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Spring is in the Air!

By: Dr. Melissa Lee ND

With the flowers blooming, the sound of birds chirping, and warmer weather around the corner, it’s time to check in with your body and overall health. How are you feeling after a winter season of fluctuating temperatures between -20 to +10 degrees Celsius? How are you handling the transition into spring with variable barometric pressures? If you are feeling not so great, it’s time to think about simple ways to get your health into shape!

One of the main questions I often get around this time of year is: what is best way to detox? Well, here are five simple ways to start your spring detox:

1. Get Moving

We all know the benefits of exercise: increased strength and energy, weight loss, increased muscle mass, overall benefits on moods. However, another important aspect of exercise is its’ effects on the lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system is a transport system made up of lymphatic vessels and lymphoid organs. Its’ main function is to carry fluid from the tissues back into the cardiovascular system; and produce immune fighting cells, called lymphocytes, to fight off any viruses or bacteria. When we exercise, our muscles act as a pump to help return lymphatic fluid back to the cardiovascular system at an increased rate to help the body eliminate toxins and other waste products, a form of detoxification.

2. Eat More Colours

Now that spring is here, more colourful foods will become available to us from our local farmers. Start with this simple tip: consume unlimited vegetables and fruits.  Begin with 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of fruit per day and work up from there, focusing more on the vegetable intake. The more dark greens, reds, blues, purples and oranges you add into the diet, the more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals you consume. Which means, the more nutrients you supply your body with, the more optimal its own detoxification mechanisms will be. Include vegetables like: collard greens, kale, spinach, bok choy, endive, rapini, asparagus, artichokes, beets, carrots, parsley, cilantro, lemons, onions, garlic, leeks, mixed greens, watercress. Focus on your dark fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple or papaya.

3. Drink Water

Something so simple, yet we always forget to drink enough water. Getting enough water is very essential to improving good elimination of toxins from the body in the form of urine and feces. Aim for 2L of water per day (that’s only eight 250ml cups!) for females and 3L of water per day for males. You can add a little lemon, ginger slices, mint, parsley or chlorophyll to assist with digestion.

4. Get Some Relaxation in Your Day

Stress is common in all our lives these days.  When our stress is too high, it becomes harmful to an individual in terms of mental health, physical disease and unhealthy lifestyle/eating practices. For example, many studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between stress and the development of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Chronic stress has also been linked to immune suppression, disturbed sleep, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and overall inflammation. To start, get a simple relaxation routine in your day. For example, I am a big fan of deep breathing for 2-5 minutes. To do this, focus on breathing into the lower belly.  Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 8 counts and repeat. This will trigger a calming response, slow your breath and slow your heart rate.

5. Make an Appointment with your Healthcare Practitioner for a Tune Up.

It’s always good to check in with your healthcare practitioner whether it is your naturopathic doctor, family doctor, massage therapist or osteopath to get a more individualized approach to spring detoxification.

Hope you enjoy these few tips to start off your spring season. Happy Spring Cleaning!

Dr. Melissa Lee ND is a Toronto based Naturopathic Doctor who is passionate about health. She focuses on understanding people, illness patterns and disease. By actively listening and individualizing treatments, she helps people understand their health while addressing the root cause of a condition. For more information visit her at www.santehealth.ca or contact her at 416-322-9980/info@santehealth.ca.

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