A “Spring Cleaning” for Your Body

                                                           By: Xinjuan Baldwin

As the weather is warming up, summer is not too far away. During this time, many of us like to do a thorough spring cleaning to get the house back on track. Also, believe it or not, , our body will really appreciate a nice “cleaning” too. Our digestive system is constantly working and some extra wastes start accumulating after all the hard work that it performs. This waste accumulation can be harmful and put our health at risk. To get a cleaner internal environment, we don’t need those expensive pills or unknown chemicals; many food sources can finish the job naturally and gently.

1. Liquid:

Water is an essential component in our body. It sustains the whole body and allows it to function properly. Also, drinking enough water throughout the day helps flush the intestines and kidneys; eventually excrete the waste from our body.

We all know drinking plain water works great; but if you can’t keep up with your liquid consumption, you may want to try a few fun tricks. Add some slices of lemon or cucumber in the water to make your plain water taste good and refreshing. Not to mention, fruits and vegetables have a large amount of vitamins, which can nourish our body at the same time. If you like cozy and warm drinks, you can make ginger tea by adding ginger root to boiling water. Ginger helps stimulate digestion and hot ginger tea also relieves cold or flu.

Herbal tea is another good choice. In some cultures, it is also believed to promote both physical and spiritual health. Herbal teas come in different combinations and flavors. The ones without caffeine are better options since excessive caffeine consumption will cause dehydration. Try to look through the herbal tea section at grocery store; you will discover some amazing finds.

2. Dietary Fiber:

Dietary fibers, especially insoluble fiber, have incredible “cleansing power”. On one hand, soluble fiber helps lower total and LDL cholesterol and control blood sugar in people with diabetes. On the other hand, insoluble fiber aids in digestion and bowel movements. It makes food moving faster through digestive tract and adding bulk to the stool. Especially, it can be a big help for people suffering from constipation. Accumulation of digestive wastes can cause many other diseases; it’s a good idea to do a clean-up once in a while.

Sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, oat bran, barley, legumes, nuts, seeds, and some fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, banana, beets and carrots. And sources of insoluble fiber include whole grains, bran, nuts, seeds, and vegetables (especially the skins), such as cucumber and celery.

3. Probiotics:

Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that help maintain the natural balance of organisms in the intestines. They help maintain a healthy digestive system by inhibiting the “bad bacteria” growth. Probiotics are used to treat digestive tract problems such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Common food sources of probiotics include yogurt with live cultures, as well as Kefir (a fermented dairy product). Adding probiotics to your diet is a good way to promote a balanced internal environment, especially while you are doing a “clean-up”.

Liquids, fibers and probiotics are three good options for getting your digestive system back on track. However, if you are planning for a complete detox, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor or physician. They will prescribe a customized detoxing plan to achieve your goal. Finally, there’s one thing you always need to remember: whole and natural food are always better than processed food. Avoiding processed food will help reduce the stress on digestive system; combine with consuming more food with “cleansing power”, you will prepare your body for a delightful summer.

Xinjuan Baldwin is the Senior Editor of Educational Fitness Solutions Monthly Nutrition Newsletter and is a graduate of the State University of New York with a B.S. in Nutrition and a minor in Personal Training. During college Xinjuan focused on working with children, older adults, the general populace, and families in need of nutrition and fitness consulting. Currently she is focusing her time on more specific nutrition related issues, such as proper sports nutrition implementation and how to manage weight via better eating habits. She also spends her time concentrating on posture and body alignment analysis and correction implementation within a fitness setting.