You've probably heard plenty about the wonders of juice cleanses and sugar detoxes, but is there any merit to them? What exactly does a cleanse or a detox do? And why should we (or shouldn’t we) be doing one?
Cleansing the liver
Firstly, let’s break down the term cleanse - what does it mean?
Cleansing: to rid of something unpleasant or defiling.
When we apply the term “cleansing” to our physical being, we refer to the removal of toxins and other nasties that build up inside our bodies, due to overworking of the liver.
The liver has to work hard to remove everything our bodies can’t use, such as artificial additives and colourings, excess sugar, alcohol and caffeine. When we overload it with these toxins, the liver can become congested. A great example of this is after a heavy night out - whether that be a few too many drinks or a 5-course meal, with extra dessert. As the alcohol, sugar, additives and more pass through our digestive system and find their way to the liver for processing, the liver simply can’t keep up.
As the liver is unable to get rid of all the waste, these toxins and poisons back up into the blood. As the blood travels around your body, it spreads the toxins and can have wide reaching effects. This is what is known as “dirty blood”, which can cause irritability, itchiness, skin rashes and nausea.
If you’re suffering from the above and feel as though you have perhaps been overdoing it for a while, then a cleanse might be your answer.
How do I do a proper cleanse?
We need to look after our livers. It’s not only the largest organ inside the body, but it does hundreds of jobs that are essential for your physical health. It fights infections and diseases, it processes food after digestion, it breaks down poisons and toxins and it cleans the blood.
This is why it’s so important to treat your liver with some respect and let it do its job, without overwhelming it. However, we’re only human - many of us will overindulge from time to time. Once we’ve recognised we’ve had a few too many glasses of pinot grigio over a long weekend, or perhap we’ve just eaten too much of the delicious mediterranean cuisine on our holidays, it’s time to cleanse.
You don’t need to spend a week surviving off just nothing but water and kale, but there are some key things to bare in mind to properly cleanse the body.
Ditch the toxins - it's recommended that you eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars, additives and saturated fats from your diet.
Add in some good stuff - eat plenty of green leafy vegetables as the fibre will help your body cleanse quickly.
Protect the liver - herbs like dandelion root and milk thistle (which we use in our t+ Detox blend) are traditionally used to help to protect and cleanse the liver.
Hydration - drink plenty of pure, clean, filtered water.
Limit the stress - try practicing mindfulness, meditation, yoga or journaling to manage any stress.
Take your vitamins - Vitamin C is often used to "flush" the body, whilst vitamin B2 (a.k.a Riboflavin) can help with liver function, by contributing to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
Alkalise your diet - balance out the acidity with alkaline foods such as fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables. Try adding in a green smoothie for breakfast to increase your vegetable intake.
How often should I cleanse?
That’s really up to you. It’s important to listen to your body and make sure you’re adhering to its needs. If you’re experiencing negative symptoms, such as those of dirty blood, then perhaps it’s time to schedule in a cleanse for a few days or weeks.
Beyond our own personal needs, many people like to practice cleansing during the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. These are days of balance, when we have exactly 12 hours of light and dark all over the world. These days signal times of change and are often referred to as nature's own cleansing periods.
STILL GOT QUESTIONS? WELL, YOU’RE IN LUCK!
Our in house nutritional therapist Penny is here to answer your questions.
If you want to know anything more about cleansing, the liver or anything relating to today's blog, you can ask Penny.
Comment down below, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on our social media. On Wednesday, Penny will be answering them on our Facebook, live. So tune in Wednesday lunchtime to get the answer to your question – and we’ll post up the video for those who can’t watch live.