There comes a time in every man’s life when he realizes his body can’t bounce back like it used to. Hangovers may be more intense or you find yourself waking up on the wrong side of the bed more often than not. In the past few years, detoxes and cleanses have been touted as a solution to all these issues. Special herbs, green juices, or a strict fasting schedule are a few of the solutions to get your body back on track.
Can you really improve your health with just a few weeks of drastic change? Read on to hear our take on detoxing and what might prove a little more effective.
Do Detoxes Work?
Both anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests the same thing — not really, no. Juicing often doesn’t bring your body all the necessary nutrients you need. Fasting can interrupt the body’s natural functions and flush toxins less efficiently. And while an herbal cleanse may have an impact, there isn’t any reliable data out there to prove it. When it comes to removing toxic substances from the body, the best route is supporting your natural processes.
What’s Happening in Your Body
Your body doesn’t need green juice or a specific diet to detox itself — it has the systems it needs with your livers and kidneys. Both these organs are designed to combat whatever toxins come through your body.
Your liver converts helpful substances for the body’s use, while also filtering out harmful toxins. This includes what your body naturally produces as it metabolizes. Substances such as bacteria, cholesterol, and hormones are always being filtered out. The liver also takes care of any alcohol, drugs, or chemicals we encounter or consume.
Your kidneys help with regulation — they balance your fluid and electrolyte levels, keep your pH levels in check, and secrete hormones. All these processes are carried out through the kidney’s blood filtration system. This allows the organs to remove toxins from your body.
By living a healthy lifestyle and supporting these organs, your body can flush toxins more efficiently. While that may not come through a specific diet or regimen, employing some of the tactics below can help you achieve what you might be looking for from a cleanse.
Alternatives to Detoxes
While there’s nothing toxic about dairy, it’s one of the most common sensitivities amongst adults. Remove it from your diet, and you could experience a pretty dramatic shift in how you’re feeling. Even if you experience only a slight sensitivity to lactose, you may experience less bloating, less congestion, and see calmer skin.
Commit to a switch to soy milk, look for a new favorite sorbet, and on Taco Tuesday try out an almond milk yogurt instead of sour cream.
Start with a few incremental changes to your grocery list and see if these shifts have your body feeling better.
Cut the Coffee
We’ll be honest, going caffeine-free scares us too. It may sound counterintuitive but if you’re looking to feel more alert and awake this could be the answer. While it may help get you through the morning, caffeine can be responsible for increased blood pressure, higher levels of anxiety, and trigger headaches.
Quitting cold turkey can be pretty rough on the body — you’ll probably feel groggy or left with a killer headache from withdrawal. Instead, start by cutting out any cups after 12:00 PM. That’s the first step to getting better sleep. You can also drop your consumption by drinking a tall instead of a grande or going for 6oz instead of 10oz on your Keurig. Weaning your body off it more slowly is more manageable and easier to stick to.
If you’re still looking for that morning routine with a warm beverage, consider making the switch to decaf coffee or an herbal tea.
Ditch the Drinking (and get a water bottle)
This is a standard part of most detoxes and might be the most effective part of those extreme diets. Consider participating in Dry January — or whatever month it is. Since your body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol over everything else, breaking down other toxins or fats takes a backburner when you drink.
Cutting back on alcohol will give your organs a break from processing stuff that’s common-knowledge bad for you, allowing your liver and kidneys to perform their functions more efficiently. If cutting alcohol out completely isn’t realistic, try choosing one or two specific days of the week when you drink or set a weekly drink limit that cuts your consumption.
This is also a great time to consider swapping your pint glass for a water glass. Committing to hydration will not only help detoxifying organs and flush toxins more efficiently, it also helps control weight gain, energize your muscles, and clear up your skin.
Whether you’re looking for more energy, a better immune system, or to just feel healthier, fourteen days of an intense diet probably isn’t going to be the answer. Try out an incremental set of changes that fit best with your lifestyle and see what you can feasibly layer into your day-to-day.
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