A safe January cleanse to start 2017 off with a bang

Fitter, healthier and (we bet) happier: this safe detox is the best way to kickstart your new year - and beyond. #newyear #2017

From mince pies to mulled wine, your body is faced with an onslaught of indulgences during the Christmas period. And, chances are, your exercise regime will have taken a dip over the party season too. Time for a detox? We think so. Of course, everyone is talking about detoxing in January - and for that very reason.

But for every good intention to cleanse our bodies and makeover our diets, a new detox fad thrown in our direction. Forget extreme restriction of calories and completely eliminating food groups - here’s how to create a detox you can stick to this January.

Have an alcohol-free month

Our livers are crucial for digesting food, detoxifying and balancing hormones. We’re all aware of the link between alcohol and liver disease - and giving our liver an alcohol-free vacation has become a regular fixture for many people. New Scientist investigated claims that a ‘dry January’ can have any benefits to our health and found that all 10 of the journalists who abstained from alcohol for a month showed a reduction in liver fat, as well as reduced cholesterol and blood glucose.

Ditch the added sugars

Downplaying sugar in the diet can do wonders for your body - helping you lose weight, as well as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and chances of developing diabetes. Cutting added sugars - those in most desserts, sweets, chocolates, fizzy drinks, and even unexpected foods like pasta sauces - is a good way to detox your body. To counteract those sweet cravings, try dipping apple slices into nut butter or topping Greek yoghurt with blueberries, honey and cinnamon.

Stock up on whole foods

Juice cleanses can be a tempting answer to an indulgent month. However, they can leave you hungry, sapped of energy, and they certainly aren’t sustainable. To ensure you’re consuming the right nutrients, try to eat an abundance of different food groups, including vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, seeds, lean meat and whole grains. And don’t be scared of healthy fats - smashed avocado on toasted sourdough is good for you, won’t leave you hungry, and is a breakfast you definitely won’t be giving up come February.

Stay hydrated

Never underestimate the power of water. It can help your body flush waste and stay at the right temperature, prevents constipation, and stops you from becoming dehydrated. Web MD recommend six to eight glasses of water or other fluid every day. This number may need to be more or less, depending on how much you exercise or how hot the climate is.

Pick the right workout

Moving your body for half an hour at least five times a week is the ultimate way to cleanse your body - but you don’t want to be exercising more than your body can endure while detoxing. The solution? Tune your cleanse to your workout. For example, if your workouts include long distance running or swimming, you’re going to need to up your protein and calorie intake with plenty of fish, nuts, and plants. On the other hand, low intensity workouts such as yoga might just require a quick juice to stimulate and sustain your meditative session.

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