Ever wanted the detox, minus the painful juicing procedure? Well, youre in luck: juice fasts fail to detox the body of anything the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system are an ace team at eliminating bodily toxins. Unless, of course, you let modern lifestyle get in the way of maintaining a healthy diet. To get back on track, consider the following five initiatives, all of which reduce existing inflammation and prevent future inflammation from growing in your body. These habits all let disease know, Hey, youre not welcome here.
1. Drink up!
Our bodies use water in the same way that a car uses gas: when we lack sufficient hydration, our bodies simply wont run at their optimum capacity. When the tank gets too low, everything starts to run a little slower- our mental clarity, mood, and physiological systems begin to suffer even under conditions of moderate dehydration. While hydration needs largely depend on temperature, activity level, weight, height, and sodium intake, monitoring your urine is perhaps the easiest way to tell whether or not you are dehydrated.
Urine should always be pale yellow in color a color that is medium yellow indicates that you need to start drinking up or risk serious dehydration. Dark yellow to brown (especially with a strong, concentrated odor) indicates that youre most likely severely dehydrated, and should seek medical attention if you notice any unusual symptoms.
Many of us fail to consume adequate water because we simply forget to consume it throughout the day, or because other beverages (juice, soda, coffee, energy drinks) simply displace our intake of plain old h20. It is important for your body to get pure water, the basis of all life here on earth. Although it isnt necessary to exclude all non-water beverages from your diet, the majority of your fluid consumption should come from water. If youre feeling uninspired to drink up, try adding a spritz of lemon to your water. Carbonated water or zero-calorie seltzer water are also great options to fulfill your water intake. Bringing a water bottle to work to keep on your desk can also serve as a potent reminder to hydrate throughout the day.
2. Kick booze to the curb.
Although research does suggest that moderate drinking may be beneficial for heart health, the majority of us are not drinking moderately, thanks to oversized restaurant pours and our own poor notions of serving size. A single serving is of beer is a 12 fl oz (1can, 1 bottle, or 1.5 cups), while a single serving of wine is 5 fl oz (just over cup), and hard alcohol/spirits 1.5 fl oz (1 small shot glass or 3 tbsp). Men should consume less than 15 drinks per week, while women should cap their intake at 8 drinks each week. See how easy it can be to exceed that limit?
All of this is only exacerbated by the fact that the body views alcohol as a toxin in the metabolic process. As such, whenever we consume alcohol, our body temporarily stops metabolizing the other food weve consumed (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) in order to metabolize the alcohol and remove it from our systems. In the meantime, those calories that your body was previously digesting (those carbohydrates, fats, and proteins we mentioned before) get put into fat storage. Even if youre consuming only five drinks per week, eliminating alcohol could help you lose seven pounds in a year, reducing any excess fat that is currently churning out harmful, inflammation-inducing compounds all over your body.
3 & 4. Moderate your sweet and salty teeth.
Sugar and salt are common vices: they have become ubiquitous in our diets, and theyre becoming major issues, affecting hydration status, the circulatory system, and heart health. Its impossible to eliminate all sugar and salt from our diets, but reducing our sugars to the natural variety (fruit, dairy products) and avoiding processed foods (high in sodium) can help rehydrate skin, reduce bloat, and prevent high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
5. Increase the good stuff.
And by good stuff, we mean vegetables. Although we tend to consume adequate fruit, vegetables are another story: very few people consume adequate fiber, leading to a digestive system thats sluggish, if not downright indignant. Aim to consume 5 cups of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables per day to aid elimination and help waste move through the digestive tract.
A lifestyle, not a fad.
Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of implementing these changes? You neednt do them all at once! Ideally, you should maintain these habits (more or less) for the rest of your life. An occasional cookie isnt going to hurt you, but two cookies every day might. To ease into your new, healthy, detoxified lifestyle, try making one change each week. By week five, youll have developed the confidence necessary to leave your old toxic habits in the dust.