Holiday Pre- Detox
14 ways to cleanse and de- bloat before the holiday madness sets in— and just in time for those family photos
Take a proactive approach to winter wellness this year with t wo weeks’ worth of tips to support gut health, balance your body, and prepare your system for the annual onslaught of holiday festivities.
T hat little space between leftover Halloween candy and Thanksgiving stuffing and gravy offers an opportunity to support your gut, balance your body, and get your system ready for the next onslaught. Two weeks before the holiday, get prepared: detox ( before you retox) with these 14 tips.
1 Rethink caffeine.
Caffeine is a powerful diuretic that can burden the liver and tax the adrenals. Try a morning brew that enhances immune function, clears toxins, and hydrates cells: Simmer sliced ginger root in hot water, then add turmeric and lemon juice for their anti- inflammatory and liver- supportive effects. Or swap coffee for tea ( or at least one cup of coffee for a cup of tea). It’s lower in caffeine and rich in protective polyphenols.
2 Boost your bugs.
Get your gut ready for heavy holiday meals with a daily dose of probiotics. Bolstering your microbiome in advance can protect against indigestion, heartburn, and constipation, and studies show that benefi cial bacteria impact mood and energy, support the body’s ability to detoxify itself, and may help control appetite. Focus on probioticrich foods such as kefi r, kimchi, tempeh, and yogurt. And take a high- quality supplement. Look for fermented forms that also include prebiotics and postbiotics— healing compounds that enhance immune function and reduce gut infl ammation.
3 Up your fiber.
Ample fi ber from vegetables, fruits, seeds, and legumes keeps your colon moving right along and helps sweep toxins from the body. Toss kidney beans and shredded Brussels sprouts into salads; snack on raspberries or blackberries; add broccoli and acorn squash to soups; or have a baked sweet potato with coconut oil for breakfast. •
4 Hydrate all day.
Water is crucial for transporting nutrients and removing wastes. You need more than you think: divide your weight by two to fi nd the number of ounces of water you should be drinking every day. Keep a ( not plastic) bottle of fi ltered water in your car and on your desk for constant hydration. Lace it with cranberry juice to stimulate your liver and prevent an accumulation of bacteria in your bladder. Or make a weak green tea to sip all day long. It’s rich in antioxidants and can help you gently kick your coff ee habit.
5 Stretch your body.
Amp up circulation and boost your digestive organs and lymphatic system with deep stretching. Yin Yoga focuses on long, luxurious stretches that stimulate the meridians— energy pathways in the body— and reduce stress. The stretches and twists in any form of yoga massage internal organs and enhance lymph function. And studies show that yogic meditation practices lower stress and reduce infl ammation.
6 Banish bloating.
Focus on foods that reduce belly bloat and aid in detox:
❱ Grapefruit helps reduce appetite and stimulates metabolism. It contains nootkatone, a compound that’s been shown to reduce abdominal fat.
❱ Asparagus contains asparagine, an amino acid that helps reduce water retention.
❱ High- water foods, such as celery, cucumber, melon, and tomatoes, hydrate the body and promote cleansing. Toss them into salads or add them to your morning smoothie.
7 Brush it off.
Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, helps move water through the body, and encourages the elimination of toxins from the skin. Right before you shower, use a soft- bristled brush to lightly brush your body; start with fi ngers and toes, and move toward your heart for 3– 5 minutes. Follow with a shower, alternating very warm and cold water— 30 seconds each— to further boost circulation and move lymph. Or take a warm Epsom salt bath to further encourage toxin removal.
8 Stock up on detox herbs.
Keep a variety of herbs that support liver, kidney, and gut health on hand, and work them into your daily routine. Red clover and parsley are thought to help carry waste out of the bloodstream; nettles support kidney and liver function; burdock has antimicrobial activities and works as a gentle diuretic; and milk thistle protects the liver and helps remove toxins and metabolic waste. Look for single herbs in capsules, tinctures, or teas, or combination formulas that support overall detox.