We’ve all done our share of spring cleaning to tidy our homes. But, have you ever thought of doing the same for your body? Research suggests that many people gain weight, change sleep patterns and experience mood changes during the winter. The return of spring is the perfect opportunity to put these things back in order and make a fresh start. So while you’re cleaning out the cobwebs from your home, consider these ways to spruce up your body, too.
- Love Your LiverThe liver is the body’s second largest organ (after the skin) and its main job is cleaning. This little housekeeper works hard to filter blood, metabolize drugs and detoxify chemicals. Increase your liver’s efficiency by putting less strain on it.
- Cut back on or eliminate alcohol from your diet. The liver has to work very hard to filter out this toxin.
- Lose weight. Excess fat in your body often means excess fat in the liver, which can lead to inflammation and less efficient function.
- Reduce sugar The body converts excess sugar into fat, which can end up in the liver.
- Eat CleanWe all know that some tasty foods aren’t actually that nourishing, and many overly processed foods aren’t good for us. To eat healthier, consider eating clean. According to the Mayo Clinic, eating clean means eating less processed food, opting instead for real food like fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meats. Eating more plants, including plant-based protein as found in beans, lentils, peas and quinoa. And eating for nourishment, not decadent pleasure. Finally, avoid fast food and cook healthy meals at home whenever possible.
- Clean Your Skin…GentlyYes, it’s important to remove the dirt from our skin to stay healthy. However, some of the ways we cleanse it can take a toll. Strong soaps can strip important oils and might even destroy the useful microbiota that live on and protect skin. So, wash with a mild soap. Long hot showers may seem like the answer, but extended exposure to hot water can also strip important oils that keep skin healthy. Instead, take shorter showers in warm, not hot, water. Many people use exfoliation (the removal of the top layer of dead skin cells) to help maintain their skin. Surprise! This, too, can have negative effects if not done correctly. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some exfoliation treatments can make acne or facial redness worse. Pick an exfoliating cleanser that matches your skin type. If you have dry skin, exfoliate once or twice a week with a mild cleanser. People with oily skin can use more acidic cleansers daily.
- Sweat HappensSometimes sweat is a nuisance, especially when it stains a shirt or gets in our eyes. Yet sweating can have major cleansing benefits to the body. Like the liver, the skin removes toxins (such as alcohol, salts, and cholesterol) by sweating. Moderate sweating also opens the pores in the skin, releasing unhealthy bacteria, notably the type that can lead to blemishes and pimples on the face. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that peptides produced by sweat glands can even act as antibiotics against germs that assail our skin. Don’t be afraid of sweat. When the time is right, do some exercise and get sweaty!
- Clean Your Brain?We recently published a blog post about the mind-cleansing benefits of mindfulness. Check it out for tips on decluttering the most important organ in your body—the brain.Happy spring. While vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing, don’t forget to clean your body too. It’s home to your soul, so keep it tidy!