Winter marks the advent of a gamut of festivities that satiate our
Indian palette with delicacies rich in calories. Hence, the aftermath calls for
a much-needed detox diet that triggers cleansing of our body from the toxins accumulated
leaving us feel better.
Detox diets and cleanses have been all the rage, but it’s important to
understand exactly what a detox diet is, why it’s beneficial, and the best ways
to do your own, safe detox.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification is the process of removal of the toxic chemical
components of our body. Liver is the main organ responsible for the
detoxification. To understand the significance of detoxification, consider our
body to be an industry in which myriad toxic industrial compounds are produced
daily due to its core processes and activities (analogous to physiological
processes such as excretion, respiration etcetera in our body). The processes
are pivotal for the existence of the industry but the toxic byproducts of its
processes need to be eliminated. They’re eliminated as industrial effluents
into the surroundings or else they’ll slow down the industrial machineries. The
whole life sustaining process (detoxification) is analogous to this industrial
phenomenon. Even drugs are detoxified by the liver before they’re excreted out
through urine. Other byproducts of processes such as respiration, digestion
which includes ammonia, lactic acid, uric acid etcetera are detoxified in the
liver and then excreted out. This is a natural process in our body. Despite
this efficient process, sometimes the toxic components from food like MSG,
trans fat, bad cholesterol etcetera accumulate in the adipose/fat tissues of
the body (both intracellular and extracellular) and affect its normal
functioning since our liver suffers from overloading of functions as well as
liver is not equipped to detoxify some of the toxic chemicals. Hence, the innate desire for a detox diet
What Is a Detox
A detox diet is a
short-term program that jump-starts the body’s natural detoxification process.
Detox diets are used to minimize toxins and harmful chemicals in the body,
fortify the body with important vitamins, antioxidants and crucial detoxifying
nutrients and can be used to aid in weight loss.
Detox diets use
foods that draw out toxins through increased urination and bowel movement. High
fiber foods and those containing a high percentage of water are common elements
in a detox diet. These foods help the kidneys, liver, intestines and lymphatic
systems work to transform potentially harmful toxins into compounds that are
detected as waste and excreted from the body.
Why Is Detox
Good For Me?
Research continues to show that more and more the chemicals
we ingest on a regular basis through water, food and air settle into fat cells
and make a permanent home in our bodies. These toxins can be anything from
hormones added to food to pesticides used on produce. Other culprits include
chemicals from food packaging, environmental pollutants, food additives and
household cleaners and detergents.
In addition, if your diet lacks
necessary nutrients, your body’s natural ability to detoxify can become
impaired, leading to toxic build-up in cells and tissues. This extra toxic
burden is thought to lead to impaired immune function, metabolism issues, hormonal imbalances and other physical
Signs that you might benefit from a detox include fatigue, trouble concentrating, muscle
aches, persistent bad breath, sallow skin and poor digestion. By flushing out
the toxins harboured in your body, you essentially
push a reset button.
Be sure to mark your detox diet
as a turning point. It doesn’t do much good to go through a cleanse only to
start up with the same bad habits once complete. This should be a brand new
start for your personal health, nutrition and fitness regimen.
What Are the Best
Ways to Detox?
There are a variety
of detox diets out there. Some rely primarily on fasting and liquids, while
others focus on incorporating organic, whole foods that boost the body’s
natural detoxification function. Detox diets can also last anywhere from a
weekend to as many as 10 days.
If you’ve been
feeling sluggish and are looking to press the restart button on your body, a
detox diet might be worth trying. If you’re ready to flush those toxins, here
are some tried-and-true daily detox tips.
Fast—Fasts that eliminate consumption
of solid food are commonly used to detox. First-timers should limit
themselves to a weekend, and supplement water with fruit juice and dinners
of miso soup or brown rice and vegetables. Some recommend adding lemon, cayenne
pepper and maple syrup to water during a liquid fast.
& Veggies—The natural fiber and nutrients
found in most fruits and vegetables help your body flush out the bad
stuff. Dried fruits are a great way to stave off hunger pangs and green
foods like broccoli and kale are known for their detoxifying qualities.
& Seeds—Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds are
great sources of protein. In addition to keeping your tummy from growling,
they also help support the body’s natural detoxification process.
not a dietary change, massage can help move fluids through the lymphatic
system, which supports natural detoxification. And if you’re depriving
yourself of your typical treats, a good massage may be the only thing that
will keep you from breaking down and making a midnight milkshake run.
don’t want to place extra stress on your body while detoxing, but
low-impact exercise like walking or relaxing yoga can augment your
efforts. It also poises your body for healthy activity once the cleanse is
over. Anything that involves mindfulness, deep breathing or relaxation
techniques will support your detoxification goals.
- Bitter fruits and herbs – Bitter roots and veggies contain fiber to help sweep wastes through
the digestive tract. Bitter foods also contain sulfur-based compounds
which support the natural detoxification pathways in the liver; helping it
to do what it is meant to do – keep your body clean and clear.
Things to Keep
As with any extreme change to
your diet or exercise plan, you should consult a health professional before
starting a new program.
should not be looked at as a cure-all for weight loss or general malaise.
Typically people will lose weight and fat during a detox diet; however, if that
diet isn’t followed up with healthy habits the results won’t last.
Detoxification is a
natural process. You can incorporate detox-friendly foods and habits into your
daily routine without launching into a full-blown detox diet.
If undertaken with
a health-care provider’s supervision and common sense, a detox diet can be a
great way to turn over a new leaf when it comes to your health and wellness.
Just remember that detoxing isn’t a magic fix. To reap the full benefits of a
detox diet it needs to be part of an overall wellness makeover. But the
immediate benefits you’ll feel in your mind and body make detoxing a great
motivator to help you stick with your new, healthy practices. Change is the threshold of a new habit just as determination is the
fuel of the tortoise triumphing over the rabbit.
Stay Healthy, Stay Happy.