In the health-conscious community, detoxing is always a hot topic. It can be quite confusing to know what’s real and what isn’t. Here we’ll keep it simple and give you the truth about how to detox naturally.

What is Detoxification?

Toxins are real, there’s no doubt about that. There are three ways toxins get into our bodies: we ingest them, we breathe them in, or our skin absorbs them. Once they’re in our blood, toxins travel throughout the body. Detoxification, therefore, occurs when toxins are removed from the blood.

The Origins of the Detox

Most of the time, a commercial detoxification program promises weight loss, because people either want a quick fix or to undo overindulgence. And who can blame them? True weight loss means changing your lifestyle, and that can seem daunting. If you keep in mind, however, that getting healthy involves eating right and moving appropriately, you’ll be less likely to fall prey to the single-solution promise.

The Number One Detox Myth

The number one detox myth is that your body needs you to do something for it to detox. The truth is that it’s designed to detox all on its own. While the liver is often the main focus, your kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and even your skin help the process. So how do we detox naturally? Rest assured, you’re already doing it.

There are two notable exceptions: one, if one of your organs isn’t working properly or two, your system is so inundated with toxins that it starts to fail. Too much alcohol can hurt the liver, for example, and cigarette smoke damages the lungs. If you are experiencing problems, only a physician can diagnose and talk solutions. Barring those two situations, your body knows what to do.

Stop Toxins Before They Enter

If you want to support your detoxification efforts, limit toxin exposure so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get rid of them. Preparing and eating fresh foods is preferable to eating ones filled with preservatives. Take it a step further by eating homegrown or organic foods to avoid pesticides. Limiting caffeine and alcohol and avoiding cigarette smoke can all help reduce your body’s workload. Keep in mind that this isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor—small, iterative movements toward an overall healthy lifestyle should be celebrated.

A Word About Water

Many of us remember the edict of drinking eight glasses of water a day. While it’s true that water is good for your body (for many reasons), there isn’t a standard amount that everyone needs to adhere to. Staying hydrated is relative to your activity level, and so differs per individual. Water can also come from a variety of sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables. A smoothie or soup can be a much more delicious way to hydrate.

Other "Natural" Detox Methods

From dry brushing to cupping, from massage to yoga, other options promise to help your body detoxify. There are some foods believed to aid the liver such as garlic, fiber, and apples. The science is mixed, but if you find something that makes you feel better without any negative side effects, then embrace it.

When we eat a well-balanced diet and move appropriately, we’re setting up our bodies to function optimally. Being healthy is about doing what’s right for your body and mind.