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Your Ultimate Guide To A Healthy Detox

Whether you’re in dire need of a detox or just want to know how improve your current diet, this article is for you – keep reading.

What is a healthy detox?

Your body actually does an amazing job of naturally detoxing, thanks to your very own detoxification system that consists the intestines, liver, kidneys, skin, gall bladder, lungs and lymphatics. A healthy detoxification program or lifestyle will effectively engage all of these major organs. However a detox that omits certain essential nutrients or solid foods, may fail to do this…

How your detox organs work

  • Liver – Your liver filters your blood to remove toxins and breaks down toxins within the body via a two phase process. During the first phase, toxins are neutralised and broken down into smaller fragments. During the second phase, these smaller fragments are bound to non-toxic molecules so that they can be safely excreted in bile, urine or stool.
  • Intestines – Due to a lifestyle high in processed food, alcohol, environmental toxins and stress, many of us are experiencing poor digestion. Your digestive systems are the foundation of good health – it turns Your food into fuel. You may eat the best produce available; however, if your digestion is sluggish you won’t absorb the nutrients required for optimal health.
  • Liver – Your liver filters your blood to remove toxins and breaks down toxins within the body via a two phase process. During the first phase, toxins are neutralised and broken down into smaller fragments. During the second phase, these smaller fragments are bound to non-toxic molecules so that they can be safely excreted in bile, urine or stool.
  • Kidneys – Your kidneys are responsible for hormone production, filtering excess water and sodium and cleansing Your blood. They are one of Your most vital organs.
  • Skin – Your skin does an amazing job at releasing excess toxins from the body through Your pores. Blemishes can be a healthy sign that Your body is detoxifying naturally.
  • Gallbladder – The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver. It releases this bile through small ducts into the intestine to help digest fats. A healthy gallbladder results in optimal weight.
  • Lungs – You may not be able to control the air you breathe; however, you can support your lung health with specific foods, herbs and practices to ensure a clean body.
  • Lymphatics – The lymphatic system transfers waste and dead cells from Your body to the bloodstream ready for detoxification by the liver. It works via the contraction of muscles. Your muscles are contracted via movement/exercise, breathing and manual stimulation (such as dry body brushing or massage).
Did you know?
The digestive tract is such a powerful system that actually has its very own nervous system!

healthy detoxification system

What is an unhealthy detox?

Detoxes are traditionally associated with a quick-fix liquid diet involving fasting. This is unhealthy. Why? Because it fails to engage your major organs and places additional strain on your system. Did you know that we actually need protein in order to detox properly? By straining your system and excluding necessary nutrients, it’s almost potentially as harmful as consuming a nutritionally deficient diet.

Why do we need to detox?

Your body isn’t able to consistently, efficiently detox the effects of a toxic lifestyle and diet low in nutrition when it’s not well nourished. It may even be a bit sluggish. As a result, a healthy detox can help to rid the high levels of toxic buildup present.

Your healthy detox should ultimately be followed up with an improved version of your lifestyle and diet that is conductive to your long-term health and that may facilitate ongoing natural detoxification so there’s less need for future detox programs.

What results in toxic build-up?

Avoid excess consumption of these factors to maintain a sense of wellbeing:

  • Stress – I strongly believe that the removal of stress results in a healthy body. Stress impacts your body immensely (Google the effects of stress to see for yourself).
  • Environmental pollution – Chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals found in your air, water and food supply.
  • Alcohol – Heavy drinking takes a huge toll on the liver. Considering your liver is one of Your key detox organs, we must take care of it.
  • Caffeine – Caffeine is a stimulant and therefore, should not be consumed in excess.
  • Medications – A reliance and overuse of medications can result in toxic build-up.
  • Sugar – white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, dates, agave and rice malt syrup are all types of sugar.
  • Artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners – avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and splenda.
  • Processed food – Cakes, lollies, chocolates, biscuits, crackers, pastries and muesli bars.
  • Trans fats – margarine, vegetable oil and canola oil.

stressed and unhealthy

Do you need to detox?

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms or problems at current, a detox may assist you:

  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Weight gain
  • PMS
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritable
  • Low libido
  • Allergies
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

*Note: we also recommend visiting your doctor, naturopath or preferred specialist to ensure your addressing these symptoms in a holistic manner.

How long should I detox for?

Generally 1-3 weeks, depending on your lifestyle, circumstances and current health.

What should I eat on a healthy detox? healthy detox foods

People often ask, “what are the best detox foods” or “what are the best detox foods for your liver, kidneys, and clear skin”. Add these 13 detox foods into your weekly meal planning to support your body through its natural detoxification process. If you’re focusing on minimising the toxins listed above, and focusing more on nutritious, wholesome meals with the below foods (and consume less processed food), you’ll be on your way to keeping your natural detoxification system in check.

  1. Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds

Why: They are great for digestion, as they work to cleanse the digestive tract.

How: Chia puddings are a delicious way to enjoy chia seeds and can be great for a breakfast, snack or dessert, depending on what you make it with. Or, try your hand at making this delicious bliss ball recipe.

  1. Coriander

Why: Coriander detoxifies the body of heavy metals such as mercury. Heavy metals accumulate over time within the body due to poor food choices and environmental exposure. Coriander binds with these metals inside the body and eliminates them.

How: Add to salads and green smoothies, or use it as a garnish on dishes with a Mexican, Middle Eastern or Vietnamese twist (the flavour combinations usually go really well!).

  1. Parsley

Why: Parsley cleanses the kidneys and detoxifies the liver (all bitter greens are excellent liver detoxifiers).

How: Garnish your meals with parsley and add it into your green juices.

  1. Watercress

Why: Watercress is excellent at cleaning the colon to effectively remove toxins from the body and supports red blood cells.

How: Add fresh watercress to salads and juices.

  1. Sprouts

Why: Sprouts contain high levels of easily digestible nutrients. Nutrition, raw food and superfood expert, David Wolfe is a huge fan of sprout juice.

How:  great in salads and lightly cooked in stir fry’s.

  1. Seaweed and Algae

Why: Like coriander, seaweed and algae bind with heavy metals to eliminate them from the body. They are also extremely alkalising.

How: Add spirulina to your juices and seaweed to soups and salads, or try making your own sushi with seaweed sheets!

  1. Beetroot

Why: Supports liver detoxification and cleanses and oxygenates the blood.

How: I recommend fresh raw grated beetroot in salads and beetroot juice.

  1. Celery

Why: Celery aids digestions and hydration, clears excess fluids from the body, contains cleansing properties and has an alkalising effect on the body.

How: I recommend fresh raw celery in salads, cooked celery in stir fry’s and stews and of course, celery juice.

  1. Cucumber

Why: Cucumber comprises 95% water which assists with hydration and the elimination of toxins. Also a great source of fibre which flushes toxins through the body.

How: Chop and add to salads, or cut as sticks and have them as snacks, alone or with a healthy dip such as homemade hummus.

  1. Cauliflower

Why: Cauliflower supports phase 1 and 2 detoxification of the liver as it contains both antioxidants and sulphur-containing nutrients.

  1. Kale

Why: Kale contains fibre and sulphur which are both critical for detoxification of the body and liver health.

How: Add kale to your salads, with or in place of other greens, add it to green smoothies or try making your very own natural kale chips.

  1. Green Vegetables, (especially Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts)

Why: Your liver loves green vegetables as they increase enzymes to support liver detoxification. Green vegetables are high in fibre are effective in cleaning out the colon to remove toxins naturally.

How: Add these to any meal, whether it be in an omelette for breakfast, in a salad or sandwich for lunch or with some fish or meat for dinner.

Did you know?
Brussel sprouts contain glucosinolates which are required for the detoxification of cancer-causing substances. And, Broccoli is an anti-inflammatory superfood that boasts a powerful nutritional profile including phytochemicals including glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin, that aid natural detoxification.
  1. Filtered Water

Why: It is extremely important that we drink enough water each day to stay hydrated. Your body finds it extremely difficult to absorb nutrients when it is dehydrated. I recommend filtered water, as it’s the cleanest source of water available.

How: Aim to drink 2-3 litres a day, starting with a squeeze of lime in the morning, and throughout the day keep a water bottle with you. It can be great to enjoy it with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs added for some extra flavour too.


Emily Holmes Wellnes Coach & Blogger

With an accredited Certificate of Nutrition, Emily is on a mission to spread the word about natural wellness, nutrition, clean organic living, self love, gratitude and kindness. When she’s not writing you can find her juicing her greens, meditating, walking barefoot, sitting in the sun, drinking peppermint tea and making raw desserts.

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