As spring rolls around and we come out of winter hibernation, we often get the overwhelming urge to declutter, clean and organize our homes. This is often referred to as ‘spring cleaning’ and it has many positive benefits for your health, such as increasing
productivity, energy levels, moods, alleviating allergy symptoms, decreasing stress levels, and increasing focus and concentration. There is a level of satisfaction that comes from cleaning your home and reaping the rewards of a tidier, more organized space.
Spring isn’t just for cleaning our homes though, it’s also a time to cleanse our bodies. After a long winter on the couch, indulging in warming, comforting foods, spring provides the perfect opportunity to detox. Traditionally in Chinese medicine (TCM), spring is perceived as a time for renewal. It’s the season of the wood element, which is connected to the liver, our main detoxification organ. Our bodies are naturally in sync with the seasons, which is why foods that support the liver, such as cruciferous vegetables, bitter greens, berries and asparagus, are abundant during this time.
Many people get intimidated by the term ‘detox’ and associate it with negative experiences like juice cleanses, cabbage soup diets, deprivation or starvation, but detoxes don’t have to be so extreme and rigid. It can be as simple as eating a whole food diet, reducing sugar intake and increasing water consumption. Often, a gentle detox can be just as effective as a strict cleanse.
Some signs you might need to detox are feeling fatigued, sore, ill, achy, nauseated or bloated and experiencing skin issues (acne, rashes), poor sleep, anxiety, infections, irregular cycles, or a general lack of motivation. A spring detox can help increase energy levels, improve digestion, immune function, and skin health, while also helping you feel more centered, focused and in tune with your body.
If you are going to detox you need to ensure that you support all of the body’s detoxification pathways, such as the liver, colon, kidneys, lungs, and skin, which is why it is highly advised that you work with a Nutritionist or Holistic Health Practitioner to help you through the process. Below you will find some helpful information and tips to support the detoxification organs listed above:
- The Liver – It has over 300 functions and breaks down, neutralizes, detoxifies, and removes chemicals, waste, and bacteria from the body. A poorly functioning liver can lead to an overload of toxins. The liver is also responsible for metabolizing hormones, meaning it breaks them down so they can be properly eliminated, which helps balance hormone
Liver supporting foods:
- Cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli
- Vegetable juices, such as carrot and beet
- Bitter greens like dandelion greens Liver supporting herbs:
- Milk Thistle
- Globe Artichoke
- The Colon – If your bowels are not functioning properly, waste will accumulate and create toxicity that will be recirculated throughout the body. By cleansing your digestive system, you will be able to reduce symptoms like bloating, cramping, and constipation. It can also have a positive affect on your energy levels and
Colon supporting foods:
- Chia seeds or flax seeds
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut
- Psyllium husk
Colon supporting supplements:
- Digestive enzyme or Bitters
- The Kidneys – The best way to support your kidneys is by drinking more water. Your kidneys flush waste from the blood, but without enough water they can’t do their job well. An easy way to tell if you need to increase your water consumption is by checking the colour of your urine. Bright yellow urine is indictive of inadequate water intake.
Kidney supporting foods:
Kidney supporting herbs:
- Uva Ursi
- The Lungs - A filter for fumes, allergens, mold, and airborne Breathing brings inoxygen and expels carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism. Lack of exercise, obesity, poor posture and stress and anxiety, can contribute to shallow breathing and poor lung capacity. Breathing exercises and mediation can help improve lung function.
Lung supporting foods:
- Acai and blueberries
- Red bell peppers
Lung supporting supplements:
- N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC)
- The Skin – The body’s largest org, which plays an important role in the detoxification process by eliminating toxins via sweat. Its function is two-fold as it can release and absorb toxins, which means the quality of your personal care products really needs to be taken into account. Ensure you use products that don’t have parabens, fragrances, BHA, or sodium laureth sulfate in them. Exercise and dry brushing are two excellent practices that can help improve detoxification pathways and support skin
Skin supporting foods:
Skin supporting supplements:
- ACES + zinc
- Omega 3
Detoxing is essentially looking at what you really need and shedding what you don't, both mentally and physically. It can be a simple, yet profound and powerful practice.
Writers Bio – Julie Ann Harris MA, CHC, RHN
Julie Ann Harris is a Certified Health Coach, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and Women's Hormonal Health expert, who empowers women to take charge of their health and lives by naturally balancing their hormones.
After suffering from hormonal imbalances for most of her life and not getting results from specialists, Julie decided to take matters into her own hands and study nutrition and women's hormonal health. After resolving many of her own issues, she knew it was her mission to share her wisdom with other women.
Julie works with women to help them feel like their vibrant selves once again and combat issues, such as bloating, weight gain, ovarian cysts, fatigue, fibroids, mood issues, irregular cycles, amenorrhea, heavy periods, PMS, and severe menstrual cramping.
You can find her on social media at www.instagram.com/julie.ann.harris or get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org