When someone tells you they're doing a detox, what's the first thing that comes to mind? A green juice? If so, you can thank our recent national obsession with juicing. It's America's #1 prefered way to rid your body of toxins—with cold-pressed juice alone raking in $100 million annually—but also such a hotly debated practice that people's feelings about it are almost as polarizing as the Kardashians.
So, should you do a juice cleanse? The truth, according to Eat This, Not That!: Nah. Juicing simply isn't always the safest or most effective way to flush out your body. (Get in-the-know by discovering these 10 Signs a Juice Cleanse is Bogus!) Thankfully, there are many other (and easier!) ways to get your system working at an optimum level.
To help you flatten your tummy in no time, we've gone to the country's top nutritionists, fitness coaches and doctors, and asked for their favorite tips. Here you'll learn how to get the best possible nutrients into your system while flushing out everything you don't need—all in a safe, healthy, and juice-free way! Still tempted to order that box of pricey bottled drinks? Don't miss the harrowing 27 Things a Juice Cleanse Does to Your Body first!
An easy way to flush the body is by taking a supplement that supports your liver's natural detoxification function. Natural health physician Dr. Fred Pescatore likes Robuvit. "It's an extract from the French oak tree and it actually helps to normalize the enzymes in your liver and reduce oxidative stress to keep it functioning at its best," Dr. Pescatore says. "The liver is our body's detox engine; it removes toxins from the blood stream, breaks down alcohol and drugs, and processes nutrients to be absorbed in the body. So, it's crucial to keep the liver healthy for an optimal detox program." Robuvit is one type of this kind of supplement; ask your doctor for what's right for you, like if there are generic versions that may be better suited for you.
Beets and Asparagus
Adding beets and asparagus to your daily diet is a tasty, nutritious way to detox your body. "Having a beet salad for lunch helps fight free radicals and assures that all the toxins get out," says fitness coach Nadia Murdock. "And having steamed asparagus for dinner is a great way to flush out toxins by acting as a natural diuretic."
Berries and Fruits
Both berries and citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which helps your body transform toxins into digestible material. Dempsey Marks, a fitness expert, yoga instructor, and co-creator of the PreGame Fitness/lifestyle program, recommends a diet high in blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries. "It's excellent because they're high in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber—which not only improve digestion but also brighten your hair and skin and keep things moving, which is key to detoxification," she explains. That's why berries are a key part of Zero Belly Smoothies today!, the new bestseller from Eat This, Not That! creator Dave Zinczenko. "I love red ones, like strawberries and raspberries," he says. "They're packed with polyphenols, powerful natural chemicals that can actually stop fat from forming."
Namaste! Getting your zen on with yoga practice is a terrific way to not only detox your body, but also your mind. "The best poses for detoxing are moves that require twists because they stimulates your thyroid and digestive tracts," suggest Marks. "Long breaths are important because the help the process of ridding your body of toxins— visualize wringing a sponge!"
Adding a shot of wheatgrass to your daily routine can have incredible benefits. According to Dr. Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutrition expert and founder of Alkamind, wheatgrass is one of the most powerful foods on the planet and most effective way to detox and build your blood. "It has a very high alkaline effect on the body. One of the ingredients with major benefit in wheatgrass is chlorophyll, which has the ability to draw toxins from the body like a magnet," says Dr. Gioffre. "The reason why chlorophyll is so powerful is it's basically the same molecular shape as your hemoglobin molecule (red blood cells), except for the center atom, where blood is iron and chlorophyll is magnesium.
Many people are deficient in iron and minerals like magnesium, and wheatgrass juice is a potential way to solve these deficiencies. (P.S. – But don't miss our report on the Best Iron Rich Foods—And Why You Need Them!) "These grasses contain vitamins like C, E, and K, and contains all 102 minerals found in soil," Dr. Gioffre continues. And while he recommends a 2-ounce shot at least once a day, you shouldn't drink it like a tequila shot. Instead, he suggests taking a sip, squish in your mouth for 30 seconds, then swallow. Do that again and one more time until the entire shot is gone. You can even use some cinnamon on your hand as a chaser like you would use salt for a tequila shot!
Using a natural bristle brush before you get in the shower is a genius way to stimulate your lymphatic system, which is one of your body's most important systems for detoxification. Start at your feet and work up the body in long strokes towards your heart. Be sure to cover the whole body, but skip the face and the breasts.
"This is beneficial because it assists the lymph nodes in keeping blood and other vital tissues detoxified," says Dr. Gioffre. "The lymph system is one of the most important systems in helping with this pH regulation. It's energizing, assists in breaking up cellulite, removes dead skin, stimulates circulation, and strengthens the immune system. When you dry brush, it opens up your pores and assists your skin—the largest organ of the body—to get the acids and toxins out of the body." Speaking of smooth skin, make it a little easier on yourself by avoiding these 15 Worst Foods for Cellulite.
Practice the 3:6:5 Power Breath
Breathing is an essential element to life, and yet today we're using less and less of our lung capacity. When you're stressed is your breath deep or shallow? "You'd be surprised how often we hold our breath, depriving ourselves of the oxygen that alkalizes your blood. Meanwhile, this bad habit also traps CO2 gas in your body," explains Dr. Gioffre. "The reason why your body has to maintain a slightly alkaline pH of 7.365 is so that it can deliver oxygen to your body—and the 3:6:5 power breath is a very simple way to help maintain your blood pH. Even better? It's free!"
Here's how to do it:
•Breathe in through your nose for three seconds.
•Hold breath for six seconds.
•Breathe out your mouth for five seconds.
•Do this for 10 repetitions, at least once daily upon waking, ideally 3 times a day.
Take an Alkaline Detox Bath
Each evening, place two cups of Epsom salts (otherwise known as magnesium) and one cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in the tub, run the hottest water you can stand, and add eight drops lavender or eucalyptus oil. (I use Young Living Essential Oils.) Soak for 20 minutes and allow yourself to sweat. (Maybe practice your 3:6:5 power breath while you're at it!) "When you are finished bathing, have a glass of Alkamind Daily Minerals to replenish your mineral reserves, wrap yourself up in a towel, go under the covers, and sweat some more," says Dr. Gioffre. "You should feel very relaxed and should have a deeper REM sleep."
"If someone were to ask me what is the most powerful way to detox your body while exercising, my answer unequivocally would be rebounding," says Dr. Gioffre. (Translation: A small trampoline! Fun!) "On studying the benefits of rebounding, NASA found that a 150-pound individual spending one-hour on a rebounder will burn more calories than the same person jogging for an hour. I recommend using the rebounder first for lymphatic drainage, second for aerobic exercise." Dr. Gioffre says that ideally you should use the rebounder upon waking and gently bounce on it for ten minutes. The balls of your feet stay on the rebounder the entire time, while the heels will come off the rebounder as you lymphasize. It is okay to move your upper body, and gently twist back and forth. Once you have completed this, feel free to move to a more dynamic bounce, up and down, left to right, etc.
Catch Your Zzzs!
Making sure you get your 7-9 hours of sleep per night is one of the easiest ways to keep your body at peak performance—and detox naturally. "Your body cleans house and works on elimination during rest. Make sure to get extra time in bed when you're in need of a health reboot," says Annie Lawless, health and wellness expert and co-founder of Suja Juice. Find out The 7 Habits of Highly-Rested People for a better night tonight!
Chew Your Food Well
"In our fast paced lives, we can get used to eating rapidly, usually while watching TV, driving in the car, or talking on the phone. Proper digestion really requires adequate chewing to break down your food before it goes into your stomach. Try taking a bite and putting your fork down until you have fully chewed that bite," says Lawless. "This tip will also stop you from eating more food than you need since you'll be savoring each bite."
Take an "Inner Bath"
Super hydrating is what Shawn Stevenson, BS, FDN and Advanced Integrative Health Alliance founder refers to as an "inner bath" and is a key way to flush out metabolic waste products. "Your body's detoxification channels operate on a water highway system," he says. "As soon as those highways start to become overrun with debris, efficient elimination is reduced, and your tissues start to accumulate a lot of nastiness." (Um, ew.) "Start your day by drinking 20 to 30 ounces of high-quality water within a few minutes of getting out of bed. You take a shower/bath for the outside of your body, but isn't the inside more important?" Worried about water weight? Here are 17 Things You Need to Know About Water Weight!
Cleansing the mind is just as essential as cleansing the body. "Cleaning out negative thoughts and replacing with positive patterns is better for the emotional and physical detoxification process," says Marissa Ciorciari, MS, RD, LD/N, CLT, and Functional Nutritionist for Carillon Hotel. "Consider relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, long walks, and obtaining adequate sleep."
Eliminate Your Waste
Yes, we're talking about your daily bathroom activity; healthy digestion, a healthy gut, and daily elimination are all critical for natural detoxification. "The truth is that our body naturally detoxifies itself on a daily basis. Our liver is our main organ of detoxification, and one of the best ways to detoxify is to boost your liver's detoxifying enzymes," says Sophie Uliano, Healthy Living Expert on Hallmark Channel's Home & Family. "Fiber is the other way our body gets rid of toxins," she continues. "Moreover, fiber promotes gut-friendly bacteria and maintains normal bowel function. When we remove the fiber from fruits and veggies by way of juicing them, we also remove specific nutrients such as polyphenols (antioxidants), which are bound to the fiber. The best way to assist our body's natural daily detoxification process is to include plenty of total dietary fiber." Our suggestion? Load up on these 30 High Fiber Foods That Should Be In Your Diet!
Bathe in mustard? Who would have thought? Apparently, detoxing your body with a traditional English mustard bath is actually an ancient way to help stiff or injured muscles by warming and stimulating the body. "And you can use it to detox from stress, tension, fatigue and insomnia," says food psychologist Dr. Susan Albers. Her recipe includes: In a jar put 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup epsom salt, 1/3 cup of dry mustard powder, 8 drops eucalyptus oil. Use 2-4 tablespoons in a warm bath (but don't use if pregnant or have health problems).
Find Friendly Fermentation
"Feel the fermentation," says Monica Heather Auslander, MS, RD, LD/N and Essence Nutrition, LLC Founder. "A happy tummy equals a happy life. Friendly bacteria helps you strengthen your immune system and your stomach's motility." These 14 Fermented Foods to Fit Into Your Diet are a great place to start.
Get Rid of the Fakes
Superstar trainer Jillian Michaels, creator of FITFUSION.com, is adamant that only your kidney, liver, and spleen are able to "detox" your body. "The reality is that the best way to detox is to stop putting toxins in or do your best to minimize them so you can give these organs a break," Michaels says. "Then, after removing the garbage, you want to replenish with nutrients that best support the function of the kidney, liver and spleen. Avoid fake foods like artificial colors, flavors, fats, and sweeteners. Avoid thin-skinned fruits and vegetables that are heavily sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. If you can't afford organic, then choose the 'clean fifteen,' which is comprised of thick skinned plant options like oranges and melons."
Water, Water, Water!
"Drinking a lot of water supports kidney and liver function, but make sure it's purified water," says Michaels. "Put a purifier or filter in your home if you possibly can. And to really give your system a boost, opt for alkaline water that is infused with trace minerals and electrolytes. Aqua Hydrate is my personal favorite."
Put Down the Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Drugs
"Don't drink, smoke, or do drugs. Duh—I know," says Michaels. "Ever see one of those supermodels like Christie Brinkley who looks 30 years old at 60 plus? She doesn't do any of the aforementioned. Perspective, people!"
Stop the Snacking
Eating three square meals a day can be a better way for your body to digest your food properly for many people. "Digestion is the body's largest task, and when you're constantly breaking down food, there is no time for it to clean house, detoxify, and repair itself," says Lawless. "By eating three square meals that are substantial enough to keep you going until the next one, you allow your body the time to detox and fully digest your food."
You don't have to be an endurance athlete to get the daily benefits of exercise. You just need to move, sweat, and elevate your heart rate at least once a day. "Exercise helps to modulate our gene expression to keep us healthy in a myriad of ways that include supporting our natural detoxification pathways," says Denise Julia Garbinski, MBA, RDN of Botanical Nutrition Therapy, Consulting, Advocacy. "Increased heart rate and blood flow to our vital organs during exercise positively supports the body's stress response, digestion and elimination, sleep and cellular health that aid the body to rid itself of disease-causing toxins."
Bottom line? During intense exercise, toxins are expelled from your lungs via your breath and from your skin via sweat. So, if you feel extra refreshed and refueled after that spin class, you now know why! If you're not in love with the gym or simply can't make it there today, then get movin' with these 31 Sneaky Ways to Work Out—Without Hitting the Gym!
Push Back Breakfast
Because many of us have an excess amount of glucose in our systems from things like alcohol, sweets, and even sugar-spiked savory foods, nighttime fasting—or reducing your "eating window"—may help to burn the extra glucose in your system, according to Cell Metabolism research. To come to this finding, researchers found that mice that had access to food for only 8 hours weighed less than mice that ate the exact same amount of calories over the course of a day. Most experts say that 12 hours without food is enough for most people to enter a fasted state. So, if your last bit of food was at 9 p.m., wait until 9 a.m. the next morning to dig into your yogurt and eggs.
Detox the Guilt
Most people associate detoxing with being super strict with their diets—but you need to forgive and forget when you wind up indulging. According to researchers, dieters who associate indulgences with feelings of guilty are less successful at losing weight and some scientific minds say that food guilt can lead people to feel "out of control" and give up on weight loss goals. The sooner you move on from your slip-up, the lighter you'll feel.
Wash Your Produce
If you're eating convention fruits and veggies, make sure you wash them thoroughly or you might be taking in the very toxins you're so adamantly trying to flush out. Although there's only a slight scientific, nutritional benefit to eating organic produce, the pesticides used on conventional crops have been linked to a slew of belly issues including weight gain, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Researchers suspect the toxins in the pesticides are stored in fat cells and may interfere with your natural energy-burning process. But because of pesticide drift—toxins floating from conventional crop areas over to organic crop areas—you should really all your produce, organic or not!
Here's a great way to get whistled at—in more than one way. Put the teapot on the stove and fix yourself a cup of fat-blasting green tea! Green tea is extremely rich in catechins, a type of antioxidant that speeds the liver's capacity for turning fat into energy and increases the production of detoxification enzymes in the body that can fight off cancer, according to a Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention report. That means that in addition to looking and feeling great, you'll be healthier, too. Don't miss these 23 Amazing Ways to Melt Fat with tea, too!