January is rapidly evaporating, the cold weather has finally settled in, and the excitement of the holidays and the shiny new year seem like forever ago. That resolution your were so excited about slipped last week and now you’re thinking about trying that new detox thing you read about.
Before you spend your hard earned money on a program of powdered shakes, ‘points’ or a sad little microwaved whatever, please keep in mind that your body was designed to run on food, not reconstituted power, and the health of your gut is paramount. That is central for good health, immunity and well being. When your gut health is compromised (and it likely is!) your body will struggle to absorb the nutrients you are so carefully putting into it.
Every detox should include a focus on optimizing and restoring the health of your gut. Here’s a few things to keep in mind — and on your plate or blender — so you’re making to most of your time, energy and money.
Did you know there are more microbial cells (minute life forms) in your body that there are human cells?
Our “good” gut bacteria play a huge role in overall health. They will digest some of the fiber that your digestive enzymes can’t, and help your body produce and synthesize vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D, Vitamin K, B12 and Magnesium. Look for a good, multiple strain, acid-resistant probiotic with a minimum of 10 billion cfu (colony forming units) per tablet.
Also loaded with beneficial bacteria, they are created through a process known as lacto-fermentation, through which friendly food bacteria convert natural carbohydrates to lactic acid, enzymes, vitamins, fatty acids and healthy probiotic strains. Lacto-fermentation also makes food easier to digest. You can use:
Yes, food can act as an anti inflammatory! While your detox should be removing a whole raft of inflammatory foods like sugar, processed foods and gluten, you should also be adding in super anti-inflammatory stuff too.. Dr. Andrew Weil has a great little free tool he calls his “Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.” Check it out here.
• Green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. You almost can’t get too much of these wonderful things!
• Turmeric — you can cook with it or get a good supplement at the vitamin shop
• Fish oil
• Flax seed
• Bok choy
• Pineapple — bromelian in is a digestive enzyme that has also been shown to have immune modulating properties! And yum!
The most abundant amino acid in your blood stream, it was first used in a powder form by athletes looking to preserve muscle tissue. Recent research has shown that it is also very helpful in treating leaky gut and improving overall health. Although there is no magic bullet, there is mounting evidence that it can Improve gastrointestinal heath, help heal ulcers improve IBS and diarrhea and improve metabolism & cellular detoxification.
One final, super important, note. If you have any underlying health issues, make sure you speak with the medical professional that you are working with. Although many medical doctors won’t necessarily have an extensive background in nutrition, they should know what you’re doing, so if your numbers start to change so you can avoid any unnecessary complications.
Bernadette Smith is an organic gardener, life-long tree hugger and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach living in Patchogue, N.Y. She offers free 30-minute Health Discovery Sessions and can reached through Facebook or by emailing SimplyNourishedHome@gmail.com.
Photo: Green spinach and kale detox juice courtesy stock photo through Creative Commons.