Four gentle ways to cleanse the body for spring

Spring is here! Natasha Turner shows us four easy ways to start the new season with some internal spring cleaning.

Lemon Water with ginger to boost your metabolism

Photo, Istock.

With today being the first day of spring, it’s only natural that mental flashes of bikinis seem to quickly come to mind. How cruel: bikini season creeps up after months of late-night snacks, heavy winter dinners and a lack of gym time.

A change of season offers us the opportunity to reflect and establish a new set of goals. A detox is the perfect way to jump-start your spring transformation for both the body and soul. Here’s a list of my no-fail tricks to give your body some much-needed love and attention:

1. Love your liver
The word cleanse can be both exciting and frightening, in that it offers our body a wealth of benefits, while also running the risk of causing us to feel queasy or unsatisfied. Cleansing to rid the body of unwanted toxins does not, however, need to be done under extreme measures. In fact, this simple morning cocktail is amazing for boosting metabolism, controlling appetite and improving the appearance of your skin.

Dr. Turner’s supercharged detox cocktail
1/2 to 1 organic lemon, juiced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
8 cups of water

While this may sound like a strange brew, these four ingredients are sure to give your liver a boost.

Lemons are full of antioxidants, one in specific called d-limonene. This powerful compound, found in the peel, stimulates natural enzymes in the liver, converting them to a less toxic state and helping to flush them out of your body.

A quarter cup of lemon juice also has about 20 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C. Among the endless benefits of vitamin C, it assists your liver to break down unwanted fat and amplifies your body’s elimination abilities.

The pinch of cayenne pepper in this drink might intimidate you, but don’t be scared of it. Capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in cayenne, has shown promise in small studies focused on decreasing hunger through the day. Related research found that capsiate, a compound found in sweet peppers, hinders fat storage, boosts weight loss and increases metabolism. Studies also show that capsaicin can increase energy output and decrease body fat.

2. Ditch the sugar
Purging your cupboards of sugar-loaded foods is one of the best detox rules to follow. The World Health Organization recently released their recommendation for sugar to make up no more than five percent of an adult’s daily caloric intake. This seismic shift shows us just how dangerous sugar has become.

Excess sugar is stored in the body as fat thanks to insulin, the storage hormone that tells your body to do so. Dr. Robert Lustig’s 2009 video Sugar: The Bitter Truth (which has almost 4.5 million views) cautions that sugar should be considered as toxic as tobacco, and that sugar-laden foods should be ditched for good. In a similar video, titled Hunger and Hormones, A Vicious Cycle, he explains that even if we’re eating the same amount of calories than we were years ago, the increased calories from sugar instantly gives us more insulin, “which drives weight gain”.

To make sure sugar isn’t behind your unwanted weight gain, rid your cupboards and fridge of foods high in sugar and all it’s many other forms (fructose, corn syrup…).

For more info on how to lower your sugar intake click here.

3. Opt for organic
It’s no secret that eating fresh, locally grown organic produce, as well as organic (or wild) sources of meat, fish, eggs and dairy (that’s free of hormone-disrupting additives and pesticides) is the best choice whenever you can. A 2012 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirmed that organic produce has fewer pesticides and toxins when compared to non-organic products.

Agriculture Canada reported that, “The value of organic food products sold in Canada through all retail channels was estimated at $2 billion in 2008,” but for many, organic isn’t always an option due to location and/or budget.

To reduce your intake of unwanted chemicals, a good rule of thumb is to be smart at the grocery store. If a fruit or vegetable has a peel, shell or skin (such as grapefruit, oranges or squash) it’s less likely to have absorbed as many chemicals as something more exposed, like a strawberry. The Dirty Dozen is a great way to keep track of the non-organic meats, fruits and vegetables that should be avoided as best as possible.

For more on the foods you should try to purchase organically click here.

4. Find your inner Buddha
Exercise does wonders for our body. Not only do we feel more balanced and energized, but getting active is a natural way to cleanse our bodies, which reflects particularly in our weight, skin and hair. But, let’s suppose we take our energy to the next level, and exercise our minds.

Meditation gives our bodies an opportunity to tap into the brain, which can be bogged down by our busy lifestyles. Not only does accumulated waste exit through the bowels, it can also be released through the breath.

A 2014 study down by Dr. Charles Elder found that college students who practised transcendental meditation, “indicated significant reductions in psychological distress, including anxiety and depression, which were associated with decreased blood pressure.” Follow the jump for more on how meditation can change your life.

Natasha Turner, N.D., is a naturopathic doctor and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet, The Supercharged Hormone Diet and The Carb Sensitivity Program. She’s also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique and a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show and The Marilyn Denis Show. For more wellness advice from Natasha Turner, click here

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