Our bodies are amazing, as they are able to adapt, seamlessly regulate important functions from temperature to heart rate, and constantly working on repairing, cleansing and rejuvenation. We often take for granted how the body naturally detoxifies itself every night, while we sleep.

At times the body gets overloaded by toxins, and our detox organs (liver, kidneys, lungs, gut, and skin), which we count on for maintaining our health, get out of balance. When this happens, we often experience significant symptoms that occur from our body’s attempts to correct itself.

And because of our growing exposure to toxins, and lifestyle habits, it’s more important than ever, to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us through the symptoms we’re experiencing. When we take note of what’s going on with our bodies, we can take responsibility for improvement, when it needs a little help detoxing, becoming responsible of our own wellness, making proactive choices and lifestyle changes that promote your ongoing health!

Here are 5 major signs you need a detox.

  • Fatigue – One of the biggest indicators the body is working overtime to correct itself is continuous fatigue. Being sleepy on occasion or after a long week is one thing, but feeling groggy after a regular night’s sleep, wanting to nap throughout the day, or having irregular sleeping patterns is a sign it’s time to clean things up inside.
  • Infrequent bowel movements – The liver plays a key role in detoxification by identifying toxins and repackaging them in a way that allows them to pass along to the digestive system and be eliminated from the body. Constipation is dangerous because those toxins stay in your body for longer than intended and can be reabsorbed into circulation instead of exiting through the bowels.
  • Inability to lose weight – If your midsection is growing, despite clean eating and regular exercise, it is a sign that what is coming into your body has surpassed what your body can use and effectively move out. Fat cells tend to hold onto toxins. The body knows this and may declare it unsafe to breakdown the adipose tissue/fat cells and release the toxins within, consequently making it more difficult to lose weight.
  • Skin issues – When the liver is overloaded and the body isn’t eliminating its toxins through normal pathways like daily bowel movements, it will seek alternative means to rid itself of those harmful substances. One such alternative way is through the skin. As our largest organ, the skin provides a very useful way to eliminate toxins through sweating and less favorable ways like rashes, rosacea, and eczema. These skin conditions, as well as bad body odor, can all be signs your skin is picking up the detoxing slack for the rest of your body.
  • Gallbladder problems – Often overlooked as unimportant, having gallbladder issues can be another sign your systems are out of balance, as this mighty little organ is considered the “right-hand man” of the liver. Poor digestion, pain in the right-hand side of your rib cage after eating, and gallstones are all major indicators your body is in need of repair.

Fortunately, you can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system. Here are some evidenced-based ways to rejuvenate it!

  1. Limit Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol reduces your liver’s ability to carry out its normal functions, such as filtering waste and other toxins from your body.
  2. Focus on Sleep: Adequate sleep allows your brain to reorganize, recharge, and eliminate toxins that accumulate throughout the day.
  3. Drink More Water: In addition to its many roles in your body, water allows your body’s detoxification system to remove waste products from your blood.
  4. Reduce your Intake of Sugar and Processed Foods: Excess junk food consumption is linked to chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. These conditions can cause harm to organs important to detoxifying, such as your liver and kidneys.
  5. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants helps your body reduce damage caused by free radicals and may lower your risk of diseases that can impact detoxification. Examples of antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, that can be found in berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like coffee and green tea.
  6. Eat Foods High in Prebiotics: Eating a diet rich in prebiotics keeps your digestive system healthy, which is important for proper detoxification and immune health. Good food sources of prebiotics include tomatoes, artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, and oats.
  7. Decrease Your Salt Intake: Consuming too much salt can increase water retention. You can eliminate excess water — and waste — by increasing your intake of water and potassium-rich foods. Foods rich in potassium include potatoes, squash, kidney beans, bananas, and spinach.
  8. Get Active: Regular physical activity lowers inflammation and allows your body’s detoxification system to work properly. It’s recommended that you do at least 5 hours a week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, or at least 2 hours a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity, such as running.
  9. Eat sulfur-containing foods: Foods high in sulfur, such as onions, broccoli, and garlic, enhance excretion of heavy metals like cadmium.
  10. Try out chlorella: Chlorella is a type of algae that has many nutritional benefits and may enhance the elimination of toxins like heavy metals.
  11. Flavor dishes with cilantro: Cilantro enhances excretion of certain toxins, such as heavy metals like lead, and chemicals, including phthalates and insecticides.
  12. Support glutathione: Eating sulfur-rich foods like eggs, broccoli, and garlic helps enhance the function of glutathione, a major antioxidant produced by your body that is heavily involved in detoxification.
  13. Switch to natural cleaning products: Choosing natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda over commercial cleaning agents can reduce your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.
  14. Choose natural body care: Using natural deodorants, makeups, moisturizers, shampoos, and other personal care products can also reduce your exposure to chemicals.

Bottom line, you can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system and improve your overall health by staying hydrated, consuming less salt, getting active, and following an antioxidant-rich diet.