Are you waking up to a face full of acne every morning? Do you have a tough time emptying your bowels? Is your energy level at an all-time low?
If the answer to the above questions is yes, then your body is probably screaming for a detox.
Detoxing is an ancient practice dating back to several thousand years ago. In our fast-paced cosmopolitan lives, escaping to a lush retreat surrounded by palm trees and sitting in meditative posture, in order to give the body some breathing space where it can naturally detox and replenish itself, may seem impractical.
Similarly, fasting (going without food for prolonged periods of time) is also not suitable for many.
What is the other way to detox?
In this article, we’ll talk about hydrating natural drinks that thoroughly cleanse the vital organs and promote toxin elimination from the body. When included in your daily diet, they boost digestion greatly and speed up weight loss. Not just that, they have potent Dosha-balancing properties and are thus recommended by Ayurveda as well.
A detox drink is one that fulfils the following criteria:
- Counteracts acidity and signs of inflammation in the body (cold and cough/acne)
- Strengthens liver and boosts digestion
- Acts as a diuretic to promote increased waste efflux from urine
- Hydrates the system by restoring sodium/potassium balance
Pre-breakfast detox drink: Moringa juice
Moringa, or the “Miracle tree” is nature’s own multi-vitamin capsule. Packed with phytochemicals, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and anti-aging flavonols, this wonder tree is one of the most ancient superfoods of the planet.
Each part of the tree has health benefits to boost-
- Its leaves are known to aid in digestion, immunity and liver detoxification
- Seeds have prominent effects on brain function, collagen formation and libido
- Rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that stabilizes blood sugar
- Contains chlorogenic acid and thus lowers blood pressure
- Contains anti-inflammatory isothiocyanates that allow the body to heal from chronic illnesses
- Rich in vitamin-B complex, vitamin C and carotenoids that strengthen immunity
Fun facts: Just 100 grams of Moringa leaves contain:
- 7x more vitamin C than oranges
- 10x more vitamin A from carrots
- 17x more calcium than milk
- 9x more protein than yogurt
- 15x more potassium than bananas
- 25x more iron than spinach
Ways to incorporate moringa in detox diet:
- Add moringa powder to half-glass warm water and sip it slowly in the morning
- Blend 1 tsp moringa powder with 1 cup yogurt and ¼ cup water for a cooling, digestive aid post-lunch
- Add it to your green teas and vegetable juices for an energizing detox breakfast
Recommended serving size: 3-6 grams
Taste: Mildly bitter and sweet
- Improves thyroid function: Moringa leaf extracts have been found to be useful in treating thyroid imbalance
- Aids liver and kidney detoxification: Moringa powder purges the body of xenobiotics that accumulate over time as a result of prolonged exposure to environmental stressors, pollution, and improper diet
- Restores skin glow: Thanks to its blood-purifying properties, moringa leaves, and seeds have potent effects on skin health. They are rich in antioxidants that scavenge free radicals, leading to renewed skin glow.
- Diabetics: Due to its tendency to reduce blood sugar levels, moringa may be detrimental to individuals that lack insulin or are insulin-resistant. Moringa has been found to react adversely with modern medications for diabetes.
- Pregnant women: Moringa has mildly genotoxic effects when taken at high doses. Its roots, flowers and stems have certain phytochemicals that induce uterine contractions, leading to miscarriage in pregnant women.
Pre-breakfast drink: Lemon Ginger water
This simple immune-boosting tea has plenty of health benefits to boast. For one, it boosts metabolism and confers upon an instant feeling of fullness. That is why you may have noticed that you don’t feel like eating breakfast after having lemon water.
Basic recipe: Steep 1 cup hot water in 1-inch peeled root of ginger. For best results, use 1 tsp grated/crushed ginger. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain and add 1 tsp lemon juice.
- Rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidants
- Contains gingerol- a substance that reduces hunger and counteracts inflammation
- Rich in potassium and zinc
- Strengthening immunity and treating cold and flu infections
- Reduces bloating after a heavy meal, cures constipation, acidity
- Contains potassium that promotes post-workout muscle pain and management of hypertension
- Contains antioxidants and zinc that enhance skin glow
- Tackling nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women
- Promotes weight loss by reducing sugar cravings and appetite
P.S: If you are currently on an intermittent fasting plan that requires you to skip breakfast, including lemon ginger tea in your morning regimen can be highly rewarding. It’s just the right replacement to your morning caffeine as it stabilizes both blood sugar and electrolyte balance and helps you navigate through the fast without giving up.
Breakfast detox drink: Barley water
If heavy breakfasts make you bloat and you’re among those who prefer light, easily digestible meals before you head out the front door, consider taking barley water. It’s rich in soluble fiber and feeds the population of good bacteria in the gut while offering the same level of energy as a heavy meal would.
- Rich in soluble fiber (17 grams/cup) that provides energy as it breaks down
- Reduces population of bad bacteria (bacteroids) in the gut
- Lowers blood sugar and LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Reduces insulin resistance
Basic recipe: Boil ¾ cup pearl barley in water for 15 minutes and strain the mixture
- Overcoming tendency to overeat; barley water induces fullness for long hours
- Meeting daily requirements of fibre to promote digestion
- Counteracting gut inflammation from overuse of antibiotics, alcohol or improper diet
- Promoting weight loss by increasing metabolism and regulating appetite
Taste: Mildly nutty
Flavoring suggestions: Ginger, black pepper, herbs like mint or basil
Mid-morning detox drink (11:00 am to 12:00 pm): Coconut water
With green smoothies and plant-based milk occupying primetime slots in the fitness scene, it’s easy to overlook the humble coconut water. Yet, this all-natural tropical drink, replete with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and micronutrient is nature’s own sports drink. It’s particularly perfect for that time between breakfast and lunch when you are in need of an instant energy boost but don’t want to snack on something that will mess up your digestion.
- Contains arginine- an amino acid that is beneficial for heart health and controlling blood sugar
- Rich in cytokinins, a type of phytonutrient that delays aging and prevents cancer
- Contains 5% of your RDI of calcium and magnesium
- Contains 405 mg potassium per cup (same as banana)
- Low in calories, only 50 calories per cup
- 10x more potassium that sports drinks; More potassium than 3 bananas
- More calcium & magnesium than fruit juices
- More amino acids (arginine, cysteine, serine) than cow’s milk
- Extremely low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar
- Calorie-conscious people who need a quick energy boost
- Stabilizing blood sugar level and improving insulin response in people with type II diabetes
- Contains electrolytes like potassium that help in hydration, fluid balance and elimination of wastes; hence good for treating kidney stones
- Reducing post-workout muscle fatigue, cramps or lower back pain
Pre-lunch detox drink: Sugarcane juice
Synonymous with hot afternoons, sugarcane juice is nature’s answer to the soul-sucking heat of the summers. It is great for hydrating the body and strengthening the liver and digestive functions. Not just that, it’s a powerhouse of antioxidants and flavonoids that eliminate potentially cancerous cells. Although rich in sucrose, it is also loaded in fiber, which means it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar when taken in moderation.
- Raw sugarcane juice contains 13 grams fiber per serving
- Rich in folate and vitamin B9; hence good for pregnancy and ovarian health
- Contains anti-aging phytonutrients like phenolic acid, glycolic acid and flavonoids
- Rich in calcium, vitamin C and antioxidants that help boost immunity
- One glass (250 ml) contains 180 calories and 30 grams natural sugar
- Increases appetite and induces satiety, helping you exercise portion control for lunch
- Counteracts the effect of high bilirubin levels during jaundice and strengthens liver function
- Boosts immunity and helps treat provides energy, making it great for recovering from common cough and cold
- Alleviates digestive distress and normalizes gastric juice secretion by restoring pH balance in the gut
- Rich in fiber and relieves constipation
Flavoring suggestions: Adding rock salt or dry ginger powder to freshly squeezed sugarcane juice reduces its glycemic index and prevents insulin spike, making it more suitable for diabetics.
Post-lunch detox drink: Buttermilk
A fermented drink that hydrates your body is just what you need for a quick detox on the go. Buttermilk, with its living bacteria and low fat and carb content offers the similar nutritional benefits to milk, sometimes even more as it contains more calcium and riboflavin. Also, it’s one of the best natural antacids, making it particularly suitable to wash down a heavy lunch.
- Loaded with good bacteria and calcium
- Has an instant antacid effect and aids in the digestion of a heavy meal
- Maintains electrolyte balance and increases body’s pH to an alkaline level
- Reduces insulin spike after a high-calorie meal
- Contains lactic acid and is thus a great alternative to milk for lactose-intolerant people
- Meets 20% of your daily recommended intake of calcium
- Has more calcium than milk even
- Only 90 calories per cut
- Low fat, low carb but high in water content
Basic recipe: In a blender, add curd, ginger, mint leaves and rock salt and water. Enjoy chilled.
Recipe tweaks: Adding ginger and roasted cumin further strengthens the detoxification properties of buttermilk and is particularly recommended for people who tend to bloat after a heavy meal.
Post-dinner detox drink: Turmeric milk
Saving the best for last, turmeric milk is a no-brainer. Revered across many cultures as a powerhouse of nutrients, this miraculous drink has a wealth of benefits to offer, from assisting in wound healing to hormonal balance. It works its magic best as you sleep and is recommended by Ayurveda as a bedtime drink because the enzymes to break down milk are only produced during the night.
- Purifies blood and enhances skin glow
- Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Has anti-aging properties; promotes collagen formation for skin health
- Contains melatonin that helps improve sleep quality and prevent insomnia
- Hastens recovery from wound, surgery, flu, or physical injury
- Reduces systemic inflammation and is beneficial for treating arthritis, allergies, and skin infections
Basic recipe: Boil 500 ml milk with a pinch of turmeric, black pepper and 1 tbsp A2 cow ghee
Flavoring suggestions: Cinnamon powder, raw honey ( optional)
Incorporating these detox drinks from breakfast to bedtime is an easy way to attain the pink of health effortlessly. Particularly, when you drink these immediately upon waking up and just before going to bed, your body absorbs their nutrients maximally and the best part is that the benefits are noticeable in just a few days time. At the very least, if having them regularly is slightly out of your reach, what you can do is resort to the king of all detox drinks- i.e. water! That’s right, two tall glasses of plain warm water every morning is equally effective!