After over-indulging over the holidays, many want to start the new year off on a healthy note by doing a detox. But your body doesn’t need you to drink only juice for two weeks straight: our bodies naturally detox themselves and the best way we can help them is by making healthy choices. Below, we have some suggestions for healthy habits to start the new year off right. Resetting your mind and body to take on 2022 can help you feel more prepared for what it brings, rather than being anxious in anticipation.
Your Gut Health Begins with Prebiotics
Food rich in prebiotics can boost your immune system and kickstart your detoxification system. Prebiotics are a type of plant fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. According to healthline, “with prebiotics, your good bacteria are able to produce nutrients called short-chain fatty acids that are beneficial for health.” Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have prebiotics, so make sure to make these foods the center of your meal planning. Beginning 2022 with good gut health will start your year off on the right foot.
Good prebiotic food options: tomatoes, artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, and oats.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Did you know that 90% of alcohol is metabolized in your liver?
The benefits to limiting alcohol intake or abstaining from it for the month of January (also known as Dry January) are as follows:
- Say goodbye to excessive calories
- Say hello to a healthier heart
- Increase rest quality
- Enhance your mood
- Give your liver the chance to repair itself
In addition to that, your water intake will increase astronomically. Hello, hydration!
Reduce Processed Food and Sugar
According to a 2016 report, “decreasing the consumption of ultra-processed foods could be an effective way of reducing the excessive intake of added sugars in the USA.” By choosing to reduce or eliminate all processed food from your diet for January, you will also significantly decrease your sugar intake.
Why is limiting processed food and sugar from your diet important? Well, both have been proven to cause obesity and increase the risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Instead of reaching for junk food every time you or your kiddos are hungry, try replacing it with yummy healthy alternatives like fresh strawberries, kale chips, or a nutritional smoothie.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Your body naturally produces atoms called free radicals. Our bodies don’t have the best reaction to free radicals—in fact, they can lead to several health issues. As Medical News Today explains, “free radicals are unstable…they react quickly with other substances. When oxygen molecules split into single atoms that have unpaired electrons, they become unstable free radicals that seek other atoms or molecules to bond to. If this continues to happen, it begins a process called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can damage the body’s cells, leading to a range of diseases and causes symptoms of aging…”
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Examples of antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Eating foods rich with antioxidants can boost your health and help you feel your best.
Good antioxidant food options: berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like coffee and green tea.
Wanting even more of a detox?
- Increase your water intake
- Catch more zzz’s
- Decrease your salt intake
- Exercise more often
- Eat foods high in sulfur (i.e. meat, legumes, fish, eggs, nuts, grains, and some veggies)
Going on a detox doesn’t necessarily have to include dietary adjustments. Here are some examples of other ways to greet 2022 with healthier choices:
- Switch to natural cleaning products (i.e. baking soda and vinegar)
- Use natural hygiene products
- Limit or cut out social media/technology for a month
- Get creative! If something isn’t making you happy, try taking it away for a month and see how your body, mind, or your environment reacts.
For more health-related topics, tips, and recipes, make sure to follow along with our Hospitality Health ER blog. We’ve recently covered “4 Health Benefits of Cranberries” and “Health Benefits of Eating Apples.” For giveaways, updates, and COVID-19 tips, like us on Facebook and Instagram.