Spring has finally arrived and after a long winter of hibernation we are drawn to decluttering, spring cleaning, and tuning our bicycles, but our bodies deserve that same level of TLC. Spring is a time for renewal, so take this opportunity to check in with your health and reset for a new season.
Bring on the fresh veggies!
Through the colder months our bodies naturally crave warm, comfort foods and rich complex carbohydrates. Now that the temperatures are increasing, it’s time to take advantage of the seasonal veggies that Ontario offers in the spring, like heart-healthy and nutrient-rich asparagus, beets, carrots, leafy greens, mushrooms, and radishes. A summer body starts in the kitchen, so whether you are looking to brighten up your diet or shed some of that winter weight, fill at least half of your plate with fresh vegetables and give your body the micronutrients it’s craving.
Hydrate and flush those toxins!
Eastern medicine views spring as the season of cleansing, growth and renewal, which makes it the perfect time to focus on the health of the liver and how to best support your body’s natural detoxification processes. The liver’s main job is to clean the blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body. Breaking down fats, converting glucose to glycogen, storing vitamins, and manufacturing bile, hormones and digestive enzymes are some of the other bodily processes it takes care of. This overworked machine deserves a break! Getting rid of those nasty toxins that have built up over the last five months doesn’t mean you need to jump into an intense detox program or juice cleanse, you can give your digestive system and liver a break by incorporating a few gentle techniques.
- Avoid foods that aggravate the liver by cutting out processed foods and refined sugars. Focus on an anti-inflammatory style diet that includes lots of organic fruits and vegetables, plenty of citrus (sip on lemon water throughout the day), some whole grains, as well as omega-3 rich foods like nuts and seeds. Try eliminating dairy, animal products, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and fatty foods for three to seven days. Then slowly reintroduce those items that you need.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. As we release built up toxins, it is critical that we flush them from the body. Make sure you are drinking at least two liters of water a day to encourage the detoxification process.
- To give your liver an extra flush, you can drink milk thistle and dandelion tea, or take them in supplement form. Milk thistle is considered to be one of the strongest detoxifying herbs that helps eliminate the buildup of environmental pollutants, heavy metals, and alcohol from the liver. Dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect, allowing your liver to quickly eliminate toxins and strengthen the immune system.
- From October to April our bodies are not making enough Vitamin D, also known as the “hormone of sunlight” because it naturally boosts serotonin levels. Adequate serotonin is needed for a healthy mood, which may be part of the reason why spring offers such a refreshing, happy feeling for most people. Give your body a much-needed boost to start the season off right and supplement with Vitamin D3, the active version our bodies need, with approximately 1000-4000 IU a day.
Tune your Body & Mind!
Get outside, because now you can! Whether that’s going for a walk, run, hike or bike ride, nature provides endless therapeutic benefits. Check out our blog post on Forest Therapy for the amazing meditative, mental, and physical health benefits you can reap when practicing mindfulness in nature.
Try starting your morning with a few deep breathing exercises, an energizing yoga practice, or a guided meditation. Take a few moments out of the day, dedicate them to yourself, and set an intention or two for the next few months. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day that we fail to take a step back and reflect on how far we’ve come and where we want to go.
Spring is the perfect time to renew and refresh your skin care routine. Exfoliation and dry brushing can shed the dull winter skin and reveal smoother, healthier skin. It also increases circulation, which aids in the detoxification process. Use a loofah, natural sponge, soft washcloth or your hands, depending on your personal preference. There are plenty of natural options like oatmeal, sugar, bamboo, or salt-based scrubs available at natural health retailers like Whole Foods Market, Noah’s Natural Foods, or The Big Carrot. Ask the staff what works best for your unique skin type. Dry brushing is another exfoliation technique that is great for boosting circulation, improving skin tone, and stimulating the lymphatic system. Use a firm, natural bristle brush and make sweeping strokes along your body toward your heart, before showering or taking an Epsom salt bath.
Finally, you might be due for an annual checkup, teeth cleaning, chiropractic appointment, or massage. A little self-care goes a long way to improve your mental and physical health.