in warmer climates will do well to include a larger portion of raw veggies and fruit.
- Eat heaps of cruciferous veggies. This group includes broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, cavolo nero cauliflower, collard greens, bok choy and water cress. These foods are high in a compound called di-indolylmethane (DIM) which supports phase two of liver functions. Broccoli sprouts contain up to 100x more of the detoxifying and cancer protective sulforaphane that fully grown broccoli does.
- Be sure you’re getting enough zinc and selenium – both these minerals are involved in many detocification pathways, including methylation, and help to deactivate toxic chemical snstances in the body. The best sources of zinc are oysters, beef and sesame seeds (tahini). The best sources of selenium are found in Brazil nuts.
- Add a teaspoon or two of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to water 20 minutes before meals to stimulate your digestion and liver function.
- Introduce fermented veggies into your diet. Start low and go slow. A teaspoon per day is a good place to start, slowly increasing the amount you have until you are having a dessertspoon or two with each meal. A great source of enzymes and probiotics to assist your gut, your immune system and your detoxification capabilities.
The more regularly we clean the house we live in, the easier it is to maintain our health throughout the year, and in doing so avoid the crashes of blood sugar and immune function that often happen after a holiday season.