Detoxing seems to be the latest trend—everyone from your friends to celebrities are putting themselves on a detoxification program to rid their bodies of all these free radicals. With so many nutritional experts designing diets and selling specialized nutritional supplements, these regimes can get pretty confusing. Do you just drink cayenne pepper-infused lemonade? Should you be on a juice fast? Is a raw food diet the way to go, and if so, temporarily or long-term?
Reasons For Detoxing
The main goal of detoxing, or cleansing, is very simple—to remove environmental and food-based toxins from your body periodically. Although some people argue that “detox” is a term that should be reserved for those weaning themselves off alcohol or drugs—i.e., the “real” toxins—we are exposed to thousands of toxic chemicals each day. Scientists are increasingly worried about the effect that even low levels of these poisonous substances can have on our health.
Toxins don’t just come from cigarette smoke in the air, fluoride in the water, or mercury in your tuna. Whatever we ingest that causes the natural processes of our body to change in unhealthy ways is considered toxic. For someone with gluten intolerance, for instance, wheat and rye products are toxins. High fructose corn syrup, which can raise the triglycerides in young men and women, is another toxin.
Ideally, your diet should be constantly cleansing your system, which means avoiding harmful foods and including a combination of juiced and whole vegetables, grains like barley and quinoa, lean protein, probiotics, and supplements that support liver and stomach health. For many people, being this vigilant isn’t always realistic, however, so think of doing periodic detoxes as a way for your body to take a rest from the damaging effects of eating foods that do not provide nourishment.
Here are some of the benefits of detoxing your body:
When you eat mindlessly, filling your body with empty calories to cope with feelings or environmental stress, the tendency is to overeat. If hunger isn’t there to signal when to begin eating, then your body also won’t be able to signal when you’re full and should stop eating. Combined with stress, overeating can bring on adrenal fatigue, a condition in which the adrenal glands produce insufficient hormones, causing extreme tiredness and foggy thinking during the day. Detoxing allows your adrenal glands to recover and can therefore make you much more alert.
Improved Liver Function
The liver is the primary organ that filters the blood that comes from the digestive tract, making sure that no harmful chemicals reach the rest of the body. Just the act of performing a detox gives your liver a chance to rest. But if you add herbs like milk thistle to your detoxification cleanse, you can give an extra boost to your liver’s function as well. Milk thistle is scientifically proven to protect the liver from toxins and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may actually help the liver to grow new cells.
Detoxing can relieve some of the symptoms of chronic indigestion, especially bloating. Make fermented foods like kefir, cultured yogurt, and sauerkraut a part of your cleansing diet to repopulate your stomach and intestines with “good” bacteria like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. These bacteria are not only capable of inhibiting the growth of harmful strains like Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), but they also have been shown to break down some of the carcinogens that are found in the foods that we eat.
Strengthened Immune System
Most detoxification programs include a variety of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, foods that are known to boost immunity. Once they are in the bloodstream, antioxidants effectively “disarm” free radicals—the cells responsible for starting the inflammatory disease processes — by providing them with an extra electron. Detoxing floods your body with antioxidants, giving your immune system a chance to strengthen itself.
Even if you don’t feel any drastic changes in your body after detoxing, just the act of deliberately choosing nourishing foods and preparing them with dedication is good for the soul and the morale. Most of what we do in life is mindless; we are driven by routine and the opinions of others. Detoxing can be an almost spiritual process for some people because it takes you out of the normal day-to-day reality and lets you confront yourself in a new way. This process can lead to insights and a heightened sense of consciousness.
Americans have a lot of bad food habits that can lead to high blood pressure, coronary heart failure, cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. When you detox, it’s like hitting a pause button on those bad habits, giving yourself a chance to rethink what it means to fuel your body with food. Hopefully, detoxing will not just be a one-time adventure but will lead to better food choices and a lifetime of good health!
The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advise, diagnosis or treatment.
The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.