As ice drips off the branches and tender buds start to peek through the remaining patches of snow, nature reminds us that spring is (finally) upon us. It’s Kapha season and that means it’s time to shed all the things that may have been weighing us down since winter. We recently talked with integrative neurologist and author of The Prime, Kulreet Chaudhary, MD, about why she recommends an Ayurvedic spring cleanse.
1. It’s the perfect time of year to shed toxins, according to your body’s internal clock.
We’re all familiar with spring cleaning, the annual ritual of tidying up our living space when winter subsides, but did you know that your body naturally wants to detox during this time of year, too? “One of the things that we are finding out more and more in science is how important it is to be in sync with natural cycles,” says Dr. Chaudhary. “As the snow is melting from winter going into spring, that’s an analogy to how toxins melt in our own system from winter to spring. We’re basically just aligning ourselves with the cycles of nature so that we get the most support in our detox.” Therefore, spring—the season of “regeneration, rejuvenation, and rebirth,” according to Dr. Chaudhary—is the ideal time to shed any impurities that may have built up in your physiology.
2. An Ayurvedic cleanse goes deep but can be done simply.
While most cleanses will remove superficial toxins, explains Dr. Chaudhary, Ayurvedic cleanses “release the kind of toxic buildup that has been there for years” by igniting agni, your body’s digestive fire. Without rekindling that fire, she says, you will just accumulate toxins once again.
But an effective Ayurvedic cleanse doesn’t have to be complicated. “It really just depends on how much time and energy you have to be able to do it,” Dr. Chaudhary says. For a simple, light cleanse in the spring months, she recommends taking Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), a well-known Ayurvedic Rasayana. “If you’re new to triphala, just taking triphala and doing the Digest & Detox Tea recommended in The Prime is enough to begin the cleansing process,” she shares. For a simple yet comprehensive at-home cleanse we recommend the Maharishi Ayurveda Ayurvedic Cleansing Program. Those who want to go much deeper, and can take time off from work in order to fully immerse themselves in the detoxification process, could go deeper into The Prime or do an in-residence Panchakarma cleanse.
3. Rebalancing your gut health affects everything in your body.
What better time than spring to give yourself a full physiological reboot? “A gut makeover is, in my opinion, a life makeover,” says Dr. Chaudhary. She’s excited by research indicating that the microbiome, or the collection of bacteria in your gut, affects every major function of your health. “If you are ignoring your gut health, you’re basically ignoring the organ that’s impacting just about every other organ in your body,” she says. Rebalancing the microbiome and improving the intelligence of the gut brings about benefits in nearly every area of your body.
It also helps you make better food choices. Through The Prime’s four-step program—which combines traditional Ayurvedic herbs with modern wellness approaches—unhealthy cravings start to lose their hold, says Dr. Chaudhary. “The Prime is really about increasing your gut IQ and turning your gut into a smart gut. As your gut gets smarter, you spontaneously start making smarter decisions about the food that you eat.”
4. You’ve been experiencing unpleasant physical or emotional symptoms.
When you do a cleanse focused on improving your gut health, such as The Prime, not only will you likely notice benefits like smoother skin and healthier hair, but you’ll also see an improvement in symptoms ranging from fatigue and joint discomfort to hormonal imbalances and feelings of sadness, emotional ups and downs, or worry.
Sufferers of fatigue may “notice that they have more energy and increased creativity,” says Dr. Chaudhary, and women often “notice their menstrual cycles are becoming easier and that their hormonal fluctuations during the month don’t have as many highs and lows.”
Discovering that emotional ups and downs could be resolved by improvements in gut health was a huge surprise for Dr. Chaudhary, who hadn’t traditionally addressed things like sadness or worry in her work as a neurologist. But as she did more research on the microbiome, it became clear to her that “there’s a hardwiring or biology to our mental health that is directly linked to our gut.”
5. You’ve been struggling to shed those last few pounds.
While finding a healthy weight balance isn’t necessarily the point of doing an Ayurvedic cleanse, it can be a natural byproduct of resetting your microbiome. “Achieving a healthy weight balance was never an expectation I had for my patients,” writes Dr. Chaudhary in The Prime. “I’m not interested in calories, and I never asked a single patient to count them.” Instead, her program focuses on ridding the body of toxicity. “In the process, the brain clears and people feel lighter.”
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