What is a healthy detox cleanse?

"The purpose of a healthy detox plan is to take the load off any organs that detoxify the body – the liver, kidneys and bowel – while at the same time supporting and improving their performance", says naturopath Daniela Viola. 

For the detox to be effective you first need to eliminate cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, red meat, gluten, and processed and fast foods. This may seem like a drastic approach and like you’re eliminating all the fun from your life but it’s worth it for the benefits you will reap once the week is over. 

“After your seven-day detox, you should notice better digestion and elimination, better skin and brighter eyes, increased energy levels, weight loss and improved immunity,” says Viola. 

How to do a healthy detox

It might seem daunting to start a detox process but here are some tips for what you can do over seven days that will have your insides humming with joy:

1. Morning lemon juice

When you wake up in the morning, try to resist the urge to reach straight for the kettle and making a cup of tea or coffee. Instead of a caffeine hit, squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a glass of warm water and drink it on rising or before breakfast.

You might be surprised at the effect. Not only does it help to kick-start the digestive process, it helps to alkalise the body maintaining the PH balance. In addition, warm lemon water boosts your immune system as it is rich in vitamin C and it works towards fighting infections and even the effects of the common cold.

Squeezing fresh lemon juice by hand into a glass of water

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a glass of warm water and drink it on rising or before breakfast.

2. Body brushing

Body brushing on a daily basis will increase circulation and promote lymphatic detoxification. The lymphatic system helps to cleanse the body of unwanted toxins. Using a loofah or body brush, brush the skin with firm circular strokes before you shower. Start from the feet and hands, moving up the legs and towards the arms, avoiding your throat and face.

3. Detox your mind

Many people are juggling several priorities in their week, whether that is family, work, study or something else. Often, we forget to put ourselves first, take time out and just be. In the digital age, we are also so reliant on technology, with our phones and computers at our finger tips, but why not use your mobile to your benefit and take a break.

There are so many apps on the market that offer meditation and mindfulness. Download an app that suits you and start your morning with a 15-minute meditation session, leaving you ready for what the day ahead might bring. 

Meditation focuses on being in the moment, focusing the mind and breathing. It sets you up for the day and can even reduce stress and anxiety. It will help you relax your mind and stimulate your metabolism.

4. Eat more raw foods

With raw foods, comes an array of health benefits. Often the methods we use to cook foods can reduce the natural benefits they can provide to our bodies. Eating raw food means you are eating produce in its purest form.

Aim to reduce the amount of cooked food you eat and instead look for raw alternatives. This could mean having a cooked breakfast and dinner, but enjoying a raw lunch and snacks during the day.

Get creative with juices and salads and if that is not easy, there are plenty of recipe ideas online, such as these beetroot treats.  

Bowl of fresh raw vegetables and berries on a white bench top

Fresh cut raw capsicum and carrots and berries are the perfect snacks when you're following a detox cleanse

5. Drink and hydrate

Hydration is an important part of a detox and it is recommended to consume three litres a day during this process. It can be a little boring to drink three litres of water so instead try substituting it with veggie juice or herbal teas.

If you are feeling hungry during the first few days, which can be a common symptom, buy or make a veggie juice instead of eating them. The more you drink the less hungry you will be.

What are the benefits of drinking water?

6. Eat fermented foods and include probiotics

 Fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha all help to create a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

These foods, along with a good probiotic supplement, will aid absorption of nutrients, as well as improve digestion and bowel function. This is important during a detox to help eliminate toxins from the body.

7. Detox exercise

Exercising regularly has many long and short term benefits. During the detox period, you should aim to exercise for at least one hour a day. It is good to work up a sweat and get the heart racing. Some kind of cardio activity such as running or cycling, in combination with strength training, such as lifting weights, is the perfect way to kick-start your metabolism.

It might see overwhelming to attempt a seven-day detox but you will most likely be surprised at the results and how quickly your body starts to adapt.

A proper detox might just last one week but there’s every chance the effects will last a lot longer and you continue some of the process long term.

In any case, challenging yourself to a detox now and again will remind you how much healthy living and eating affects your quality of life and how small changes can make a big impact.