Detoxing tends to get confused with doing juice and water fasts, which aren’t great for your body. However, detoxing itself can be really good for you, and simply involves removing all those toxins from your body.
Why should you detox?
Detoxification is one of the bodies natural processes. It is essential for good health as it removes harmful substances from the body. A detox simply enhances your bodies ability to do what it naturally does.
Getting rid of toxins certainly sounds nice, but many detox skeptics still want to know: what health benefits do detox diets have?
Ridding the body of toxins has a big impact on the body, the mind, and on future lifestyle choices. For one thing, detoxing can boost energy. That’s because it leaves the body so hydrated, which is a leading cause of fatigue.
Detoxing is also a great way to press reset on your diet. Getting rid of toxins can reduce cravings for toxic foods filled with processed ingredients and sugar. It can reverse longtime dietary habits and give people the boost they need to make healthier choices.
Making healthy choices is closely tied to mood and mental health. When people detox, they cut out the foods that make blood sugar spike. This helps to normalise the production of stress hormones like cortisol. The detox process can help people with anxiety minimise their feelings of stress.
How to detox properly
You can detox your body the healthy way by using the following guidelines. You might not get all of them right all of the time but these simple habits will make the world of difference to your health:
- Eat a calorie controlled diet. Not too much, but not too little.
- Choose the best quality foods. Organic, seasonal and locally sourced wherever possible. Lean proteins, nutrient dense veggies and occasional fruits, and fibre rich grains can all support detoxification.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get plenty of exercise to increase your calorie burn, maintain lean mass, and promote better health.
- Control stress and get plenty of sleep.
- Decrease your intake of added sugars, trans fats, processed foods and empty calories.
- Decrease your consumption of alcohol.
- Stop smoking.
- Follow a personalised supplement protocol where needed.
Common detox mistakes to avoid
On paper, a detox is really simple: eliminate the bad stuff and consume plenty of the good stuff. Yet many people still make mistakes that inhibit detoxification.
Here are a few of the most common that you should try to avoid:
Following diet trends and unhealthy practices – Make sure you don’t confuse a detox with a juice cleanse. These are not the same thing, as detoxing is just about cleansing your body of toxins, while juice cleanses are very restrictive and not always good for you.
Being sedentary – Just as movement stimulates and strengthens our muscles and bones, exertion causes the same positive result for the body’s bloodstream and lymphatic system (two metabolic components critical to the detoxification process). Exercise also precipitates perspiration. As we sweat, toxins leave our bodies. Therefore, the more we exercise, the faster and more efficiently our bodies can rid themselves of detrimental substances.
Ignoring organic foods – Scientists and nutritionists believe adopting a diet rich in organic produce and meat products will significantly reduce the amount of bodily toxins we harbour. Organic produce is not exposed to the pesticides used on non-organic produce. In addition, the meat from animals who were fed only organic feed contains far fewer toxins than that which is derived from cattle and poultry that was not.
Failing to watch your diet – Consuming a strictly organic diet might not be feasible for everyone. However, the consumption of more vegetables, fruits, grain products, beans and legumes like nuts will go a long way toward cleansing disease-inducing substances from your system. Not only do these edibles contain numerous health-boosting and disease-fighting nutrients and minerals, but are also grown naturally and therefore not exposed to the preservatives and chemicals often found in the canned and frozen foods that comprise a large percentage of many of our diets.
Not hydrating – Water promotes detoxification by providing an avenue for toxins to exit the body. The more fluids we ingest, the more effective our bodies will be at flushing harmful substances away.
Neglecting your sleep – A lack of sleep results in our bodily systems not being given adequate rest. This could result in manifestations like weight gain, fatigue and a weakened immune system. Such conditions provide a fertile environment for toxins to gain strength, multiply and cause significant, if not serious, potentially life-threatening medical concerns to occur. We should, on average, be getting anywhere from seven to eight hours of sleep per evening.
Ignoring stress – The most immediate manifestation of stress we typically feel is tension. Tension results in excessive worry. This domino effect can lead to a lack of sleep, an improper diet, weight gain and illness. It is important to channel your stress in a positive activity such as exercising.
However, under no circumstances should the impact of stress be ignored. Failure to manage stress properly almost guarantees health and psychological problems down the road.
Image: Dominik Martin