7 Day Holiday Detox
The holiday season is nearly over and you may have found yourself curling up on the couch with a hot chocolate and a good book while a hearty meal cooks in the crockpot more often than your waistband would have liked. While hearty foods and cold weather simply go together, and it is ok to enjoy this combination, you may find yourself overindulging in foods high in carbohydrates and fats.
Detoxing has become quite the fad in recent years, from juice cleanses to craze diets, that often have no scientific backing. Your body already contains detox capabilities when your diet consists of whole foods, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
This seven-day plan will revitalize your body by following seven healthy, science-proven tips.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Water is essential to all of the body’s processes, and because you are consistently losing water throughout the day, hydrating is one of the most important things you can do to take care of your body.
While the 8 8 ounce glasses rule is beneficial, some studies say you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces to properly hydrate.
According to two PubMed studies, not drinking enough water can impair your mood, concentration, brain function, and increases the frequency of headaches.
As for water as a healthy detox method goes, PubMed studies show that drinking 17 ounces of water can temporarily boost the metabolism by 24-30 percent, drinking 68 ounces of water in one day increases calorie burn by about 96 calories per day, and those who drank 17 ounces of water before each meal lost 44 percent more weight over 12 weeks than those who did not.
For an added benefit, make sure your water is cold, your body will need to expend more calories to heat the water to body temperature.
Eliminate sugar and alcohol
Sugar and alcohol are empty calories and can be detrimental to your health. Dropping sugar and alcohol from your diet can help you drop pounds, improve your health, give you glowing skin, and recalibrate your palate.
Sugar is hidden in many products so make sure to read nutrition labels before purchasing.
Fats that won’t make you fat
Healthy fats, or monounsaturated fats, are found in avocados, olive oil, and certain nuts and have numerous health benefits. Healthy fats can aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease, and decrease inflammation.
A study published on PubMed that compared the results of 24 studies found that high monounsaturated fatty acids diets are slightly more effective than high-carb diets for weight loss.
Up your protein and fiber intake
On top of having heart-health benefits and helping control blood sugar, fiber also helps reduce appetite and in turn, helps you lose fat and prevent regain.
A soluble fiber, known as viscous fiber, helps reduce appetite by forming a gel that holds water, slowing down how fast the stomach releases digested food into the gut.
Soluble fibers are found in plant-based foods such as beans, asparagus, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, oranges, and oats.
Researchers estimate that doubling average daily fiber intake can result in up to 130 fewer calories being absorbed.
Protein is an essential part of any diet, but it also facilitates weight loss.
Protein reduces appetite, increases feelings of fullness, increases metabolic rate and protects muscle mass during weight loss.
A PubMed study found that a diet containing 30 percent calories from protein ate about 600 fewer calories than when protein made up only 15 percent of their calories.
Adding protein and fiber to every meal will keep you satiated and your blood sugar levels stable.
Eat all of the veggies
For these seven days, eat all of the vegetables.
Vegetables high in fiber and water (spinach, butternut squash, asparagus, artichokes, and cucumbers, just to name a few) will promote a healthy liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal system. All of these organs and systems make up your body’s natural detox systems.
Reduce the sodium
Processed, prepackaged foods are usually very high in sodium. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, which comes to about 1 teaspoon of salt. Currently, the average American eats about 3,400 mg of sodium per day.
Reducing sodium intake will allow the body to let go of excess water and will reduce bloat.
Chew on some fennel
If your stomach looks like you may have swallowed a balloon, try chewing on some raw fennel seeds. It may sound strange, but studies have shown that fennel can increase the production of bile, which is a good thing, in this case. It also may have pain-reducing, diuretic, and antimicrobial properties.