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Debunking Detox Diets

We’ve all heard about it at some stage or another. “I’m going on a detox!” Whether you overheard it in the gym or veggie aisle; read the increasingly popular articles trending online about “the latest, new and improved” detox ﹘ hashtag blessed! Or you too simply have ‘that one friend’. 

Well here’s the thing… And brace yourself for an unpopular opinion… A DETOX IS NOT NECESSARILY A GOOD THING. But before I come under fire for swimming upstream on this one, let’s first have a look at what a detox essentially is, and a couple of popular examples.

What Does A Detox Do?

A detox, or detoxification, is really just the practice of eliminating toxins from the body. Also known as a ‘cleanse’, it works to rid the body of pollutants and poisons that negatively affect our health. The intended results are to feel younger, healthier, and more energised and revitalised. 

Although not an exact science, there are a few examples which have become commonplace; methods such as fasting, vegetable and/or fruit juice cleanses, using supplements, using laxatives, or sticking to a very specific diet.

Now while these may all sound like fantastic ways to cleanse our systems, we have in fact overlooked the most obvious of truths: our bodies are naturally fully-equipped to undergo these necessary detoxification processes, without any external aids or further assistance.

A detox is in fact, only enhancing what is already being done. In other words, although it may accelerate the process, it’s entirely unnecessary. Taking it one step further ﹘ it can prove rather dangerous if done on a whim and without any research. 

Here’s where the problem lies: by implementing a sudden and drastic change or restriction in diet, one can actually yield negative side effects on their health, doing far more harm than good. At the very least, this kind of change should be introduced in increments, and results monitored carefully.  

According to leading health specialists at https://www.healthline.com/, there is in fact no evidence at all to support that detoxing produces the results that they promise. Instead, the professionals adhere to the sound (and proven!) testimony that our bodies are sophisticated, capable and experienced enough to eliminate toxins by way of the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs.

According to these health professionals, potential risks posed are directly proportional to a detox. For example, by restricting food intake, your body suffers a lack of necessary nutrients. Or by drinking large quantities of so-called detox drinks, such as juices or teas, you may affect a dangerous electrolyte imbalance. Detox products that contain laxatives for a colon cleanse, may quickly lead to severe diarrhoea and dehydration. And on some occasions, diet plans that are not discussed beforehand with a specialist, may even exacerbate underlying medical conditions.

How to Detox Your Body The Way Nature Intended

So what should we do? Well, it’s far simpler than you’d think. By following these basic guidelines below, your body will immediately thank you and naturally undergo it’s detoxing process ﹘ without any dangerous side effects!

  1. Sleep – adequate and quality sleep allows your brain to reorganize and recharge, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts that have accumulated throughout the day.
  2. Water – not only does drinking water regulate body temperature, and aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, but it also detoxifies the body by removing waste products. Water transports and removes these waste products through urination, breathing, or sweating.
  3. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake ﹘ this goes without saying, but unfortunately tends to be one of the toughest decisions to take. Excessive drinking can severely damage your liver function meaning it is unable to perform its necessary tasks — as the body’s main detoxification organ, this is a major blow to the system. As for smoking? Well, this unfortunate habit damages nearly every organ in the body. There goes our capable, fully-equipped, detox machine – literally up in smoke! Enough said.  (TOP TIP: Instead of inhaling the chemicals, swap it out for deep breaths and try meditation! Not only does it relax and soothe the body, but this calming practice also promotes oxygen and blood flow throughout the body.)
  4. Antioxidant-rich diet ﹘ Antioxidants protect against cell damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Some examples of foods loaded with antioxidants include berries, fruits, nuts, spices, vegetables and cocoa. Check out Health Central’s selection of hot beverages ﹘ coffee and green tea are other great examples of antioxidant-rich beverages you can have. Combine this diet by strictly avoiding overly processed foods and too much salt or sugar, and you’re A for away!
  5. And last but not least, my all-time personal favourite… Exercising and staying active! There really is no better feeling than getting that body moving and getting some fresh air at the same time! Besides, regular exercise reduces the risk of so many conditions and diseases (high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes type 2 and certain cancers). And if you find it difficult to motivate yourself to get that body moving, why not join a class, or try a club where you can enjoy a fun activity in a group setting?

And there you have it! In other words, nothing new. Age-old health advice which has stood the test of time, and simply been thrown back at you a hundred times over, masquerading in buzzwords such as ‘AMRAP’, ‘organic’, ’glow-up’, and ‘detox’ ﹘ tricking you into believing that they have cracked a new code, pioneering and forging ahead of the rest. But the real ‘secret’ is this: It’s not. That. Complicated. 

Simply put, detoxes are not the best way to improve your health.

And remember, just because something is trending, claims to be “life-changing” or “groundbreaking”; or is “revolutionising the way we see health” ﹘ it does NOT mean that it’s good for you! 

Most importantly, don’t be fooled or bullied into anything that you are not comfortable with, or haven’t done your own personal research on. Perhaps you suffer a medical condition where a detox would be beneficial; but perhaps it falls on the opposite side of the fence, and a detox actually ends up being more harmful than instrumental. 

Safest bet? If you are seriously considering a detox, just like any other significant lifestyle change ﹘ it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional first.

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