It is that time of the year again when we have all enjoyed the festive season a bit more than we should have (Yes too much of a good thing can be bad for us unfortunately). Many of us have woken with a fuzzy head, a bloated belly and a case of tinselitis….. (and in my case, my jokes have obviously gotten worse!). This is also the time of year when a lot of us start hearing about detoxing or doing a new year cleanse.

It seems that everywhere you look people are planning on doing a detox and there are some very good reasons why you should make it one of your new year’s resolutions too. Think about detoxing as a way of letting your body go on a nice little holiday- we all know how lovely it would be to escape the long winter to a relaxing, beautiful and sunny patch of wilderness somewhere at this time of year. Detoxing gives your body a well needed break from all the mulled wine, new year champagne and Christmas pudding we have all been feasting on recently. It is also a great way to start the new year in a healthy and positive way.

Here are a few simple tips to making the most out of a new year cleanse:

Bring on the bitters!

Increasing bitter foods in your diet is an easy way to kick start the detoxifying process. Bitters work by stimulating the digestive system to secrete more digestive enzymes and juices, which enhances the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from your foods, increases blood flow to the digestive system and improves elimination of wastes. Bitters are usually well indicated for anyone who suffers from bloating or gas, or feels that their digestive system is a little sluggish. Add some fresh lemon juice and ginger to hot water first thing in the morning, or incorporate bitter herbs and plants such as rocket and chicory into your meals.

hot lemon honey ginger

Fresh is best

When trying to shop this season, fresh really is best. Consuming fresh fruits and veggies every day increases your antioxidant intake and boosts your ability to remove toxins from your body. Buying foods in season also helps ensure that you get the freshest produce, so try making some warm and nutritious soups from seasonal vegetables such as pumpkin or roast some garlic, beetroot and wild mushrooms whilst adding fresh herbs to all your meals. Yum!

Go easy on the hard stuff

You guessed it, I mean hard liquor! No detox is complete without cutting out alcohol. Whether it be champagne, egg nog or mulled wine, all alchoholic beverages put a strain on the liver- the main organ involved in the detoxifying process. Even going a few weeks without alcohol will give you more energy and improve your mood, and you may even start to lose those extra kilos you put on over Christmas.

Hydrate

This is an easy one. Ask yourself, how much water do you drink each day? If it is less than two litres than you need to increase your intake. Dehydration can have a negative effect on energy levels, mood, concentration and digestion and is important for pretty much every process that takes place in the body. Keep a glass bottle of filtered water near your desk and sip it continuously throughout the day. You will be amazed at how much better you can feel.

Meditate on it

Detoxing is not just good for the body. We could all do with cleansing the mind as well! Set aside five minutes a day to sit quietly somewhere and simply focus on your breathing. Sounds easy doesn’t it? You will most likely find though, that your thoughts will naturally drift to concerns about work, what you want to have for dinner tonight or that movie that you really want to see. If this happens just let the thoughts pass you by and bring the focus back to your breathing. I do this daily and find it helps me feel more balanced and less stressed and the little annoying things don’t bother me so much.

Probiotic power

Incorporating probiotics into your cleansing regime is also a great way of supporting the detoxifying process. Probiotics aid in the breakdown of the substances that you consume which enables better digestion, improves absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, boosts your immune system and discourages the growth of harmful bacteria. Probiotics also support efficient detoxification through the large bowel which is very important when it comes to improving toxin clearance. I guess you could say that they are like Santa’s little helpers when it comes to the benefits they impart on the digestive system! Some research also suggests that probiotic supplementation may benefit weight loss which is also often an added bonus of doing a detox! Read more about it here.

So there you go. Those tips sound simple enough don’t they? Why not give them a try today!

If you want more on advice on how to start the year off right, check out a great post on beating the January blues here.


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