5 Simple Ways to Detox Your Body

foods for your digestive system
Tiina & Geir/Cultura/Getty Images

If you like the idea of cleansing your digestive system, but don’t want to do it with extreme diets, laxatives, herbal teas, or colonics, there are many foods and lifestyle practices that can help improve digestion and relieve bloating, gas, and constipation. Here are five easy ways to “cleanse” your system:

1) Increase your daily fruit and vegetable intake

Strive to eat three or more servings of vegetables and two or more servings of fresh fruit every day at a minimum but ideally a total of eight to ten servings a day.

If fresh produce isn’t available, frozen produce is the next best option. 

Some examples include lettuce, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, green beans, squash, lettuce, artichokes, kale, spinach, swiss chard, blueberries, grapes, oranges, and strawberries. People with certain digestive conditions may benefit from vegetables that are higher in soluble (vs. insoluble) fiber such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips.

RELATED: 20 Yummy Detox Foods

2) Try probiotic-rich foods

Foods that are rich in beneficial live microorganisms, called probiotic bacteria, may help to enhance digestion, support the immune system, decrease inflammation, and improve the ratio of beneficial to potentially harmful bacteria in the gut. Two of the most common strains of probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus in the small intestine and Bifidobacterium bifidum in the large intestine.

Although probiotics are available in supplement form, they can also be found in kefir and yogurt (including those made from coconut, rice, soy, and other non-dairy “milks”), kombucha, kvas, and fermented vegetables as sauerkraut and kim chi.

RELATED: Acidophilus and Other Probiotics

3) Try these fiber-rich whole grains

Instead of white rice, bagels, plain bread, and pasta, try eating gluten-free grains such as brown rice, quinoa (not a true grain but an herb), steel-cut oats, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and wild rice.

Also see: 5 Foods That Help With Constipation.

4) Drink more fluids

Water (along with soup, smoothies, and other fluids) is essential for optimal digestive function yet most of us don’t drink enough. It is especially important to drink enough fluids when increasing your fiber intake (from fruit, vegetables, grains and seeds). The color of your urine can be used as a guide. In general, pale yellow or straw-colored urine is an indication that you are getting enough fluids, but a lot depends on your diet, other health conditions, etc. Also, keep in mind that certain vitamins and foods can alter the color of urine (such as B vitamins and beets). Try herbal tea, green tea, lemon water, broth, and plain water.

5) Try flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are small seeds that can provide a wonderful combination of soluble and insoluble fiber and may help some people with either constipation or loose stools. The seeds are hard when whole, so they should be ground in a coffee or spice grinder or blender before being added to food.

The mild, nutty flavor works well sprinkled on oatmeal or salads, and they can also be added to muesli, granola, baked goods, or even smoothies.

Other foods to include

  • Beans and legumes: Split yellow and green peas and lentils are easy to digest and require less soaking time. Other beans include kidney beans, pinto beans, mung beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and adzuki beans.
  • Nuts and seeds: Unsalted nuts, seeds, and nut butters such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods: Poached, broiled or steamed fish in moderation such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, and wild salmon
  • Oil: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil.

Other ways to cleanse the body

Contrast showers

The contrast between hot and cold water increases circulation, which helps to bring nutrients, oxygen and immune cells to damaged and stressed tissues and carries away metabolic waste, inflammatory by-products and other toxic substances.

Start with three minutes of hot water followed by less than one minute of cold water. Repeat this pattern at least once, always finishing with cold (e.g. 3 minutes hot - 1 minute cold - 3 minutes hot - 1 minute cold).

Psyllium

Psyllium is a dietary fiber that supports normal bowel function, cleanses the mucus lining of the intestines, and increases the bulk and softness of the stools. One teaspoon of psyllium powder can be stirred into at least eight ounces of water. Drink immediately. 

Precautions

Keep in mind that no one approach is right for everyone. If you're experiencing constipation, abdominal bloating, gas, and other symptoms, it's important to talk with your health care provider. 

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

Continue Reading