Detoxification, or detox for short, is the ongoing process of removing toxins from the body. Toxins are waste products which can potentially harm the body’s tissue and can come from normal cell activity such as ammonia or lactic acid produced within the body.
They can also come from human made toxins from the surrounding environment.
What is detoxified?
The organs that are detoxified include:
- Lymphatic systems
Why go on detox diet?
We constantly pick up toxins from our environment which can come from food, water and air, and these are deposited in our bodies. Other potential sources of toxins can include:
Also chemicals from:
- House cleaners
- Food additives
- Heavy metals
- Cigarette smoke
Benefits of detoxification
There are a number of benefits to carrying out a detox diet which include:
- Reforms lifestyle additions to sugar, salt and high GI foods.
- Clears out toxins.
- Re-balances the hormones.
- Increases energy levels.
- Improves circulation and digestion.
- Helps with concentration and sleep quality.
- Helps with weight loss and faster metabolism.
- Improves the immune function.
- Helps against cancer and produces healthy cells.
- Assists with regular bowel movements.
- Produces clearer skin and purifies the blood.
Tips for detoxing the body:
Tip #1: Lemon Water
Take a thin slice of lemon with the rind, boil it in water and then leave it to soak throughout the night. The lemon water that is produced should be the first thing that is consumed in the morning.
This tip has three essential benefits:
- Suppresses the appetite.
- Hydrates the body after a long night’s sleep.
- Improves bowel movements due to the delays that often occur between when we first awake and when we start eating and this has the effect of kick starting our metabolism.
Tip #2: Drinking Water
The recommendation here is to drink 6-8 cups of water a day and to add another cup of water for every extra 25lbs in weight. Having this improves the circulation and helps the two main detoxifying organs of the kidney and liver. Please be aware this tip should not be considered if
you are on anyfluid restriction.
The kidney and liver help detoxify the body, however the liver also helps to burn fat. A lack of water means that the kidneys cannot do the job of detoxification by themselves and hence alarm signals are sent to the liver to shut down the fat metabolism so that it can support the detoxification process. Both organs slow down their detoxifying function and the fat burning stops. By drinking water, it helps keep the kidneys functioning efficiently and keeps the liver
in fat burning mode.
Tip #3: Hot Drinks
Have a hot drink before breakfast, lunch and the evening meal to heat up the body before the meal, similar to the way an oven is heated up before use. The body (oven) will burn energy (cook much faster) much faster as it has already been prepared for usage.
This is further compounded by the fact that the body is already sluggish due to the toxins inside it and so it is already taking longer for the food to be digested. The hot drink warms up the digestive system and hence the food is digested much quicker. The hot drink could be
water, decaffeinated tea or coffee, homemade soup or any kind of herbal tea.
Tip #4: Green and Nettle Tea
Green tea is full of natural anti-oxidants which help to clear out the toxins from the body and nettle tea is a blood booster, helping the blood move faster in the system. If it is done every day, it helps the detoxification organs and reduces the free radicals and the build-up of toxins.
Tip #5: No Caffeine
Stopping caffeine is important for the detoxification process and if caffeinated drinks are an important part of a person’s lifestyle, they should be switched to decaffeinated drinks. Caffeine absorbs vitamin B12 which is needed to burn abdominal fat which is particularly important in obese individuals. Ideally, one should switch from caffeinated to organic decaffeinated, to avoid the bleaching that takes place with the decaffeinated drinks.
The other benefit is that caffeine is a diuretic, which means it clears out the water in the body. We want the water to remain in the cells to clear out the toxins hence reducing caffeine will help this process.
Tip #6: No Alcohol
This is one of the main things that should be stopped during the detoxification process. Alcohol makes the kidneys work harder than usual and hence they are less able to remove the toxins from the body. Not drinking alcohol gives the kidneys a chance to remove all toxins from the body, allowing the kidneys to flush the system more regularly.
Tip #7: Drink water every two hours
In tip #2, we recommended that an individual consumes 6-8 cups of water per day, however it is important that the water is not all consumed at once to avoid overloading the kidneys. It should be regular and consistent to help the body flush the system and to give the kidneys a break from each drink of water.
As well as drinking tips, there are a number of food tips, which really help in the detoxification process. These include:
Tip #1: Grapefruits
Whilst undergoing a detox, it is recommended to have one grapefruit per day. The grapefruit is a citrus fruit which is rich in two elements:
- The first is vitamin C which is an antioxidant that cleanses the chemicals from our body and also helps produce glutathione in the liver strengthening it as a detoxification organ. This in turn helps remove the harmful toxins as part of the detoxification process.
- It contains flavonoids which attack the bacteria which attaches to the urinary tract. This can destroy the intestinal flora, hence this bacteria is flushed out during urination.
Tip #2: Switch potatoes with sweet potatoes
During the detoxification process, if an individual wants to eat potatoes, they should switch to sweet potatoes. This is because they are higher in fibre and can clear the body from toxins more effectively, by helping the bowels work more efficiently. They also contain more vitamins and minerals and also contain fewer calories. The one thing that should be noted however is that the sweet potatoes contain less calories and carbohydrates, but also have higher sugar content than normal potatoes. However, sweet potatoes have complex carbohydrates and as a result this is still considered to be much healthier.
Tip #3: Avoid aspartame
As part of the detoxification process, aspartame should be avoided. It is a dangerous chemical and it stops the body from functioning properly and can also freeze the fat cells. As many foods now contain aspartame and other types of artificial sweeteners, it is important to check the ingredients list to check for these chemicals. Therefore to achieve this part of the detoxification process, the individual should avoid caffeinated and carbonated drinks for both the sweeteners as well as the caffeine in the drink.
Tip 4: Reduce fat intake
To keep the body from getting busy with burning fat, an essential part of the detoxification process is to reduce total fat intake. Also high fat/sugar foods also contain toxins and hence reducing fat also helps with reducing toxin levels as well.
Tip #5: Try to eat organic
One of the core objectives of the detoxification process is to reduce toxins and one of the most common sources of these chemicals is pesticides and chemicals. To avoid ingesting these chemicals, fruit consumed should be organic and should be washed thoroughly. Organic fruit is much more nutrient dense and hence make the detoxification process much easier.
Tip #6: No foods from cans
Tin cans are coated with aluminium and when consumed it slows down our metabolism, which is not helpful during detoxification. During detoxification we need fast metabolism and hence we should only eat from plastic containers or home cooked food.
Tip #7: Sit for 20-40 minutes with your feet up
This reduces the water retention in the body when the feet are aligned with the heart. It cleanses the body from excess water and strengthens the detoxification organs by using the water more efficiently.
Tip #8: Detox Bath
Typically, a detox bath is made with Epsom salt also known as magnesium sulfate, which not only draws out toxins, but has health benefits of its own:
- Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
- Help muscles and nerves function properly
- Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
- Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
- Make insulin more effective
- Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
- Improve oxygen use
- Flush toxins
- Improve absorption of nutrients
- Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
- Help prevent or ease migraine headaches