Turns out, there *is* such thing as a 'healthy detox'; (no fad retreats or spas involved). These easy ways to recuperate will help you feel healthier than ever.
Cut Your Sugar Intake
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One way to do a healthy detox? Simply start by decreasing the amount of sugar you consume. (And that includes honey, molasses, and artificial sweeteners.) When you *really* just have to have something sweet? Instead of routinely reaching for a doughnut, cookie, or cupcake, swap in a healthier alternative, says Rachel Beller, R.D., founder of the Beller Nutrition. "Recent research suggests that just a small amount of dark chocolate (with at least 70 percent cocoa content) helps curb both our sweet and salty cravings." Another option is to grab a piece of fruit; the natural sugars will nip the need for sweetness and curb your craving, says Daphne Miller, M.D., family physician and clinical professor at the University of California San Francisco.
Dr. Miller recommends adding cinnamon instead of sugar to foods, as it helps to control blood sugar while simultaneously satisfying a sweet tooth. Try sprinkling it on oatmeal or plain yogurt, or add a dash to your coffee.
Photo: Getty Images/Martin Barraud
Start with Water
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Hydration could quite possibly be the best healthy detox you'll ever give your body. (Don't like it plain? These fancy products turn water into a healthy drink). Your body depends on water to survive and every single cell requires it to function. Start the day strong by waking up with it and drinking a tall glass of water with juice from half of a lemon, which can help digestion and kick your liver into detox mode to flush out build-up toxins.
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Move Your Body
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Regular exercise is a form of healthy detox as it encourages circulation in the blood and lymph system. Doing so will also enhance digestion, reduce tension, lubricate joints, and strengthen your body. For that reasons, people who exercise regularly have fewer toxins in their systems than those who don't, Dr. Miller says. When you're not *officially* working out, get creative: Take the stairs, do five-minute power yoga sessions (even in your work clothes), do squats while you're talking on the phone, park a half-mile away from your destination and then walk, or better yet, don't drive at all, she suggests.
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Drink a Lot of Tea
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"Not only is tea full of antioxidants, it hydrates you (especially if it's herbal) and fills you up," says Ashley Karr, a research psychologist and wellness coach (plus, you can practice mindfulness with it). "This means you will be less likely to overeat or eat the wrong things." Keep in mind, the caffeine in tea is different than the caffeine in coffee—it's gentler on your system, so it'll give you a pick-me-up minus the jitters.
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Eat More Fruits and Veggies
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When it comes to diet, you don't need any kind of a crazy detox plan to feel better, stat. "A colorful variety of fruits and veggies should be the main focus of your diet, along with whole grains, beans and legumes, and small amounts of nuts and seeds," says Chad Sarno, a plant-based chef, and culinary educator. Swapping out procssed foods—that lack the nutrients your body needs—in favor of more fruits and veggies and whole foods will help you feel better, without doing an extreme juice cleanse. (Dark green vegetables, for instance, are full of micronutrients and are very low in calories, so you can eat a lot of them.)
Photo: Getty Images/Claudia Totir
Combat Environmental Pollutants
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Pollution and allergens are all around you. They're in the air and can trigger allergy symptoms (such as yucky, puffy, red eyes). Travis Stork, M.D., host of daytime talk show The Doctors advises you flush your nasal passages regularly with a Neti Pot. Doing so can eliminate the side effects of air pollutants, providing a healthy detox of sorts and leading to better breathing naturally. If you use the Neti Pot before bed, even better—it will enhance your sleep.
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Sweat It Out in a Sauna
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Saunas are a staple of the wellness culture in countries like Sweden and Finland for good reason: Sitting and sweating it out can help you detox via sweat loss, plus it has skin benefits, to boot. The infrared kind? Physical therapy centers have been helping athletes with pain relief and recovery for years via infrared light therapy which can stimulate your body's circulatory system and oxygenate your body's cells (read: better blood circulation).
Photo: Getty Images/Inti St Clair
Exfoliate Your Skin
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"Skin brushing and oil massages will help exfoliate the toxins from your skin and refresh circulation," says Christina Chodos, a certified health counselor and educator from Chicago, IL. Intrigued? Give your skin the healthy detox it's craving with these facial exfoliators that will completely transform your skin.
Photo: Getty Images/Tetra Images
Eat More Often
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Skipping meals can slow down your metabolism and make you firmly believe the world *seriously* owes you food, notes Beller. The result? You'll end up consuming way more calories than you would have if you weren't so famished in the first place. Make regular eating a habit by keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with healthy fixings like yogurt, peanut butter, and whole wheat bread or wraps for quick and easy meals.
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Get Your Sleep
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Although good sleep hygiene is as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet, it often gets shorted in our hyper-driven society. In reality? It's in and of itself a healthy detox. After all, poor sleep is a big cause of ill health in our culture, according to Dr. Miller. Her advice? "Consider a sleep reboot where you eliminate caffeine and alcohol, have a regular bedtime, avoid late meals, and ban TV, computer, and smartphone screens for at least two hours before bedtime."
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