Your Superstar Detoxification Organs
In order to feel our very best, we often take part in daily practices to support our body and provide a nice boost - these practices may include: drinking warm lemon or apple cider vinegar water, dry brushing before the shower, doing a yoga flow, exercising, taking a detox bath, getting in optimal water intake, eating bitter greens, sleeping for the recommended 8-10 hours and enjoying a cold-pressed green juice.
While all of these daily actions are definitely going to have you feeling good, a main reason why these truly benefit you is because these actions all support healthy detoxification in your body.
Taking part in some of these actions daily, benefits you in a number of ways; these practices likely increase your energy, eliminate stress, promote clear skin, support digestion, and overall they make you feel good about yourself!
Your lovely liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and colon, are your superstar detoxification organs and their overall function is critical for your health and well-being. Supporting and understanding these organs can help you to reach optimal health and well-being! Let's take a look at the behind-the-scenes role of our superstars to see what they're up to, and more importantly how you can support them in your food choices, with herbals and mindfulness!
By far our top highlighted cleansing organ, the liver alone is responsible for over 500 functions, including the amazing ability to regenerate itself. Think of your liver as your bodies filter, it recognizes toxic substances and converts them into materials that can be safely excreted. Although it has many other roles such as secreting bile to support fat digestion and absorption, converting nutrients from foods into substances that the body can use, managing blood sugar levels and breaking down hormones. Your liver is also responsible for regulating our blood supply, detoxifying water, drugs, alcohol, caffeine and environmental toxins. Overall, you don't want a sluggish liver!
Your liver loves bitter greens like dandelion, kale, arugula, artichoke, chard, spinach and mustard greens. These stimulate enzyme production and promote healthy bile flow. Some other liver loving foods are turmeric, garlic, lemons and cabbage - which contain high amounts of antioxidants, minerals and have both alkalizing and anti-inflammatory effects. Also keep in mind that emotions do play a role in your health - for the liver and gallbladder, negative emotions such as anger, frustration, jealousy, irritability, resentment and envy slowly eat away at these organs.
These little guys are essential for keeping our bodies in a state of balance. They regulate fluid levels and blood pressure, activate vitamin D and keep our blood stable. Each kidney is made up of about a million little filtering cells called nephrons, which filter toxic waste out by excretion through the urinary system. Your kidneys love watermelon, celery, cucumber, dandelion, parsley, apple cider vinegar, tart cherry and cranberry. An emotion of fear is well related to the kidneys, this increases the need for urination and prolonged periods of anxiety and stress may also weaken the kidneys.
A healthy colon eliminates toxins from the body one to three times daily, whereas an unhealthy colon produces toxins and adds a hardness and fullness to our lower abdomen. We need adequate fibre, sufficient water intake, healthy gut flora, demulcent herbs and foods to support healthy bowel movements and an overall happy colon. Demulcent meaning these herbs or foods produce a natural gooey substance that coats, soothes and protects the lining of the GI tract, also known as "mucilaginous" foods or herbs. These can be particularly helpful for calming inflammation and soothing digestive discomforts. Demulcent herbs such as licorice, slippery elm, comfrey, aloe vera, marshmallow root and couchgrass can be taken in a powder, tea or capsules form. Foods high in mucilage that you can add to your diet include: flax seeds, chia seeds, cassava, plantain, and okra. Our colon is very sensitive to the feeling of anxiety, which can be well related to IBS tendencies.
Our skin is our largest detoxification organ, with much surface area to function as a detoxification pathway. We can tell a lot about what is happening inside of our bodies by the appearance of our skin; for example, blemishes are typically a signal of rooted toxins trying to escape. In Chinese medicine skin mapping is practiced, where you can relate certain breakout areas to what is happening inside of your body. Your skin loves healthy fats and antioxidant rich foods such as avocado, coconut oil, hemp, green tea and berries. Inflammatory oils such as vegetable oils, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil can negatively affect your skin, along with refined sugars and other processed foods. Since we heal from the inside-out, a clean diet is the optimal approach for supporting this detoxification organ, also try and cease the use of chemical-laden skin care products; try jojoba oil or rose hip oil as a moisturizer, rose water or witch hazel as a toner, and honey as a face wash or mask. Also make it of you best interest to exercise daily, hop into a sauna when possible, and stimulate your lymphatic system through dry brushing and alternating between hot and cold water in the shower.
Our lungs oxygenate our blood when we breathe-in and release carbon dioxide when we breathe-out. Many of us, by habit, take short shallow breaths due to anxiety and stress in our lives and this relates to our overall inability to relax. This is not optimal for this important detoxification pathway. Focus on making your breaths deep and calm, you lungs love antioxidant rich foods such as green tea, ginger, turmeric, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, apples and pomegranates.Feelings of sadness and a state of depression or grieving targets the lungs, which can result in shortness of breath and/or fatigue. Our lungs need a feeling of space, and when we are without “breathing room” the lungs feel constricted, overwhelmed and smothered. Another cool point is that 80% of fat loss is exhaled in the form of carbon dioxide, so proper breathing is essential in that respect as well.