Practiced for centuries by cultures around the world — including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine systems — detoxification is about resting, cleansing and nourishing the body from the inside out.
We all know our bodies are clever, so of course the human body has a wonderful capacity to detoxify and cleanse itself. The hero in this process is the liver. The liver is the largest organ in the body, and breaks down toxins, ammonia, fungi, viruses and other waste products so they can be excreted from the body. Think of your liver working much like a sieve, filtering the blood and trapping unwanted matter, which is then ejected into the intestines as bile. The liver is absolutely essential to our daily health, so it’s important to look after and help it wherever possible.
The best way to achieve this is through healthy, clean eating, practised as a daily habit. Most people are aware of the need for this, as an influx of different dieting options in recent years has shown. However, our diets increasingly include toxins from pesticides, and can be high in trans fats and sugars. This can cause a condition known as fatty liver. Fatty liver occurs when excess fat begins to accumulate inside the liver cells, which slows down the body’s ability to burn fat and in turn worsens the condition. Cutting down your intake of carbohydrates, sugar, alcohol and processed food and ensuring you eat vegetables, quality protein and fats – think eggs, free range and organic meat, wild fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil - can be ways to reduce your chance of developing this condition.
Supplying your liver with the proper nutrients is very important, and drinking lots of clean water is a great start. Adding a squeeze of lemon provides a vitamin C boost, and choosing organic foods may help to reduce the influx of toxins which your liver is trying to deal with on a daily basis. As the liver is responsible for the breakdown of fats, it’s important to try and make sure you’re getting the right sort, which can be found in nuts, hemp, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, olive oil and flax, among others. Providing your body with the right nutrients in sufficient quantities is an important step to maintaining the health of all your organs.
I think it is also important to understand that we need to minimize use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives. These products certainly increase the toxic load our bodies are subjected to.
Another hindrance to good health is stress, which triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can provide the "adrenaline rush" to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Yoga and meditation are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring. This is another reason we love regular yoga practice and at try to take at least 20 minutes on our AJNAMAT each day for stress relief, meditation and relaxation.
Everyone can benefit from an increased awareness of what they are putting into, on and around their bodies. The best way to detoxify your liver is to eat well, sleep well, stay hydrated, relax and make sure you are balancing your nutritional and emotional levels.
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