Detox diets have been posted online and passed around social media for years, purporting to eliminate numerous harmful substances from our bodies while promoting weight loss.
Most take three to 10 days and involve a short fast and/or a restrictive diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables and especially their juices, eliminating all allergenic foods and those containing heavy metals and other toxins and taking supplements. Some endorse using laxatives or enemas to facilitate the purge.
While they often urge you to take some universally recommended steps like getting regular exercise and avoiding tobacco use, they can do more harm than good by limiting calories and nutrients and leading to overdoses of certain supplements.
Your body already has a highly effective detox system that, except for severe cases that require medical treatment, can dispense with just about anything that makes it into your cells and bloodstream.
Working to optimize its function is a better approach to help filter the bad stuff out:
- Watch your alcohol intake — Alcohol hampers your natural detoxing abilities because of the load it puts on your liver. Whenever you have a drink you are introducing a toxin into your body, and regular alcohol consumption taxes your liver to the point where it’s less available for and efficient at everything else it has to do, including regulation and conversion of other harmful substances.
- Choose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods — Both aid your body’s natural detoxing process. Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds bring fiber and other important nutrients that support your digestion and help it to clear any contaminants as quickly as possible. These foods also tend to contain lots of antioxidants, which protect your body from oxidative stress, including the stress produced just by eating!
- Get your body moving — Regular exercise aids with lymphatic drainage and encourages secretion of toxins through sweat while promoting proper bowel function. It also propels you to drink more water, which you also can do at other times of the day to help your kidneys work more effectively to filter and flush out harmful substances.