Detox Diets and Cleanses: Are They Even Safe?
Detox diets…body cleanses…colon cleanses…bowel cleanses…
You’ve probably heard all of these terms used in reference to “ridding your system of unhealthy toxins” - but what do these terms actually mean? And toxins? What’s up with that?
Do you really need to be on a detox diet or cleansing your body?
Are programs and products marketed as detoxes and cleanses even safe to do?
The answer to both of those questions is probably not. I mean, unless you’re checking into Betty Ford with some serious issues. Otherwise, there are organs who call detoxing and cleansing their full-time job.
So, what are detox diets and cleanses?
Generally, both detoxes and cleanses are methods that people use un an effort to clear or flush toxins out of their body. Here’s how you can recognize these in the wild.
Detox diet: Requires you to be on a very restrictive diet that only allows you to consume a small selection of food that some consider to be “detox foods” and usually for a specified amount of time, often several days to even several weeks. Some detox diets actually involve fasting for a period of time. As a result, your body might not get the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly, and your energy level could be negatively impacted - sometimes dramatically, and can even be accompanied by “detox flu” symptoms.
Cleanse: Typically involves consuming some sort of herbal or supplement product (pills, powders, tinctures) intended to flush out your digestive tract - namely the large colon or bowel. What you must understand is that these products could cause undesirable side effects, and may contain chemicals that might not be healthy or safe, thus defeating the purpose of performing a “body or bowel cleanse” in the first place. Some cleanses also involve being on a restrictive diet for at least a short period of time - usually the number of days that the cleanse supplements have been recommended for. If you’ve done colonoscopy prep, you’ve done the only legit version of this.
Why do people feel they need to cleanse their body anyway?
Besides getting rid of an overaccumulation of toxins in their system (known or suspected), there are other reasons why people may try detox diets and cleanses, including the following:
They want to lose weight and look/feel slimmer and healthier
They think it will make them healthier, i.e. there may be a perceived “health halo” that accompanies a cleanse program or product
They went on a vacation and didn’t eat healthy/imbibed too much OR they’re planning on going on a vacation and want to detox before they tox ;)
Many people don’t realize that our system can remove its own waste naturally. In fact, the body is cleverly designed to do just that.
Our body has its own built-in detox system that works on its own every day. One of the main functions of the liver is to remove toxins from our blood.
UNLESS YOU ARE IN TREATMENT FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE OR YOU ARE DOING COLONOSCOPY PREP, YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO ANY OF THIS.
Tips to help you naturally encourage your body’s own detoxification processes
Here are things you can be doing day-to-day and year-round:
EXERCISE & SWEAT REGULARLY. This not only helps you manage your weight but it also gets rid of toxins while you are sweating. That’s one of sweat’s purposes, after all.
DRINK FILTERED WATER. Water helps flush out and cleanse your system.
EAT GOOD FATS. Ditch the processed and refined fats, and instead, consume healthier “good fats” such as olives & olive oil, raw nuts & seeds, coconut oil, and avocados.
UP THE FIBER. Fiber helps to move toxins and waste that have built up in your system through your system naturally - think of fiber like stiff bristled broom for your digestive system.
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