After a summer of backyard barbecues, evening trips to Graeter’s, Cheese Coneys at Reds’ games, and maybe a little too much oxidative stress from the sun, a seasonal detox may be just what your body needs to get ready for the winter months ahead. With colder days comes the inevitability of our being confined to the indoors, leading to increased sharing of germs with friends, family and coworkers. During these months we also give in to increased holiday consumption of proinflammatory sugar and have to deal with dry air that thins the protective mucosal secretions that line our respiratory tracts. All of these factors, when taken together, substantially increase our chances of getting a cold or flu.
Our body gets rid of anything it cannot use (toxins) through our organs of elimination in a process known as detoxification. Our organs of elimination include our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, kidneys, lungs, and skin, and they are charged with the removal of toxins such as bacteria, viruses, and the chemicals that they release when under attack by our immune system. By optimizing the function of these systems, we can often reduce the duration of our colds and flus during the winter months:
Optimize the excretion of toxins through your GI tract by improving the movement of your food and stool through it:
Increase your fiber intake from plants, reduce constipating foods such as those high in protein, and remove food sensitivities and/or microbial dysbiosis. Ensure proper motility of the GI tract by eating only once every three to four hours and getting around eight-hours of sleep each night.
Optimize the excretion of toxins through the kidneys by increasing urination:
Reduce your caffeine and sugar intake while increasing your water consumption. Research shows is that caffeine affects our ability to sense thirst, which can lead to decreased intake of fluids.
Optimize the excretion of toxins through the lungs by breathing better:
Increase your exercise, engage in deep breathing during meditation, and improve your sleep. While we sleep, our ventilation (movement of air in and out of the lungs) and respiration (the movement of oxygen and carbon dioxide into and out of our blood stream) both increase during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Not getting enough REM sleep, either from going to bed too late or waking up frequently during the night, reduces our ability to detox through this organ well.
Optimize the excretion of toxins through the skin by helping yourself sweat more:
Reducing the toxins within our beauty products, using deodorants instead of antiperspirants, and increasing exercise. When we exercise we increase our ability to sweat and the movement of the lymph system. The lymph system facilitates the movement of toxins away from your cells leading to their excretion via one of our organs of elimination. Aside from saunas, exercise is the best way to improve this mode of toxin removal.
Struggling to improve any of these areas on your own?
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