Loved by celebrities and the health conscious, detox diets seem to be gaining in popularity. But what is a detox and what benefits can we gain from trying a detox program?
In reality, the body is constantly detoxing, eliminating toxins and chemicals that we take into our bodies through food, water and the air around us. However, with the amount of chemicals in our food, and the polluted air we breathe, many people feel the body needs a helping hand from time to time to rid ourselves of these potentially damaging toxins.
Excess toxins in our system can lead to depression, fatigue and a weak immune system. Our metabolism and ability to use the nutrients in our food effectively can also be affected, leading to problems with excess weight. If you ever feel lethargic, catch every bug going, or just generally feel below par, perhaps your body is overloaded with toxins, and a gentle detox may help you get back that sparkle.
Detox programs often advise taking some detox formula or liquid available at health food stores. This really isn’t necessary, as a few simple adjustments to our diet is enough to aid the detox process.
Cut the chemicals!
An obvious first step is to eliminate the chemicals that we voluntarily take in through our diet. Cut out alcohol, caffeine and other processed and packaged foods. Instead, increase your intake of water to up to 8 glasses a day, increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, and choose organic. The water will help eliminate toxins faster through the bladder and bowel. Some people also like to eliminate wheat or dairy from their diet during this process if they suspect they may be intolerant.
For the first few days of a detox, many people experience what is known as a healing crisis. Headaches, nausea and a need to visit the bathroom more often are common effects. This is a good sign as it shows the body is working, getting rid of the toxins. If you have ever suffered from a hangover you will recognize the symptoms.
You may also suffer from headaches if you suddenly switch from regular coffee drinking to eliminating it completely. It is a good idea to gradually cut down on caffeine intake before starting a detox program to lessen these effects. It is also advised to set aside a few quiet days when beginning a detox program, such as a weekend, so you don?t have to worry about work while you are feeling under the weather.
There are some natural aids you can take to help speed up the elimination process. Milk thistle helps support the work of the liver in getting rid of toxins, bio yoghurt can increase helpful bacteria in the digestive system, while whea tbran helps speed up the elimination of food through the gut, cleaning as it goes. Not surprisingly, it is often referred to as nature’s broom.
A detox program is often taken for around 3-4 days, and it should last no longer than 10 – 14 days. Other foods should be reintroduced gradually after the detox process to avoid overloading the body. It is also recommended that a detox program is not undertaken more than three times a year. People who have an ongoing condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure are not advised to detox, and in any event should talk to their doctor.
Finally, how will we feel after a detox program? Most people who detox say that they have more energy, clearer skin, better digestion, more mental clarity and even manage to lose a few pounds. In fact, a few days of detox is an excellent way of starting off a healthy eating or weight loss program.
This article was written by Linda Kelly of HealthyNewAge.com, the holistic care blog and web site.