Combat the effects of excess with a simple detox plan
Feeling unhealthy and bloated? Sugary foods, alcohol and general excess can leave your liver overworked and out-of-sorts, so why not detox and give your body a well-deserved break?
Follow our 10 easy tips to make detoxing at home a breeze.
If your digestive system is feeling sluggish or your energy levels are low, it could be time to flush out your liver and give your whole system a rest. A break from food additives and other hard-to-digest elements should get you back on track.
If you're a sucker for seconds, it's time to take control of your food intake. Use a small plate. That way, you won't stretch your stomach with masses of food, only to feel hungry when that cavernous space empties. Eat small portions often, and keep energy levels up by consuming around 1900 calories a day.
It is vital to make sure that you eat enough protein throughout your detox. If your diet is lacking in sufficient protein, your body starts to draw on the protein in your liver. Just include white meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses in your diet and you'll be on track for the recommended 45g a day.
If you're not drinking water, you're not on a detox. Two litres or eight glasses a day will cleanse your system and brighten your mood. It works to flush away toxins and can even improve brain functionality.
Try to avoid 'white carbs' such as bread and pasta, opting for complex carbohydrates instead (potatoes and wholegrain cereals are good sources). These foods contain vital fibre, vitamins and minerals and breakdown slowly in the body, preventing hunger pangs and helping to maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Everyone knows that too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, so limit your intake from the salt cellar, and watch out for it hidden in processed foods. Salt also impairs your body's ability to flush out water, leaving you bloated. Why not boost your circulation by making it into tingly thigh rub instead?
You should aim to eat at least three small meals and two snacks a day, eating every few hours. This will help to reduce cravings, making sure you don't reach for the chocolate! Try not to eat late at night or go to bed before your meal is fully digested.
Purplish red and bright green foods including tomatoes, grapes, avocado, pomegranates, broccoli, beetroot and all sorts of berries - are often high in antioxidants, because of the ingredient sulforaphane, which help to renew cells and fight cancer. They also help flush out food and environmental toxins and restore your auto-immune system to its healthiest best.
If you develop a headache when you miss your regular coffee, your body is addicted to the stimulant caffeine. Cut the caffeine from your diet to restore your energy balance. Lemon and ginger tea is perfect for detoxing as it is caffeine free and is great for assisting in digestive issues, while green or white tea is high in flavenoids and antioxidants to promote brain function and heart health.
Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. These have an alkalising effect on the body, which helps to maintain balance and provide you with the necessary vitamins and minerals. Purists can go raw for maximum vitamin uptake, and preparing a smoothie is an easy and delicious way to increase your 5-a-day total.