Detox diets are quite a rage among all those aiming for a healthy body and a desirable physique. The ever-increasing pollution levels, binge eating of processed foods, irregular sleeping patterns, and living a poor lifestyle can take a toll on your body.
Detoxification is the body’s natural physiological process to get rid of the unwanted substances called toxins. Your body is on an infinite loop to get rid of toxins by way of the skin, lungs, digestive system, and predominantly kidneys and liver. It is a process vital to survival and healthy living.
The physiology of the body is such that it absorbs the essential elements and eliminates the undesirable ones. The undesirable elements are called toxins and their perpetual presence can wreak havoc on your body by hindering its normal functioning. The natural elimination of toxins can occur through:
Lungs: Exhaling out carbon dioxide
Digestive system: Eliminating toxic foods by excretion, vomiting, or diarrhea
Kidneys: Filtering toxins out of the blood into the urine
Liver: Altering the chemical nature of many toxins
The idea behind detoxification is to nourish and help the body cleanse itself to reduce the risks of any impending health issues that can occur as a result of the accumulation of toxins.
The Logic Behind Detoxification
The market is replete with products that erroneously claim to detoxify your body. So many celebrities have been on an endorsement spree to advocate the benefits of detoxification.
Detox diets are seen as a simple recourse to cleanse your system of all the indulgences and poor habits you have had. However, as evidence suggests, no amount of smart diet or detox gimmick by itself can purge the body of its impurities.
The body has been blessed with a built-in detox system to get rid of toxic substances that can hinder bodily functions. The purpose behind a detox is purportedly to cleanse the body of toxins accumulated in the body.
Body detoxification entails:
- Removal of accumulated toxins
- Colon cleansing
It can result in:
- Increased energy levels
- Healthy skin
- Improved liver and kidney function
What are Detox Diets?
- Detox diets are nothing but approaches towards a way of life that concentrates on a diet infused with fibrous and healthy foods, plenty of water, sufficient sleep, exercise, and herbal remedies to tweak the functions of the body organs that are involved in the detoxification process.
- Eliminating processed foods, unhealthy fats, and sugar from your diet is what detox diets are about. Low on calories and high in nutrition, detox diets are aimed at making smart food choices.
So, instead of going for a detox program, what you can do is to incorporate changes in your diet and lifestyle to help reduce the extra stress on your gastrointestinal tract, lungs, liver, and kidneys and aid your body’s natural detox system.
Following this matchless approach can help you purge undesirable substances and achieve a healthy body.
Rather than following unhealthy trends that are making rounds on the Internet, it is wiser to switch to a healthier diet and lifestyle that can help you maintain your health round the clock.
Reasons You Need to Help Your Body in the Detoxification Process
Helping your body in the detoxification process is important so that you can:
1. Feel Better Overall
A healthy body feels rejuvenated and contributes to the overall health of an individual. Detoxification eliminates toxic substances that can hinder bodily functions, and it stabilizes your health.
2. Stay Healthy
The accumulation of toxins can result in improper functioning of the body organs. Over time, this may cause serious and chronic health issues, such as cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders, among others.
3. Improve Your Skin Health
Your skin is the first surface that comes in contact with toxins from the environment. An overload of toxins on the skin can result in rashes, pimples, and other skin disorders. Skin detox can help you get rid of all undesirable elements from your skin.
4. Focus Better
Toxins can impair your ability to concentrate and can tamp down your general cognitive functioning. A deviation from the normal bodily functions can result in decreased focus.
5. Sleep Better
A buildup of toxins in your body can affect your daily routine by disturbing your sleep cycles. Changes in sleeping patterns can alter your circadian rhythms and obliterate the usual detoxification process.
We have curated a list of dietary and lifestyle changes that when introduced in your routine can rev up your body’s natural detox system and support your health synergistically.
Include in your diet foods that can support your natural detox system and aid in the natural process of detoxification.
1. Squeeze the Goodness of Lemon
Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, lemon is considered a powerful ingredient for your body. The high amount of vitamin C in lemon is required by the body to make a compound called glutathione. Glutathione helps in recovering oxidative stress-induced liver damages in alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver diseases.
Also, lemon acts as a natural energizer that aids the digestive system in its job of eliminating waste.
- Simply squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a glass of warm water. Drink this lemon water daily in the morning on an empty stomach.
2. Increase Your Fiber Intake with Beetroot
Beetroot contains betaine and pectin, which help protect the liver and the digestive system. It also helps stabilize the blood’s acid-alkaline balance (pH).
This red vegetable is also a valuable source of iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium, which are all required for the proper functioning of the internal organs of our body. Plus, the high amount of fiber in beetroot improves digestion and helps the body eliminate waste.
- It is recommended to eat raw beetroot in salad form or drink freshly extracted beetroot juice for best detoxification results. Do this daily for a few days or weeks.
3. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is replete with antioxidants. Of all the potent antioxidant compounds in green tea, the most powerful are catechins, which help the body get rid of free radicals. Plus, they improve liver functioning, which helps in the natural detoxification process.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea as a hot beverage or iced tea daily for a week to keep your body organs healthy. Do not add sugar in your preparations.
- During this time, avoid drinking coffee, soda, or alcoholic beverages.
4. Choose Avocados
Avocado is packed with antioxidants and vitamin K, which help protect the liver from free radical damage.
The nutrient called glutathione in avocados enables the blocking of at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals.
- Choose organic avocados and eat them plain to enjoy their detoxifying benefit. You can also prepare a creamy avocado smoothie.
5. Include Cabbage in Your Meals
The healthy, affordable, and easily available cabbage houses glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds, which make it a powerful food to keep your body healthy. Glucosinolates aid in breaking down harmful chemicals in the body, from pesticides to prescription drugs.
In addition, its high content of vitamin C cleanses the liver. Cabbage also provides the necessary fiber that aids in regulating bowel movements, which in turn helps the body get rid of the waste.
- Try having raw cabbage in juice, smoothie, or salad form. You can also eat lightly cooked cabbage dishes or soups.
6. Add Garlic in Your Diet
Garlic has been exploited widely because of its exceptional benefits on human health. The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic help fight harmful bacteria and yeast in the intestines. It also aids natural detoxification by increasing the production of glutathione, which helps your digestive system’s functions.
Plus, the high amount of vitamin C helps boost the immune system and supports liver functioning.
- To enjoy the benefits of garlic, it must be crushed or chopped in order to release its beneficial sulfur compounds. You can consume two to four fresh garlic cloves every day.
Note. The following individuals must consult their doctor before garlic consumption:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Young children
- Patients taking anticoagulant medications
7. Eat Cauliflower
The phytochemicals called glucosinolates present in cauliflower are broken into compounds that help in the natural detoxification process.
Plus, cauliflower contains vitamin C that supports liver functioning and vitamin K that helps protect the liver from damage and fights free radicals.
- Cauliflower can be enjoyed sautéed, steamed, or boiled. To retain its nutritional value, you can also add raw cauliflower florets to salads.
8. Consume Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are loaded with fiber and good fats. Its composition of both soluble and insoluble fibers helps in maintaining a good digestive system. Fiber adds bulk to the content of the intestines, in turn promoting bowel regularity.
Plus, the essential fatty acids of flaxseeds, particularly omega-3s, are essential for many cleansing functions and maintaining a healthy immune system.
- You can simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed in 1 glass of warm water and drink it on an empty stomach. You can also sprinkle ground flaxseed on cereal, salads, yogurt, and other dishes. A little whole flaxseed also blends well into smoothies.
9. Drink Ginger Tea
Well documented for its nutritional prowess, ginger is also considered as one of the best herbs that support your body’s natural detox system.
The bioactive compounds in ginger called gingerols and shogaols help in flushing out harmful waste from the colon, liver, and other organs.
- One of the best ways to enjoy ginger’s benefit is by sipping ginger tea every day. You can prepare the tea by steeping about 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in 1 cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes.
- You can also add freshly grated ginger to your salad dressing, or extract the juice of fresh ginger root along with other green vegetables.
Drink Herbal Teas
Dandelion is diuretic in nature; it promotes cleansing of the kidneys and bladder and aids in relieving issues such as water retention, upset stomach, and constipation. It also promotes bowel regularity and adequate hydration in the body.
- You can enjoy a dandelion greens salad.
- You may opt to take a dandelion root supplement in capsule or liquid form, such as a tincture. Always consult your doctor before starting any supplements.
- Drinking dandelion tea is a popular detox method. To make the tea:
- Boil 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion root in 1 cup of water.
- Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the dried dandelion root steep for about 10 minutes.
- Drink this tea twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening, for 1 week.
2. Milk Thistle
The compound silymarin in milk thistle is helpful for repairing damaged liver cells and may offer protection to new liver cells. It also encourages liver cells to create more bile, which in turn improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Add 1 teaspoon of ground milk thistle seeds (or a milk thistle tea bag) to 1 cup of hot water. Cover the pot, let it steep for 10 minutes, and then strain the liquid. Drink up to 4 or 5 cups of milk thistle tea a day for 1 month.
- You can opt to take milk thistle supplements after consulting your doctor.
3. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle, commonly known as nettle, supports both the kidneys and your liver in the detoxification process. It also stimulates the lymphatic system.
The herb is a natural diuretic, which means it encourages the elimination of built-up toxins and inflammatory wastes through urination. Nettle also has a good amount of vitamin C, which is an important nutrient needed to support the different phases of liver detoxification.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried stinging nettle root or leaves to 1 cup of hot water.
- Cover the pot and let the nettle root or leaves steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain the liquid and add honey to taste.
- Drink this tea two to three a day for 1 week.
4. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac is a natural blood-purifying agent that cleanses the body by eliminating unwanted metabolic waste from the blood and the body.
It also helps the blood to carry out the transport of necessary nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body, to enable the proper functioning of the liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys play a pivotal role in the detoxification of the body.
- Eat two or three tender neem leaves mixed with some honey on an empty stomach. Repeat daily for 1 month.
- You can also drink neem tea. Boil a little more than 1 cup of water, add 1 teaspoon of crushed neem leaves or neem powder in it, and then let it simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid and allow it to cool. Drink this tea twice a day for 1 month. For a milder taste, blend your neem tea with green tea or herbs such as cinnamon and fennel.
5. Burdock Root
Burdock root is a herb that works with the liver and lymphatic system to purify the bloodstream of metabolic wastes and toxins. It also protects against liver damage at cellular and tissue levels.
Burdock root is loaded with nutrients including folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin C and E. Besides being beneficial for the kidneys, bladder, and digestive system, burdock root is also an immunity booster and blood purifier.
Aside from being a natural diuretic, burdock is also a natural diaphoretic that promotes sweating to remove toxins through the skin.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dried burdock root to 1 cup of hot water.
- Let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes, and then strain the liquid.
- Drink this tea one to two times a day for a couple of weeks.
Note. Exercise caution to prevent any mishap before using it in case you are:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding
- Suffering from diabetes, to avoid drug interactions with your medications
Toxins are obstacles to good health and tend to deviate the system from sound functioning. The key to detoxification is reducing the toxin load from your systems.
Aside from watching what you eat, it is important to keep a check on your lifestyle to maintain your body’s detox system and keep your body hale and hearty.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Water is essential to the vitality of your body as it plays a key role in every metabolic process. Water helps flush out toxins from your body through sweating, urination, and excretion. All these processes are aimed to eliminate a good amount of toxins.
- Aim to drink between 8 and 10 glasses of fresh water each day. However, you may need less or more, depending upon your climate and activity level on any given day. However, the recommended daily intake of fluids is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids for women.
- For better results, store water in a copper vessel and drink a glass of water from that vessel each morning on an empty stomach to aid in digestion.
- Always monitor the color of your urine to find out whether your body is well hydrated. If your urine color is clear, it means your water intake is sufficient.
2. Sweat it Out
Sweating is a great way to help your body eliminate toxins and excess salts. A regular exercise of 30 minutes powers up your lungs and maintains the flow of your breath. This, in turn, pumps out toxins frequently, and it also makes your heart strong.
A 2011 study published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology reported the different degrees of toxins in the blood, urine, and sweat collected from 20 individuals. It showed that the highest amount of toxins was secreted through sweat.
- Getting physically active is the foremost thing to do to aid your body’s natural detoxification process.
3. Sleep Better
A sound sleep helps your body strike a balance in its metabolic processes.
Your body cleanses itself while you sleep, with the body organs doing their jobs when your body is in rest mode. Adequate sleep of 7-8 hours can keep your biological clock ticking on its own pace and maintain the flow of the detoxification processes occurring in the liver.
In fact, when you don’t sleep enough even for a single night, you inhibit your body’s natural detoxification process.
Avoid delaying bowel movements or holding back your urine in the morning as it can lead to the toxins being reabsorbed by the body.
4. Take a Break from Heavy Meals
If your health status allows it, then fasting can be a great way to keep your body clean, healthy, and fit. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting helps people lose weight.
- Fasting involves abstaining from all foods and beverages and subsisting only on water and fresh fruit and vegetable juices (you can have the juices every 1½ to 2 hours) for 1 or 2 days depending upon your body’s condition.
- You can follow the popular 16:8-hour intermittent fasting concept where you can allow yourself to eat calorie-limiting foods and beverages for a period of 8 hours and observe a fast for the remaining 16 hours.
- You can also try the one-meal-a-day concept to observe a fast.
5. Eat Fibrous Foods and a Wholesome Diet
Fibrous foods have been appreciated for their contribution towards a healthy gut by their incredible detoxifying properties.
The ingested fiber binds to toxins and helps in flushing them out of your body through your stools. Furthermore, fiber gives a feeling of satiety and prevents binge eating of processed foods.
Include in your diet:
- Some high-fiber vegetables such as artichokes, green peas, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet corn, and carrots
- Some high-fiber fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, oranges, figs, and raisins
- Some high-fiber nuts such as almonds and pistachios
6. Cut Down on Processed Foods
Processed foods are the biggest sources of toxins entering the body through ingestion.
Laced with countless preservatives and additives, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup, these foods induce an influx of toxins into the body that interferes with weight-controlling hormones and triggers weight gain.
Cut down on foods laden with toxins and prefer organic fruits and vegetables.
7. Add Exfoliation to Your Weekly Routine
As the skin is one of the major detoxifying organs of the body, exfoliation is a simple and easy technique that aids in sloughing off the dead cells and the toxins that accumulate deep within your skin.
Exfoliation also activates the sweat glands, which excrete toxins via sweat from your skin.
- Including exfoliation into your weekly routine will help you get healthy and fresh skin
8. Get a Massage
A buildup of toxins in the body can leave you lethargic and make you sluggish with no inclination to be physically active. A massage is the easiest way to relax and rejuvenate your body.
The pressure applied during a massage stimulates the different organs and muscles in your body and improves circulation.
Often, toxins get trapped between muscles, inhibiting the flow of blood and causing pain. A massage squeezes these toxins out and pushes them into the circulatory system for elimination.
- Get a massage two to three times a week to keep your system moving.
9. Include Oil Pulling in Your Daily Routine
Oil pulling, or oil swishing, is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing oil in your mouth to draw the toxins into the oil before spitting it out.
Regular oil pulling benefits not only your oral health but also your entire body. Its incredible detoxifying properties rev up the body’s metabolism-regulating hormones and induce weight loss.
- Put 1 tablespoon of organic, cold-pressed oil such as sesame, sunflower, and coconut oil in your mouth. Sesame oil is considered the most popular choice.
- Swish the oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. Do not gargle with it and do not swallow it.
- Spit it out, and then brush your teeth.
Do oil pulling each morning on an empty stomach.
Detoxification is a natural process that addresses the need of every single cell of the body to get rid of wastes. Once accumulated, these wastes can impede the proper functioning of the body by disrupting the biological pathways.
Cleansing and supplementing your body with nutrients are ways to steer clear of diseases and to keep your body rejuvenated.
Aside from the body’s liver and kidneys, which are significant players in detoxification, changes in the diet and lifestyle can help cleanse your body naturally.
Cutting back on processed foods, infusing your diet with healthy foods, sleeping better, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and drinking plenty of water can revitalize your body’s detox system.
Consistently following a detox ritual can help your body get back on the right track and embrace health and longevity.
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