How to Detox Your Body from the Outside-In

5 steps to detox, and 5 benefits of ridding your body of toxins

When it comes to body cleansing, detox is about more than just diet, although that is an important place to start. Toxins build up in our blood but also on our skin, in our hair and even on the clothes we wear. So to fully detox your body, you need to tackle the issue on all fronts. These steps can help.

Step 1: Detox your diet

Convenience is the name of the game for most consumers in this day and age, and all too often we rely on processed foods that are not only laden with fat and calories, but also with preservatives and other chemicals. If you're a meat eater, you may also be getting hormones and antibiotics that have been given to livestock as part of factory farming. Even fruits and vegetables often contain toxins such as pesticides.

Eliminating processed foods, caffeine and alcohol, among other substances, and switching to organic whole foods and grain-fed meat and dairy is an important first step in detoxing your body. Some body detox regimens recommend a fasting period or an Ayurvedic diet to jump-start the body detoxification process.

Step 2: Sweat it out

Exercise is not only a crucial part of wellness, but, when you perspire, it also helps to purge your body of impurities. Make a point of working up a sweat several times a week.

Step 3: Revisit your suds

Have you read the ingredients on your shampoo bottle lately? What is that stuff anyway? Soaps, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, deodorants, and other skincare and beauty products are typically full of chemicals and household toxins, and these build up over time on skin, hair and nails.

Fortunately, organic varieties and specifically labeled detox shampoos and soaps are available. There are even homemade options, such as baking soda solutions for breaking down oils in your scalp. But you may have to retool your thinking on products you have been using for body cleansing for many years.

Step 4: Redo your laundry

Have you ever noticed how detergent and fabric softener can build up on clothing after many washes? Consider the fact that this clothing is against your skin nearly all day, every day, not to mention the time you spend between the linens on your bed.

So, part of a comprehensive body-cleansing plan should include tossing out those chemical-laden jugs of traditional laundry detergent in favor of less toxic, organic varieties. And consider hanging your clothes on a clothesline to dry — this method is much greener than running an energy-hogging dryer.

Step 5: Consider your threads

While we're talking clothing, remember that natural, loose-knit textiles allow your skin to breathe. Of course, you should go for something more tightly knit if you'll be out in the sun for prolonged periods of time, and certain situations may call for protective clothing.

Step 6: Breathe

The most important element running through your bloodstream is oxygen — and your body needs lots of it. Breathing helps circulate oxygen to the tissues of your body and circulate toxins away. Deep breathing through meditation or guided imagery is a great way to detox your body and mind. There's a reason they call them "cleansing breaths"!

Five benefits of body detox

Like it or not, toxins are everywhere — in the food we eat, in the air we breathe, even in the blood babies get from their mothers before they are born. And toxins have been blamed for a host of conditions ranging from heart disease and cancer to migraines and autism. While research is still looking into these claims, there are some clear body detox benefits.

Once you do get started, keeping the benefits of detox in mind may help motivate you to stick with your program.

1. Feeling lighter and brighter

Many people report feeling lighter and more focused during their body detox diets. This may have to do with simply eating less and cutting out substances, such as alcohol, that may cloud your mind.

2. Increased energy

Giving up caffeine, eating fewer high-calorie foods, fasting — to some, this might sound like a recipe for barely being able to get out of bed. But many people report feeling more energetic as a benefit of detox. Of course, cutting out caffeine can also produce some less-than-desirable symptoms like headaches, so you may want to wean yourself from your morning coffee before beginning a detox program.

3. More restful sleep

On the flipside, even though you may feel more energetic during the day when on a "cleaner" diet, chances are you'll rest better at night, too.

4. Better bowel movements

Body detox diets typically emphasize fiber-rich, whole fruits and vegetables and lots of fluids, which are known to aid in digestion and elimination and help to rid the body of toxins. Particularly if you previously ate a lot of processed foods, you may notice increased regularity, though some people experience constipation early on as their bodies adjust.

5. Lower risk for chronic conditions

While the jury is still out on whether toxins play a role in specific diseases, opting for more whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, and eliminating the long list of foods most body detox diets put on the "no" list may result in weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improved factors that are known to increase your risk for heart disease, cancer and other conditions.

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