CleanseJoy Editorial Team
Detox supplements reviewed:
Dr. Edward Group, DC, NP
Dr. Emek Blair, Ph.D
Toxins in foods | Toxins in your home | Fiber | Diet | Supplements | Sleep | Stress | Kidneys | Sweat | Intermittent fasting
Everyday new toxins enter our body through the air, our skin, food and water. Our body can naturally detox and filter toxins in the liver and kidneys, and then eliminate them through sweat, urine and stool. But, is it enough?
Never before in the human history we were exposed to so many potential toxins and chemicals from our environment. In fact, the body may not always recognize or know to effectively handle some of the new lab made chemicals. Overtime, toxins continue to accumulate in the body, can damage our cells and impact our overall health and wellness.
In this article, we’ll share 10 natural ways to cleanse and support the body’s detox and filtration systems. In particular, we’ll talk about ways to reduce exposure to common toxins, how to strengthen our main organs of elimination, and the basic detox diet guidelines.
Choosing the best detox plan your body needs
In the world of cleansing and detoxification, you may find yourself lost with endless options to choose from. Should you start with a full body detox, or is it better do do a liver cleanse first?
The first thing you should ask yourself, is what are you optimizing for? What are your goals or concerns? Only then, you can choose the type of cleanse that is the best for you.
So, while there may be a lot of different cleansing protocols and detox plans, they usually fall under one of these options:
- Support organs of elimination.
A cleanse that supports the main organs of elimination, in particular:
liver, kidneys, colon and gut, but also, lungs and skin.
- Specific concerns cleanses.
For example, heavy metal detox, parasite cleanse, candida cleanse or mold detox.
Not sure where to start? this guide is exactly for you! Keep reading.
10 natural ways to cleanse & support your body’s filtration systems
1. Remove common toxic foods and drinks
Hands down, the first step to detox your body is to reduce the toxins that go into your system from your diet. This also includes foods that are very hard to digest that can cause digestive distress and impair your detox and elimination pathways.
Many people that go into body cleansing skip this step, as they believe that cleansing alone can mitigate poor eating habits. This, however, couldn’t be further away from the truth. With thousands of studies that identified toxins in certain foods and linked poor diets to disease, it is one of the most important steps anyone can take to improve their health and wellness. It is by far, the most important step.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to stop eating delicious foods. The idea is to eliminate the top “offenders” and replace with healthier alternatives.
The six foods you need to avoid during detox
Not only the foods below can impair your body’s detox systems, they are well known to contain plenty of toxins, chemicals and harmful ingredients.
Just like the warning on a pack of cigarettes, each of the following foods should come with similar warnings.
1: Processed or commercial meat
Think about antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals the animals are often given so they grow faster. Even more, these poor animals are often fed with a diet they are not even intended to eat. For example, cheap processed corn and grains. The result is a meat product that is simply not healthy and full of toxins.
If you want to include meat in your diet, look for grass fed beef or free range pastured chicken from a reputable source.
2: Farm raised fish
Similarly to commercial meat, farmed fish are not healthy at all. Fish are not supposed to eat corn, soy or wheat!
In fact, many people are shocked to learn that the pink color of the fish they buy at the store is nothing but paint!
The natural “salmon” pinkish-orange color is obtained as a result of natural diet of the fish.
Are they tricking us to think everything is ok with that painted fish? why the paint in not listed as one of the ingredients? Is it toxic to us? How is this even legal? These are all questions we need to constantly ask.
This is unfortunate since wild fish can offer many health benefits to humans, which many studied were able to support. So, if you decide to eat fish, always look for wild fatty fish such as wild alaskan salmon from a trusted source.
Lastly, due to mercury and other toxins found in the ocean, limit your fish intake to 2-3 times a week.
3: Refined sugars & processed carbs
The average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar in one year.
Can you believe it? That’s 3 pounds of sugar every week. Sodas, sugary beverages, energy bars, cereals, the list goes on and on.
And the problem with these sugars, is that the more you consume them, the more your body wants them. No wonder so many people find it so hard to lose weight. These unnatural substances disrupt so many body systems, it’s a miracle our body can still somewhat function.
So, you want to read the label and check the sugar content. In particular, be aware of the different names of processed sugars hiding on food labels: high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, maltodextrin, glucose, fructose and more.
Pro tip: if the list of ingredients look complicated, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
4: Artificial sweeteners
The terms sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners may sound innocent, but at the end of the day, we are talking about lab made chemicals that mimic the effect of sugar in taste.
In other words, these are chemicals that trick your brain to think you are getting sugars, even though you are not.
And according to research, there’s a price for this trickery. Animal studies have convincingly proven that artificial sweeteners cause weight gain, brain tumors, bladder cancer and many other health hazards.
Similarly to sugars, artificial sweeteners often hide in product labels with many creative names such as: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. If you want to add some sweetness to your drinks, smoothies or meals, switch to natural alternatives such as pure monk fruit or stevia.
On that note, always be mindful about sweeteners. Long term use can make your brain get used to an extreme level of sweetness whole foods can’t provide.
5: Dairy & gluten
Most people can’t tolerate either dairy, gluten or both, which can cause digestive issues, inflammation and impair your detox systems. Furthermore, dairy often contains toxins or chemicals that pass from the cows to the milk, cheese, yogurt, or other dairy products.
In fact, most people that limit dairy and gluten for a few weeks, report they feel a big difference. In particular, weight loss, better looking skin, and inflammation. Natural nut milk such as unsweetened pure almond milk or hemp milk are great dairy alternatives. (Watch for the added ingredients, though).
6: Dirty dozen
Lastly, and we wish we wouldn’t have to mention this, are toxins and pesticides in produce. Unfortunately, man made chemicals turn even healthy foods such as our precious fruits and vegetables into a toxic mess.
In fact, nearly 70 percent of the fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides!
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published a list of twelve fruits and vegetables that are exposed to the most pesticides. Also called “dirty dozen”, if you can’t find these organic, it is better to avoid them altogether.
The 2020 Dirty dozen list:
It is best to educate yourself about these foods, and shop wisely.
See the EWG’s complete report: Dirty dozen list.
2. Limit exposure to common toxins in your home
Once you go down that rabbit hole of toxins, it’s really hard to stop. Toxins are just about everywhere! So now that we addressed the toxins from the diet, it is time to have a look at the toxins in our home.
- Mold issues in your home.
Mold toxicity is much more common than many people realize. And the worst part, you can’t always see or smell it. So, if you or your family think you may have a water damage or mold problem in your home, it is always best to have it professionally inspected.
- Skin care products.
Anything that you apply on your skin can get into your system. Most skin care products and cosmetics, even “natural” ones are loaded with chemicals.
Read the label. EWG’s skin care database is a great resource.
- Household cleaners.
Aim for “green” safe options. You don’t need to pollute your indoor air with chemicals in order to disinfect and clean your home.
- Passive smoking.
Second-hand smoke is one of the most important and most widespread toxic exposures in the indoor environment. Unfortunately, second-hand smoke causes more than 600k deaths per year!
3. Eat more fiber
Did you know that fiber can bind to certain toxins in the gut and also supports healthy bowel movements to help the body eliminate these? Simply put, fiber is one of the best natural ingredients you can use to detox your body!
And unless there’s something specifically wrong with your gut, there’s really no need to use fiber supplements. In fact, many fiber supplements such as psyllium husk have side effects and often cause more harm than good. Most people can easily get enough fiber simply by eating whole foods.
While the daily fiber intake can vary from one person to another, 30 grams for men and 25 grams for women is a great place to start.
To easily bring your fiber intake up, eat:
- Morning: 1 cup of blackberries or raspberries (8 grams of fiber)
- Between meals or with your greens: one medium avocado (13 grams fiber)
- Night: 1 oz of chia seeds soaked in water (10 grams fiber)
4. The detox diet: Foods that detox your body
Certain foods have unique components in them that can support your body’s natural detoxification processes. While there’s no diet that works best for everyone, most people will benefit from eating the top detox foods below.
Cruciferous vegetables are among the best foods that can support detoxification in your body. Sulforaphane, a natural plant compound found in many cruciferous vegetables can induce phase II detoxification in the liver. In phase II detoxification, liver cells add a substance (such as a sulfur molecule) to a toxic chemical, to make it less harmful. Common cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.
Broccoli sprouts in particular, are exceptional when it comes to detoxification. With 10-100 times the amount of cancer-fighting compounds compared to regular broccoli, you definitely want to add these detox powerhouses into your salads of smoothies.
Eat the rainbow
Every day, try to eat a high variety of colorful fresh whole fruits, vegetables and dark leafy greens. Each color in plants represents a different plant pigment that offers different nutrients and antioxidants. As a good rule of thumb, vegetables and greens should take three quarters of your plate.
A few examples:
- Antioxidant-rich foods.
Can help to balance the free radical damage and oxidative stress. Especially dark berries, pomegranate, dark raw chocolate (watch the sugars, no dairy) and green tea.
- Apples (with the peel).
Pectin, a naturally occurring fiber found in apples was able to to bind to heavy metals and help promote their detoxification.[6,7]
Liver cleansing fats & oils
Healthy fats, in particular, extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, avocado, fresh raw nuts and walnuts can help support healthy liver function.
Cleansing herbs & spices
Can bind to heavy metals, such as lead, in the digestive tract.
- Raw garlic.
An effective home remedy for parasites, candida and fungal infections. Can also help to support liver detoxification.[9,10,11,12]
- Natural spices: such as ginger, turmeric.
5. Take detox supplements
As a reminder, when we consider the best detox supplements, we have to ask ourselves, what are you optimizing for? Even more, when it comes to cleansing, you always need to consider your starting point. Individual factors that are unique to you, such as your toxicity levels, organ function, and how effective your body can detoxify, can make a difference in the benefits and side effects you may experience.
So, start low and slow, and listen to your body. Below are the top 4 supplements that most people can benefit from that naturally support the body’s detox systems.
1. Oxygen colon cleanse
- Signs you may need it: digestive issues, bloating, excess gas, body odor, occasional constipation.
- When: weekend cleanse.
Oxy-Powder releases natural oxygen in your colon that dissolves colon waste and toxins build up. The toxic waste is then flushed out through normal bowel movements.
You take 4 capsules before bedtime on an empty stomach. Expect the next day to have 3-5 bowel movements with large amount of waste eliminate. (Thus, the weekend part. You definitely want to stay at home).
People often report flatter stomach, improved digestion, more energy, better brain function and glowing skin.
Pro tip: Removing waste buildup from the colon can help your body eliminate toxins quicker, as you continue with cleansing other organs of go into cellular detoxification. Thus, colon cleanse is usually the first step in body detox programs.
2. Support your gut with probiotics & prebiotics
You may have heard that the liver plays an important rôle in protecting us from potentially toxic chemicals. But, did you know that in order to complete the process, the liver dumps these toxins into the gut? So, optimizing your gut and your gut flora is as important.
In fact, the research data suggests that probiotics can help protect the intestinal mucosa from injuries caused by toxins, allergens and pathogens, and help the immune system to fight future infections [14,15].
It is very important that the probiotic supplements you use are free from common allergens, especially soy, dairy, gluten and wheat and have no binders or fillers.
Floratrex is good example of probiotics we use in our different gut cleanse protocols. (When you are lucky enough to get it, as it is often run out of stock). The formula combines the highly studied lactobacillus probiotic strains with inulin prebiotic. Prebiotics serve as a food source for probiotics, thus can further supports the good bacteria growth in your gut.
Pro tip: 80% of our immune system resides in the gut. So, before you look into exotic supplements to boost your immune system, you probably want to cover the basics and support your gut health with probiotics.
3. Detox your body with algae and chlorophyll
Chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants, is well known for its blood detoxification, odor control, wound healing, gut health, and immune system support. In fact, studies found it even has a natural ability to neutralize and bind to mold toxins (mycotoxins).
This is quite remarkable, considering that mold toxins are very tricky. They are so tiny, that after the liver dumps them into the gut, they can reabsorb back into the circulation. Chlorophyll was shown to bind to these toxins, so they can’t reabsorbed and are eliminated.
E3Live® is a blue-green algae that has the highest natural chlorophyll content, and the only option in north america that comes fresh. (It is frozen-liquid, not a powder). Even more, due to its superior nutritional profile with unique nutrients we rarely get from the western diet, E3Live® can help support multiple body systems.
So if you are lucky enough to live in a place where you can get E3Live®, all you need is 1-2 tbsp in the morning on an empty stomach.
If its is not available in your area, however, a great alternative is another algae, chlorella, which is also well known for its high chlorophyll content and detoxification abilities. Just make sure it comes from a reputable source.
4. Detox your cells with liposomal glutathione
Glutathione is one of the most potent antioxidants and cellular detoxifiers found in every cell in the body. Multiple studies have shown that glutathione can neutralize and bind to water-soluble toxins, so they are then marked or targeted to be removed by the body and in the liver.
Liposomal delivery system offers higher absorption compared to traditional glutathione supplements.
6. Detox your body as you sleep
Every night when you go to sleep, your body actually begins a series of maintenance tasks to heal and repair damaged cells and tissue. As a part of this process, the glymphatic system, the waste clearance pathway of the central nervous system removes toxic waste byproducts.
When you do not get enough sleep, however, your glymphatic system may not have enough time to perform that function. As a result, toxins can build up and affect your cognitive abilities, behavior, and judgment..
Unfortunately, we don’t always give sleep the right priority.
In our fast pace society, we often choose to sleep less in order to achieve more and be more productive. Ironically, lack of sleep can impair our performance and productivity. Even more, multiple studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and many health issues.
So, give sleep the right priority.Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep. Athletes may need more, though.
7. Detox stress
Chronic stress has become such a normal part of our life, many people tend to ignore it. But, did you know that stress can impair your body’s ability to detox? Even more, over time, a buildup of toxins can occur and if we aren’t able to de-stress and relax.
How stress affect your body’s detoxification function
When a stressful event occurs, our body triggers the “fight or flight” response. The body then goes into survival mode. Stress hormones rise, our focus increases, blood goes to the muscles, our entire biology is shifted to make sure we can survive an attack or a threat.
On the flip side, while at this state, the body’s ability to heal, detox or digest food is significantly reduced.
In the past, this mechanism was essential to our survival. Just think about our ancestors running away from a saber-toothed tiger, for example. The stress response was short, then when we found shelter and felt safe again, our body was able to relax, heal, detox and return back to normal function.
Modern life stressors however, have turned the natural “fight or flee” stress response into a prolonged chronic stress that never seem to stop.
In fact, 44 percent of Americans reported that they suffer from moderate to high stress. Concerns about money, work and the economy, fears about job security, top the list of most frequently cited sources of stress.
Just like we need to be mindful about toxins in our food and environment and ways to eliminate them, we need to also consider the damaging effect stress has on our health, and ways to detoxify it as well.
5 effective strategies to detox stress
- Schedule a time off.
Sometimes a relaxing vacation can do you more good than a dozen of body cleansing programs. Just as you remember to set up work calls and meeting in your calendar, make sure to set up some quality time off where you can de-stress.
- Digital & social media cleanse.
A big part of the stress problem, is information overload. We are constantly bombarded with more and more information, much of which is not useful to us, and in many cases, stressful.
Ask yourself: how often do you find yourself opening up your favorite app on your phone and looking up a half hour or even hours later to discover you’ve gotten nothing productive done? if this sounds too familiar, perhaps it’s time for a social media cleanse.
- Exercise smart.
Find a physical activity that you love that can help take your mind away from all this stress. The best exercise for stress is the one you love so you keep doing it. Be mindful, however, not to overtrain, as this can increase your stress levels.
You don’t have to be a yogi to enjoy the power of meditation in your life. Sit down quietly for a few minutes every day, breath deeply, and express gratitude. These simple steps can help signal your brain there’s no real danger and that you are safe.
As a reminder, the body detoxify excess stress hormones while you sleep. So, during time of extra stress, you may find that you need to sleep longer.
- Take Tulsi.
Tulsi (Holy basil) is one of Ayurvedic medicine most studied herb known for its ability to calm stress, balance mood, and support the adrenal glands.
8. Detox your kidneys
The main function of the kidneys is to filter waste products and extra fluids and flush them from the body as urine. So, simply by drinking enough water or liquids, you can help support your kidneys as they detox and cleanse toxins.
As a rule of thumb, drink half your body weight in ounces of water. You should drink enough so you have a strong urine flow, with clear urine color.
Also, on that note, it is imperative that you drink high quality water.
Most tap water in the US have been polluted with chemicals such as chlorine, foruide and other contaminants.
9. Sweat out toxins
Another powerful way to detox your body, is to support one of your body’s biggest detox system, the skin. In fact, studies have found toxic materials and heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat. The researchers concluded that sweating may help remove toxic elements from the body.
So, keep moving, have a good sweat, and at the same time, make sure you are well hydrated. A sauna session, yoga or exercise can help you naturally eliminates toxins through sweat along with the many other benefits. Sure, you’ll notice smells come out of your skin. But, do you rather these toxins stay inside your body?
10. Cleanse your body with intermittent fasting
Lastly, we wrap up with the ultimate natural detox tool, fasting!
Everyday, your body cleanses and eliminates toxins, especially during these times when you do not eat. So, just by shortening the time you eat, you can enhance your body’s ability to detox.
In fact, intermittent fasting (also called time restricted eating) has become very popular in the past few years as a weight loss and longevity tool. Studies have found that intermittent fasting can support weight loss, reduce insulin resistance, regulate hormones and turn on Sirtuin longevity genes.
A few examples of popular intermittent fasting protocols include:
- 16 hours fasting each day, 8 hours eating.
For example, you skip breakfast, and eat between 12pm-8pm.
- One meal a day (OMAD).
While this may sound extreme, this type of eating is getting very popular, especially if you prefer to eat larger meals or tend to prefer higher fats foods.
Pro tip: It is always best to ease yourself into intermittent fasting. Most people start by skipping breakfast for a few days. Additionally, limit processed foods and high carb foods to avoid sugar spikes that will make you crave sugars.