To Detox or Not to Detox?

To Detox or Not to Detox?

As a nutrition coach, one thing I hear a lot is “should I jumpstart my weight loss with a detox?”. To be honest, whenever I hear this question I cringe. Most people think of a detox as a way to undo the unhealthy things that we are giving our body such as junk food and alcohol. We consider it a way to lose weight and flush fat from our system. In reality, it simply just does not work that way. There are many detox’s out there promising to flush toxins by drinking detox tea or only juice or even fasting. These cleanses claim to cleanse the liver, improve circulation, promote toxin release (leaving you running to the bathroom more frequently) and claim to provide your body with healthy nutrients. Unfortunately, most of these detox methods and diets can lead to more unhealthy habits and possibly health issues. The human body is really great at detoxing itself and fortunately, there are safe ways to help the process along. So, the question remains, should you detox? And if so, How? 

What does it mean to detox?

To detox means to remove impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, digestive system, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. Luckily, for most healthy people, our bodies are really good at doing this naturally. Unfortunately, with all of the unhealthy foods and habits, we encounter on a daily basis our bodies are in need of some support when it comes to this natural detoxification.

How do our bodies detox naturally?

Your body has a sophisticated way of eliminating toxins that involve the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. Only when these organs are healthy, can they effectively eliminate unwanted substances. 

  1. The liver acts as a filter preventing toxic substances from entering the bloodstream. These toxins can come from food additives, harmful minerals, toxic medications, excess hormones, etc. 
  2. The kidneys work 24/7 to constantly filter your blood and eliminate toxins via urine. Hydration is essential for the proper function of the kidneys. 
  1. The colon is a vital organ in the detoxification process. It can produce both good and bad bacteria so it’s important to keep it clear and healthy. 
  1. The skin. Although the liver, kidneys and digestive tract are efficient at their jobs sometimes they need help from the skin. In this case, waste is eliminated in the form of sweat. 
  2. The respiratory tract works hard to filter toxins in the air and releases them in the form of carbonic gas and in some cases through mucus production. 
 

Can a “detox diet” help?

A detox diet can include, but not limited to, detox teas, juice cleanses or fasting. These diets are usually short but can have serious side effects. 

  1. Hunger. Some detox diets can include fasting or drinking only juices and teas. Some may allow you to include veggies during the day but you are going to be missing out on much-needed proteins and carbohydrates and are depleting the body of much-needed micronutrients. 
  2. Loss of energy. Limiting your calories drastically can cause you to feel tired and weak. It is highly recommended that you don’t work out during a detox diet.
  3. Cravings. Depriving yourself of foods you normally consume and cutting them off all at once can lead to unhealthy binging and in turn do worse damage than the detox itself. 
  4. Bowel disturbances, frequent urination, and unwanted flatulence. During the detoxification process, the body sets to get rid of toxins and everything else that is potentially a health hazard. This purging effect triggers frequent (and sometimes uncomfortable) bowel movements. For some staying home during a detox diet isn’t an option and this can be an inconvenient and embarrassing side effect. 
  5. Headaches. These can be caused by a sudden change in diet or a lack of nutrients. For some they can be debilitating and an unpleasant side effect.

How can I help my body detox in a healthy way?

The best way to help your body detox naturally is to take care of your body. Feed it healthy foods, drink lots of water and take natural supplements. Here are a few things you can do: 

  1. Focus on feeding your body healthy micro and macronutrients. Sticking to lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants can help fight oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals and other toxins in the body. 
  2. Limit sugar and processed foods. Excess sugar and unhealthy foods can have a negative effect on the liver over time which in turn can slow down the body’s natural detox system. 
  3. Limit alcohol consumption. The liver plays an important role in cleansing the body of toxins and overtime excess drinking can severely damage liver function. 
  4. Focus on sleep. Sleeping allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts that have accumulated throughout the day
  5.  Drink Lemon water upon waking. Add the juice of 1⁄2 a lemon to 8oz of warm water in the morning. This can aid in digestion and give your body a boost of vitamin C. 
  6. Get bendy. Adding stretching and core rotation to your daily routine can help move things along in the digestive system. 
  7. Eat sulfur-rich foods. Foods high in sulfur such as eggs, legumes, whole grains, garlic, onions, brussels sprouts and cabbage are imperative for cleansing the body of environmental toxins and heavy metals. 
  8. Dry Brushing. Using a dry brush daily before your shower can help increase blood circulation and in turn, can aid the body in its natural detox. 
  9. Take an Epsom Salt bath. Some experts claim that the combination of magnesium and sulfate in the Epsom salts can stimulate the detoxification process.
  10. Stay hydrated. Drink at least 1⁄2 your body weight in water each day. You can also include hydrating drinks such as coconut water. If your body is dehydrated it struggles to produce digestive fluids and in turn struggles with digestion and naturally relieving you of toxins in the body. 
  11. Add clean vitamins and supplements such as probiotics and antioxidants to your diet to aid in the natural detox. 
  12. Choose natural cleaning products and body care. Cleaning supplies, deodorants, soaps, lotions, hair products, etc. can expose the body to toxins and chemicals. 

Adding AMPD Re-Vitalize can help the body naturally Detox and Cleanse

Integrating detoxifying ingredients into your diet and add healthy habits can help optimize metabolism, reduce inflammation, promote hydration, alkalize pH balance, aid in nutrient absorption and provide support to your natural detoxification system. AMPD Re-Vitalize provides powerful ingredients to help your body produce, repair, and regenerate cells. Adding Re-Vitalize as a daily supplement as a support system to your already amazing natural detoxification system along with the other natural ways I listed above will keep you feeling hydrated, energized and full of life without putting your health at risk. Re-Vitalize uses all-natural ingredients including coconut water, lemon and yacon root, and like all AMPD products, it’s vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, preservative-free and free of artificial flavors and colors. 

Let’s ask the question again, To detox or not to detox?

When my clients come to me and ask the dreaded question of whether they should kick off their weight loss with a detox I share with them all of the amazing things that our body does for us on a daily basis. I also share with them all of the beneficial things they can do to support this detoxifying system. I advise against drastic measures and always encourage a healthy lifestyle which in turn will not only boost their weight loss but also encourage healthy habits that can support a healthy lifestyle. 

References

“Detox Diets. Juice Cleanses. Could They Be Making You More Toxic? | Precision Nutrition”. Precision Nutrition, 2020, https://www.precisionnutrition.com/detox-cleanse-diets.

“Detox Diets: Do They Work? Are They Healthy?”. Webmd, 2020, https://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/detox-diets.

“Do Detox Diets And Cleanses Really Work?”. Healthline, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/detox-diets-101.

“Full Body Detox: 9 Ways To Rejuvenate Your Body”. Healthline, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-detox-your-body.

“6 Little Ways To Help Your Body Detox”. Health.Com, 2020, https://www.health.com/mind-body/healthy-detox-moves.

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