Detoxification, is simply eliminating toxins or harmful wastes left behind either as a by product of food after digestion or which get accumulated over time in small quantities. Technically, our body is well prepared to detoxify itself, but given modern’s world’s many unhealthy eating and lifestyle practices, sometimes our bodies become over-burdened with the amount of toxins.
So it becomes critical for us to take the task of detoxification in our hands, to support our body in eliminating the toxins which can cause our internal organs to malfunction at times.
Why do we need detox for our body?
Our liver and kidneys are already pretty awesome at eliminating the toxins accumulating inside these organs such as synthetic colors, preservatives and other harmful food compounds. Toxins have also been linked to cause hormonal imbalances, which can produce many other unwanted effects. Detoxification makes sure that they continue to function optimally. We should also follow healthy eating and drinking practices.
Detox diets generally revolve around some fasting or controlled healthy eating, which comprises of fruits, vegetables and their juices, water and even green tea. There are some of symptoms which we may experience which may signal to us that our body needs our help in detoxification such as, dry skin or other skin irritations, puffy eyes, constipation, bloating, chronic pain in the stomach area, bad breath, premature graying of hair etc.
How to really detoxify our body?
We have to make certain changes in our eating habits, when we want to detox our body. Such changes can include simple intermittent fasting to making several diet and lifestyle changes. These can include:
1) Fasting: This can be practiced as per the person’s liking, as different people have different body types and calorie requirements owing to different lifestyles. So when you go without eating food, our body can heal and detoxify itself more effectively. As digestion of food requires a lot of energy, that energy can now be spent of eliminating the toxins from our body.
2) Eating fresh fruits/vegetables or taking their juice: A proven way to detoxify our body, fruits and vegetables are high in many vitamins, minerals and fiber, which all play an important role in restoring the normal ph balance of our body, reducing body inflammation and eliminating those accumulated toxins. So make sure to include green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, berries and fruits high in water content such as watermelon as part of your daily diet.
3) Green tea: Many types of herbal or green teas, such as oolong tea, pu-erh tea, white tea etc can have a soothing , stimulating and overall positive effect on our body when taken properly. These teas also do a great job at detoxifying our body.
4) Doing heavy exercises: Exercise, specifically high intensity exercise does help in getting rid of harmful toxins through sweat, which is our body’s natural mechanism of controlling it’s temperature also. Exercise also stimulate our muscles, nerves and blood circulation to internal organs, which causes those organs to function optimally.
5) Eliminating cigarettes, sugar, processed foods and alcohol can do wonders for our whole body. These substances when taken in excess have many harmful effects on our body and slow down the healthy functioning of internal organs. Particularly alcohol in excess has a very damaging effect on our liver. As our liver is what’s responsible for metabolism of alcohol, what happens is the enzymes in our liver break alcohol down into acetaldehyde, which is a toxin. Normally this toxin is broken down by liver into acetate but if alcohol consumption is high then the liver get over-worked and cannot eliminate the toxins effectively.
6) Take proper sleep of at least 8 hours every night, as sleep is a highly important part of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep heals our body and keeps our body’s organs performing in optimal condition. Thus sleep helps our kidneys and liver indirectly by helping them function normally.
7) Don’t eat too much salty or spicy foods, as these lead to body inflammation and so these foods also require too much water consumption by our body, which can disrupt the normal digestion of food. Also even if you don’t consume enough water while eating such foods, our body deals with such foods and their high sodium content by retaining body water, decreases production of urine which is essential in elimination of wastes and toxins.
8) Avoid junk and canned foods, as these are loaded with unwanted chemicals, colors and preservatives to make them taste, look and last better. These unwanted substances can have many toxic effects on our body and it’s detoxification abilities, as eating such foods everyday can put unwanted pressure on our kidneys and liver.
What are some foods generally recommended to include in a detox diet?
As suggested above a detox diet should be high in fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices which not only supply many healthy nutrients to our body but are also an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Here are some of the foods that can work wonders towards our detox goals:
1) Carrots: These can be eaten raw or you can take their juice, which is highly effective in cleaning the toxins from our body. These help our liver and kidneys in eliminating the toxins and produce an overall positive effect on our internal organs and also on our skin, making it clearer, lively and glowing.
2) Lemons: These are highly effective at not only supplying our body with Vitamin C but also helping flush out the toxins from out gut and kidneys. It’s recommended to drink their juice on an empty stomach or mixed with water for maximum benefit.
3) Bananas: This wonder fruit works by maintaining a healthy pH balance of our body and works against inflammation. Also these are high in potassium which help in keeping our blood pressure in check and maintaining the health of our internal organs.
4) Beetroot: Beetroot is an awesome choice if you’re serious about detoxification. These are full of antioxidants which rejuvenate our internal organs and eliminate inflammation. They are high in many nutrients such as betalains, iron and pectine among others. Pectine is a natural blood cleanser.
5) Ginger: Ginger has many health benefits for us. It’s high in antioxidants like other suggestions on this list, and so helps in improving digestion, reducing bloating and gas. Eating it raw or taking it’s juice with tea or milk cleanses the colon and kidneys.
6) Artichokes: These are highly effective in improving the function and overall health of our liver. It promote good flow of bile to and from our liver, which helps in cleansing of toxins from our liver.
7) Spinach: A vegetable loaded with many nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-oxidants, this helps is improving our health overall and also provide a great boost for our liver and kidneys for cleansing the toxins. Spinach is also anti-inflammation and so greatly improves the health of our internal organs.
8) Turmeric: Related to ginger, this herb has a powerful antioxidant known as curcumin which is highly effective at improving the many functions of our body’s internal organs. It cleanses our blood and also supports our kidneys and liver by proper production and flow of bile, which plays a critical role in cleansing the toxins from the liver. It can be taken either with milk or with water. One teaspoon can be taken with lukewarm milk or water on an empty stomach.
9) Kale: Rich in antioxidants, fiber and many other nutrients just like other leafy vegetables, kale cleanses the intestines from harmful toxins and also aids in proper functioning of liver and kidneys by reducing inflammation.
10) Garlic: Care should be taken to eat it only in small quantities as it’s very powerful and can have bad effects if eaten in excess. In limited quantity it’s a very effective at purifying the blood of its toxins, keeping the bacteria in our gut in check. It is antibacterial and anti-inflammation, and also boosts our immune system.
11) Cabbage: Cabbage is a great source of dietary fiber and other nutrients beneficial for the overall health of our gut. Plus cabbage also has a chemical called sulforaphane, which is effective at helping our liver, kidneys and gut to get rid of toxins.
Detoxification, as we now know is very important for our body neglecting which we unknowingly invite many ill effects to our health. It’s not only important to eat a healthy diet, but it should also be balanced out with a detox routine every week.
Thankfully, there are many ways to aid our body in detoxification as mentioned above which have proven to be highly at aiding our body to eliminate the harmful toxins. Just practicing fasting combined with going on a juice diet once or twice per week can work wonders for us.Proper care should be taken though when going on a detox diet and a dietician should be consulted. Always remember to only adopt the foods and eating practices which suit your body as our bodies can react differently to different diet routines.