Some may travel overseas to exotic locations to do a detox, which includes yoga, meditation, eating healthy meals twice or thrice a day, avoiding alcohol, sugar and getting plenty of rest. Whereas others may buy detox kits and do it at home, this could include supplements, juices, shakes, etc. There are so many ways to detoxify, ranging from juice cleanses, eating only raw foods to even colon cleanses with each providing benefits of using that method.
Do we need to detoxify?
We are all aware that in the fast paced lives we live, we are exposed to many toxins, these are chemicals that can harm the body’s cells, organs and ability to function optimally.
Toxins that affect our bodies could be either exotoxins and endotoxins. Exotoxins come from sources outside of the body, such as pesticides, inhalants, foods, drinks, drugs, body products, and cleaning products. Endotoxins are waste products from our cell’s normal activities, and it’s the build up of these that can cause us harm. e.g. uric acid and lactic acid.
The main organs responsible for eliminating toxins and waste are the liver, digestive system, the skin, the kidneys, lymphatic system and the lungs. The body naturally cleanses on a daily basis, however at times these channels of elimination may not function optimally. This may be due to many factors including underlying medical conditions, stress, environmental toxins or foods/drinks that we consume.
If these organs are not cleansed the toxins accumulate and can affect our health. For instance Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic estrogen found in plastics and we are exposed to it when we eat/drink foods or drinks contaminated with it. In a study done higher BPA exposure, resulted in higher urinary concentations of BPA which was associated with cardiovascular diagnosis, diabetes and clinically abnormal concentrations of key liver enzymes.
In a study that compared the difference between conventional foods and organic foods found that preschool children who had conventional foods had more exposure to organophosphorous (OP) pesticides. The research deduced that consumption of organic produce appeared to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children’s exposure to these pesticides. And in a separate study having organic foods significantly lowered the children’s exposure to OP pesticides. It was therefore intuitive to assume that children whose diets consisted of organic food items would have a lower probability of neurologic health risks, a common toxicologic mechanism of the OP pesticide class.
As seen in these studies and many other studies, there is an association between our health and the toxins we are exposed to in the environment or those we consume. Since it is not possible to avoid toxins altogether it is necessary to support the detoxifying organs by eating clean and reducing our exposure to toxins.
There are many who question the need to do a detox as the body naturally detoxifies. However, it is essential to take into account our individual lifestyles and diet and what we are exposing ourselves to by indulging in alcohol or processed foods that are high in sugar, preservatives, fats, etc. Or how we compromise our health if we smoke, live in a polluted environment, are under constant stress, don’t exercise, etc.
There are many detox plans advertised that are extremely restrictive, since they advocate eating very differently from our regular way of eating. These may be calorie restrictive, having liquids only or lack essential nutrients such as fiber, fat or protein. Having done such a detox, one may feel good for a few weeks but after some time they may find it challenging to keep to it and may resort back to old patterns of eating.
If one does a detox for weight loss they should also consider, that if there are obese it may increase the plasma levels of toxic pollutants. Studies found that weight loss increases plasma and adipose tissue concentrations of potentially toxic pollutants in obese individuals. 
Instead of making drastic changes, I recommend that my clients detox by supporting their body to cleanse naturally by reducing exposure to toxins and including foods that support detoxification.
Eight simple steps to support detoxification
- Stay well hydrated by drinking water. Water helps to remove toxins out of the body through the kidneys, so do ensure you are having sufficient water. The amount you need will depend on your age, climate, diet, medical conditions, if you are breastfeeding, etc.
- Eat organic as much as you can. Yes, it is more expensive but you can use the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) list to avoid the Dirty Dozen. Some fruits and vegetables have more pesticide residue. For instance, the EWG reported that spinach samples had, on average, twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
- Reduce exposure to toxins on your body by using paraben free products. Parabens are used as a preservative in cosmetics, shampoo or other personal care products and are hormone disruptors, which mimic estrogen and are linked to breast cancer.
- Reduce exposure to BPA instead of using plastic containers and bottles use those made with glass or stainless steel.
- Include fruits and vegetables in your diet. There are many that support detoxification and the brassicas family of vegetables that include cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts has been shown to induce detoxification enzymes, stimulate immune systems, reduce cancer risk and prevent oxidative stress 
- Sleep well. We’re often told to get sufficient rest but did you know that sleep facilitates the clearance of metabolites from the brain?
- Stay active, by exercising and walking to support your lymphatic system, one of it’s functions is to removes toxins from the body. The lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump it, but needs movement to support it flowing.
- Exercise or have saunas to sweat out and release toxins through the skins. There are various studies that have shown that sweating was effective at removing toxins from the body. 
When considering a detox don’t rush into doing one that is very different from your regular diet as you may find it difficult to do, have withdrawal symptoms when you remove your favourite foods. Instead do a detox that allows you to create healthy habits that you can continue with as part of your lifestyle to support the body to detoxify naturally.
If you have any medical condition you should consult with your wellness team before embarking on doing a detox.
This article was written for GoodZing
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