Natural Body Cleansing: What are the Benefits and Where to Begin?

womanandlakeEach day we are confronted by harmful toxins in the air we breathe, the food and water we consume, and even in the products we use every day to make our lives more convenient. Over time, those toxins can build up in the body and impact our overall health. For this reason, many health experts recommend regular internal cleansing to help the body more efficiently eliminate toxins and waste.‡

While there are plenty of herbal cleansing formulas to choose from, beginners may benefit from a total-body formula designed for first-time cleansers.‡ Such a program will typically last about two weeks and include gentler whole herbs to provide natural support for each of the body’s elimination organs—including the kidneys, liver, lymphatic system, and bowel (or colon).‡ After that, you may wish to move on to a more advanced cleanse. These can last up to a month and will often contain deep-cleansing herbal extracts to support detoxification and help restore digestive regularity.‡

Helpful Tips to Remember
During any type of cleanse, remember that your goal is to support your detoxification processes while helping your body maintain a healthy balance of nutrients.‡ Your daily diet should provide support for your organs of elimination as well as overall nourishment for your body, which is why choosing the right foods while cleansing is also important. Below are some quick tips to help you get started:

  • Eat plenty of “living foods” such as raw, organic fruits and veggies (veggies may also be lightly steamed) in addition to fermented foods that contain beneficial probiotic cultures such as yogurt, kefir, miso and/or tempeh.
  • Choose lean protein sources such as organic, natural, or free-range chicken, turkey, beef, fish, tofu, and eggs.
  • Consume essential fatty acids such as the beneficial Omega-3 fats found in oily fish and certain nuts and seeds.
  • Opt for well-cooked grains from sources such as millet, buckwheat, khorasan wheat, amaranth, quinoa, spelt, teff, rye, basmati rice, wild rice, and brown rice—all of which provide an excellent source of fiber while cleansing.
  • Drink plenty of purified water to help to flush unwanted toxins and waste from the body. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified water every day.
  • Try to limit your consumption of sugar (both table sugar and hidden refined sugars) and starchy carbohydrates, which may feed unhealthy microbes in the gut.

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What are the Effects of Taking Probiotics?

woman_pillsNowadays it seems like we hear about the benefits of probiotics everywhere we turn. New studies continue to find a strong connection between a balanced gut and overall well-being, and more and more health practitioners are recommending probiotic supplements to their patients to help balance the gut and promote good digestive health.‡ Still, many people question whether or not there are any probiotics side effects. Here is the answer:

“Side effects” is actually a medical term used in the labeling of various pharmaceutical products. Probiotics are not pharmaceutical drugs. They are dietary supplements that have many beneficial effects on the human body.‡ Some of those effects include better elimination, changes in bowel habits, and—similar to when you consume a new food—they may produce occasional gas or bloating.‡ Also similar to consuming a new food, eating too much may present digestive challenges for the first-time user.‡

Essentially, it is possible to consume too much for your constitution the first time, and a way to address that and improve the effectiveness of your probiotic supplement is to decrease the dose by half or more in the beginning. Then, gradually increase the amount each day until your body adjusts and you are satisfied with the results.

Remember: probiotics are the “good” or “friendly” bacteria that occur naturally in the gut, but factors such as age, poor diet, stress, and the use of certain medications (including antibiotics) can deplete our bodies of billions of good bacteria and upset a healthy digestive balance. Ninety percent of digestion and up to 80 percent of immune function occurs in the digestive tract, so having a good balance of bacteria is important to our digestive, immune, and overall health.‡

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