While we don't necessarily recommend "cleansing" because it's more marketing than science, if you choose to do so here is some important information on herbal cleanses. Herbal formulas contain a variety of natural herbs designed to do more than eliminate the stress on the liver and colon. These herbal formulas use milk thistle, psyllium, licorice, peppermint, fennel and senna to help the liver produce bile and digest food. Herbs such as wormwood, black walnut and cloves help kill parasites. These formulas work best when consuming whole, unprocessed foods with moderate protein and high in fiber.
These formulas should be done in moderation, as psyllium and senna in high quantities can be toxic. The bottom line on cleanses is to avoid extreme protocols, especially if you have medical conditions, or you take medications that may be detrimental rather than beneficial to your health. That said, adding any of the following strategies to your lifestyle is easy, healthy and certainly "cleansing:
1. Minimize added sugars such as soda and sugar-sweetened beverages
2. Eat a diet rich in fresh organic fruits and vegetables. These foods contain fiber, protective phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals
3. Consume plant oils and unprocessed nuts for anti-inflammatory oils and minerals.
4. Eat adequate protein from high quality sources, fresh eggs, and vegetables. If you eat meat, choose sources that are humanly treated, free of hormones and antibiotics
5. For individuals with allergies, choose foods and supplements that are free of common food allergens such as gluten (from grains) and casein (from dairy)
6. Eliminate stimulants, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco products, modified food ingredients and chemicals and drink adequate amounts of clean water free of contaminants. For pure water consider a reverse osmosis filter system or RO water which can be found at many natural grocery and health food stores
7. Consume adequate fiber - 28 to 35 grams a day to promote proper bowel function
8. Get enough restorative sleep (7.5 to 9hrs/night of sound sleep or stage 4 sleep is optimal)
9. Try hot lemon water with cayenne pepper before breakfast to stimulate the liver
10. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in fresh water for the kidneys
11. Exercise enough to sweat to help open the pores to release toxins through the skin