Cleanse and Detox- The Right Way

You’ve committed to a cleanse but don’t know where to start…

Picking the right foods is vital to an effective cleanse and can be easily adopted into your diet. This is an essential list of tips for everyone planning a cleanse or detox from Nutritionist and Dietician, Belinda Reynolds.

TIP 1:

Clean up your diet. Remove the following from your day-to-day eating: sugar, high amounts of gluten, processed foods, cakes, biscuits, alcohol and anything in excess. Cut cigarettes, coffee, tea (herbal teas are an exception), caffeinated soft drinks and diet colas.

TIP 2:

Eat an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet. Inflammatory stress is commonly a contributing factor in the development and persistence of many chronic conditions such as achey joints (arthritis), skin rashes and flaking (dermatitis), allergies (sinusitis) and gut upsets (e.g. IBS). One of the first steps in rectifying these issues is to change what you’re putting in your body. Seek out foods such as avocado, apple cider vinegar, dark leafy green veggies such as kale and spinach, rich-coloured berries, organic green tea and spices such as turmeric and cinnamon that are all potent sources of nutrients, antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.

TIP 3:

Eat something green with each meal and eat foods that aid the digestive process, ensuring that you place less stress on your digestive system. Aim to eat leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach and beets, together with a selection of bitter leaves such as rocket which can help support liver function and encourage the release of digestive juices. These foods are also rich in antioxidants, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins A, C and B, plus they are gluten free and low GI.  They are also a low calorie means of helping you to feel satisfied whilst delivering an impressive array of health-promoting phytonutrients to the body. Generally, vegetables take up to 45 minutes to digest.

TIP 4:

Ensure you include protein in your diet such as omega-3 rich salmon and sardines; poultry and eggs. Protein generally takes three hours or so to fully digest. Omega-3 rich foods are essential for overall health and if you aren’t achieving sufficient levels of omega-3 in your diet, consider taking a supplement. If you are a vegetarian, eat coconut and flaxseed or linseed oil.

It is important to note that poor digestion of foods throughout the gut can contribute to a host of ramifications including skin conditions, feeling sluggish and digestive discomfort amongst others. Consult your healthcare practitioner for advice on how to support and enhance your digestive and bowel health. Recommendations may include the introduction of a probiotic and/or digestive enzyme supplement.

TIP 5:

Add herbs to your meals as these are known to aid digestion. Beneficial herbs and spices include ginger, thyme, basil, cinnamon and turmeric. Turmeric contains curcumin, a flavonoid which is known to be highly anti-inflammatory and that research has proven useful in the management of a range of inflammatory issues.

Talk to your healthcare practitioner for a recommendation on a practitioner-only curcumin supplement in a highly bioavailable form.

A handful of raw nuts such as brazil nuts or almonds are also great for a healthy snack.

TIP 6:

Drink lots of  water to stay hydrated and help to flush out toxins – two litres of water per day is recommended, however it is best to avoid drinking large volumes of liquid at the same time as eating. If you wish, drink a glass of water with lemon before the meal to help aid digestion. Mineral or purified water is the preferred liquid, however, caffeine free tees including Red Tea, Dandelion and Chamomile are great alternatives. Most fruit juices are high in sugar (fructose) and devoid of fibre, so should be avoided or at least kept to a minimum during a cleanse program.

TIP 7:

Make time for your self:

  • ensure you eat at regular meal times to help maintain regular bowel movements.
  • get adequate sleep – a great way to counter stress, rest and recover. The body’s processes ramp up at night as they are left in peace to replenish and rejuvenate.
  • exercise sufficiently to help reduce stress and improve circulation.
  • take time to relax through mindful meditation, yoga or any other activity that takes your mind off the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life that wreaks havoc on our bodies.

Top compounds to aid cleansing:

Spirulina One of nature’s original superfoods, spirulina is a nutritional algae with a high protein content, and represents an impressive source of vitamins and minerals vital for a cleanse.

Dandelion root Assists with fluid retention and helps improve digestion. Dandelion root can be found in the form of tea and is ideal as a post-meal drink to allow for optimal digestion.

Globe artichoke Can improve liver function and help with symptoms such as constipation, flatulence, belching, bloating and stomach discomfort.

Broccoli sprouts Are small in size but are highly nutritious containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Cracked Chlorella A microalgae, chlorella is a rich green protein and is filled with vitamins and minerals that make it great for a cleanse. The phytonutrients in chlorella can bind toxins, reducing their uptake into the body. You can add cracked chlorella to smoothies for easy consumption.

Fibre assists in healthy bowel function and encourages the growth of good bacteria. Inulin is a soluble fibre that can be found in many fruits, vegetables and herbs. It has a prebiotic effect, meaning it is not broken down or absorbed, but instead reaches the bowel to feed and promote  the growth of specific types of friendly bacteria. Foods high in other prebiotic soluble fibres are: oats, lentils, nuts, cucumber, celery, carrots apples, pears and strawberry.

Speak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about supplementing your diet.

For more health articles, go to