WELLNESS WISDOM Your 5-Step Spring Detox

wellness wisdom April Norris spring detox radishes farmers market photo by Daderot via WikiCommons

Get your spring detox on, without the deprivation.

Spring is the season of vibrant, new beginnings: bright green leaves pop open, fragrant flower buds appear, and our bodies naturally crave to shed weight and the cellular congestion of winter. Spring is the perfect season to get back in harmony with nature, our bodies, and to cleanse from the inside out.

Detoxification is one of the body’s most innate functions, which keep us thriving. In order to protect us from the harmful substances we are exposed to daily, our bodies naturally detoxify themselves through the kidneys, colon, liver, lungs, lymph, and skin. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the season of Spring directly correlates with the organs of the liver and gall bladder. These two organs work synergistically to excrete toxins from your bloodstream and break down nutrients in your food, which all support digestion. When our liver and digestive system are performing at optimal levels, glowing skin and an energetic body are within reach!

To help your body detoxify from the winter, and boost your entire system for the spring, here are a few helpful hints to get you back to feeling your best.

 

No.1 Drink Warm Lemon Water Every Morning

Warm lemon water in the morning, is an easy detoxification method that will jumpstart your digestion, balance your pH levels, and remove acidic waste products. The lemon juice stimulates your gallbladder to produce bile, which then releases toxins from the liver. Drink the “Morning Lemon Elixir” upon waking, 30 minutes before you have coffee, tea, or any solid food.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup hot/very warm spring water
  • Juice from 1-2 lemons
  • ½ to 1 teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar
  • (optional) 1 teaspoon of raw honey or a few drops of liquid stevia

 

No.2 Dry Skin Brush Daily

Dry Skin Brushing is a great way to wake up in the morning, or can be used as a soothing bedtime ritual. As our largest organ, the skin is vital for healthy elimination and proper digestion. Skin brushing improves lymphatic fluid drainage, reduces cellulite, promotes digestion, and supports detoxification. You can purchase a natural-bristle skin brush at a health-food store or simply use a dry washcloth. Always before bathing, start at your feet, and gently brush upwards in a sweeping, circular motion. Move up from the extremities towards the heart, thereby improving blood flow. Concentrate on areas with cellulite until the skin becomes pink. Use counter-clockwise strokes on your belly to improve bowel movements. Finish with a warm shower or bath to rinse away dead skin cells and sloughed-off toxins.

 

No.3 Sweat It Out

Infrared saunas are an optimal way to detoxify and stimulate the body’s innate healing process. Sweating is one of the most natural forms of cleansing and offers numerous health benefits. Infrared saunas use radiant heat to penetrate deeper into the body’s tissues and produce two to three times more sweat volume than traditional saunas. They increase the removal of heavy metals and environmental toxins, like PCB’s and pesticides. For the best results, work your way up to 20-30 minute sessions at 160-180*F.

 

No. 4 Try These Seasonal Naturally Detoxifying Foods

Incorporate seasonal, naturally detoxifying foods to assist in cellular rejuvenation, detoxification, and to support the immune system. Your local farmer’s market should be overflowing with these delicious seasonal foods, which support your liver and gall bladder. Remember, food is medicine!

RADISHES
Radishes are classified as part of the Brassica family and are a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants. 10 radishes contain 25% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin C! This valuable vitamin helps cells throughout the entire body rid themselves of free radicals and protect against future damage. Radishes are also extremely high in sulfurophane, a compound that inhibits the growth of cancers, specifically prostate, colon, breast, and ovarian. These taste great raw and thinly sliced on top of a salad, or as a side dish, roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes.

DANDELION GREENS
Dandelion Greens are a powerful healing green, which cleanse the blood, assist in digestion, and prevent gallstones. These bitter greens are extremely high in Vitamin A, which acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin and mucus membranes. Throw a handful on a salad or quickly blanch and serve on top of other greens.

ARTICHOKES
Artichokes – contains a phytonutrient called cynarin, which stimulates the regeneration of liver cells. They are extremely helpful for people with elevated fats in the blood, thus lowering bad cholesterol. Artichokes are best served whole, grilled, or steamed.

WATERCRESS
Watercress has a very broad vitamin and mineral profile, which gives a broad spectrum of nutrients in order to cleanse the body. Watercress also contains the antioxidant quercetin, which acts as a natural anti-histamine in the body, which helps mediate seasonal allergies. Watercress can be a beautiful garnish served raw on top of soup, or mixed into various salad greens.

PARSELEY
Parsley contains unique oil compounds and flavonoids that have been shown to prevent oxidative damage to cells. This under appreciated herb is also a known diuretic, which will help decrease winter bloat. An unusual but delicious way to eat more parsley is to throw it into a smoothie with some frozen pineapple and a banana!

FENNEL
Fennel is known for it’s distinct licorice-like flavor, but packs a powerful punch of phytonutrients. Compounds like quercetin, rutin, and kampherol are anti-inflammatory antioxidants that help excrete potentially carginogenic compounds out of body. Fennel is a delicious side dish when combined with red or white onions. Sautee in coconut or avocado oil for a few minutes, and serve with wild-caught salmon.

 

No. 5 Add Green Powder to Your Everyday Drinks

Adding a dose of green powder to your eco-friendly water bottle can seriously change your detox game. Chlorella and spirulina are my favorites, but there are many others to choose from. These concentrated forms of greens are super-stars when it comes to eliminating toxic, heavy metals from the body. They also provide your cell’s mitochondria with vital nutrients that increase overall energy. (To learn about other green powders, read my previous article “Gear up Your Green Powder Game”.) Use your green powders in smoothies, water, or mix into a chia seed pudding.

 

After incorporating these natural tools and foods, you will walk away with a new outlook for the season. These habits can prevent you from getting sick, keep you feeling energized, and increase happiness! Spring gives us the opportunity to blossom and bring forth a fresh start. Take back your health, get out, and enjoy the sunshine!

Be Well!
April

xoxo-EB

SOURCES:

Kreydiyyeh, SI, and J. Usta. “Diuretic Effect and Mechanism of Action of Parsley.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2002. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods. Vol. 2. Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation, 2015. Print.

Mercola, Joseph M. “Spirulina: A Luxury Health Food That Can Help Fight Malnutrition.” Mercola.com. N.p., 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 25 May 2015.

Nielsen, SE, JF Young, B. Daneshvar, ST Lauridsen, P. Knuthsen, B. Sandstrom, and LO Dragsted. “Effect of Parsley Intake on Urinary Antigen Excretion…” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8 June 1999. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

Watson, Brenda, CNC, and Leonard Smith, MD. The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps. New York: Free Press, 2008. Print.

Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2009. Print.

Photo credit: Daderot via WikiCommons

April Norris

April Norris

Nutrition Columnist, "Wellness Wisdom"

April is a certified holistic health consultant and a certified pilates instructor. When she's not "nerding out" on graduate courses in natural health, April enjoys oil painting, dance parties with her kids, and bowling dates with her hubby.

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