Kickstart your summer health routine and welcome in the new year on a healthy high note.

Try out these simple detox steps for one week to help remove toxins from your body,  increase your energy levels, boost your immune system, and get you looking and feeling great.

Drink more water

There is no better way to flush toxins from your system than simply drinking more water. It helps improve the appearance of skin, purifies the body by supporting kidney detoxification and reduces fluid retention.

  • Aim to drink at least eight glasses of filtered water per day; more if you are exercising or out in the sun for long periods of time.
  • Add detoxing fruit and veges into your diet By having five or more servings of fruit or veges in your day, you will increase your fibre intake and your body will also receive plenty of healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating them raw will help boost vitamin and nutrient content.

Here are some key fruit and veges to add to your diet:

Cucumber is usually thought of as a vegetable but is actually technically a fruit! They are mostly made of water which means they are good for hydration, are rich in Vitamin C and also contain sterols in their skin which is thought to help lower cholesterol.

Lemon boosts immunity and stimulates digestion - add into your cooking or squeeze into your water to add a little flavour.

Blueberries are full of antioxidants and Vitamin C. These delicious berries get their blue colour from antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins which are thought to reduce inflammation, alleviate allergies, improve cardiovascular health and reduce the chance of age-related memory loss.

Kale has gained a name for itself as the 'Queen of greens'. This leafy superfood is high in Vitamins K and A, can help lower cholesterol, is high in calcium, and contains more iron than beef (per calorie).

Reduce caffeine, alcohol and processed sugar

These can be difficult to cut out of your diet and some of us may struggle to imagine life without them! 

Caffeine can have a negative effect on adrenal glands and energy levels, and even interfere with sleep quality if you drink it too close to bedtime.

  • Substitute with a different drink as an alternative to help you break the habit – a caffeine-free herbal tea, or water with lemon can be good.

Our bodies treat alcohol as a toxin, so when you drink it, your liver must go into overdrive to process it and we also become dehydrated.

  • Go alcohol-free for the week to give your liver a break and replace it with water or fresh juices instead.

Processed sugar provides little nutritional value and can be addictive.

  • Reducing refined sugar intake can improve liver health, help with weight management, improve heart health and help regulate energy levels.

Plan time for exercise, rest and sleep

These three things are important when it comes to lifting energy levels but are often not given priority when we get busy. Schedule them into your diary to ensure they happen over your detox week.

  • Exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins which can literally boost your mood. Include just 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each day to improve heart health, muscle strength and fitness.
  • Rest and relaxation may often feel like an indulgence we can't afford, but taking the time to include it in your day will help reduce stress, allow your immune system to 'catch up' and help prevent burnout.
  • Getting a solid night's sleep helps your body recover and gives you the energy to take on your day. There is no magic number for how many hours of sleep you should be getting, but when you wake up in the morning you should feel well rested. 
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine to help you wind down so that you are in bed at the same time each night.

NZ Real Health is an online magazine where you can find practical information and advice on health, wellbeing and fitness. For more articles like this, visit www.nzrealhealth.co.nz.

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