It happens every spring. As the days get longer and the sun gets brighter, we open up our windows, shed our winter coats, and suddenly get the urge to clean, declutter and repair our homes. But do you ever consider cleaning, decluttering and repairing the toxins from your body?
Biologically, nature supports cleansing of the body in the spring. In the winter the digestive fire is high, and people eat more sweet and heavy food. Most of the time they aren’t able to assimilate these hard to digest foods, so toxic by-product generated due to improper or incomplete digestion may occur.
When the warm weather melts the snow in spring, it has a similar effect on the body. In spring the by-product melts and the volume of by-products becomes so great that the microcirculatory channels of the body can become clogged (think about storm drains along the road).
Some Symptoms of Excess Toxins in the Body
• If you don’t assist these toxins in moving out of the body, you can become prone to flu, colds, cough, or allergies. Or you might feel unusually fatigued, sluggish or drowsy (especially after lunch), or lose your appetite.
• Sharp headaches, dizziness, mild tremors in the limbs, unexplained muscle aches (especially in the calf) could be another symptom. Your tongue may be coated or your throat may be sore.
• The skin may be less radiant, heavier or oilier. You may also find that you break out more often or have dry patches on your skin.
Spring is the best season for detoxification, because nature is already trying to clear out the toxins. It is the best time to help the body to efficiently detoxify the emunctories and the body tissues.
Helping Your Body Detoxify
How do you help the body with its own spring cleaning? Most herbal detox/cleanse products only purify the colon and the digestive track and has a tendency to “push” the body, working towards the upper limits of elimination capacity in order to remove blockages. It is helpful to choose a holistic formula that does more, such as cleansing the liver and the blood, purifying the sweat glands and the emunctories (organs of elimination), preventing buildup of toxins in the fat and muscle tissues, and paving the way for more energy, health and vitality. Biotherapeutic Drainage works in a “gentle” manner, working at an intracellular and extracellular level within the normal parameters of elimination capacity.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and are necessary to ingest through food or supplement form because our bodies do not make them.
Daily B vitamins can provide energy, de-stress and help balance overall mood. Brewer’s yeast and whole grains are rich in B vitamins while meats are high in B12. B vitamins supplements are best in a complex as they work together (unless a specific deficiency has been diagnosed through blood work).
Herbs and Spices
As you spring clean your pantry, make sure you leave room for some detoxifying spices and herbs. Turmeric, milk thistle, and nettle all support the liver by circulating nutrients.
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum (two complicated names that refer to two strains of good bacteria) keep the digestive track and immune system healthy all year around. A healthy digestive track means that we can properly absorb vital nutrients that we consume, and keep out the larger molecules that we are not meant to absorb. Dietary sources include kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.
Get outside!!! Sunlight converts to vitamin D. It is difficult to get enough of the right sun exposure (especially in the winter months) to provide the body with adequate vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat soluble and best consumed as liquid supplement or through food like eggs, salmon and soy.
Lemon and bitter greens like endive, arugula, dandelion and peppermint all help with digestion, encouraging the production of stomach acid and the release of bile. If you have been feeling constipated or bloated these past few months, it may be time to start eating more bitter foods. For something simple, start your day with a half of a lemon squeezed into a mug of warm water.
Eating soluble fiber helps to keep you full while slowing down digestion to balance your blood sugar. As soluble fiber moves down the digestive track it absorbs water and helps the body eliminate cholesterol and hormones. Try foods like avocados, kidney beans, peaches, prunes or oat bran.
If your New Year’s resolution ended in, well, January, springtime is an excellent time to get active again. Not only will working out give you more energy, but your body and mind can de-stress as well. Health permitting, saunas and exercising (sweating) are great ways to rid toxins from your body. Yoga is an excellent choice for all ages with a wide range to accommodate all levels of health.
Fruit and Vegetables
Switch things up and reach for colorful vegetables and fruits throughout the day.
Note: Information in this article is given solely for the purpose of providing education about Ayurveda and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or mitigate any disease. If you have a medical condition, please consult your health care provider.