We all hear of detoxing everywhere, could be from friends who are doing a detox to cleanse their bodies or we may have read about it in magazines or on the internet. There are many reasons people like to detox, including to look and feel good, resetting after having indulged excessively or to lose weight

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[1].
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[2].  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[3]. 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.

Detox Sensibly
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.[4] [5]
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.[6]

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 [7]

Sleep well.  We’re often told to get sufficient rest but did you know that sleep facilitates the clearance of metabolites from the brain?[8]

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.[9] [10]

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.


Kick start your journey to healthy living and release the unwanted weight.

By ditching the diet mentality you will learn what foods are “right for your unique body” and understand how cleansing benefits both physically and emotionally. 

I decided to do the cleanse because I was overweight, unhealthy and looked much older than my age. I knew I had to make a change!  Being on the cleanse has made me lose weight (1.8 kilos in a week!), feel lighter and given me the motivation to make life long changes.  I found it easy and was not hungry.  Sujata was fabulous as she is very professional and knowledgeable and supported me throughout.  She worked on my specific goals and am very happy to have done the Cleanse with her support.”  IM  


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

[1] Lang IA, Galloway TS, Scarlett A, Henley WE, Depledge M, Wallace RB, Melzer D. Association of urinary bisphenol A concentration with medical disorders and laboratory abnormalities in adults. JAMA. 2008 Sep 17;300(11):1303-10. doi: 10.1001/jama.300.11.1303. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

[2] Cynthia L Curl, Richard A Fenske, and Kai Elgethun
Organophosphorus pesticide exposure of urban and suburban preschool children with organic and conventional diets. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Mar; 111(3): 377–382.

[3] Chensheng Lu, Kathryn Toepel, Rene Irish, Richard A. Fenske, Dana B. Barr,and Roberto Bravo.  Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides

Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Feb; 114(2): 260–263.

[4] Chevrier J, Dewailly E, Ayotte P, Mauriège P, Després JP, Tremblay A.Body weight loss increases plasma and adipose tissue concentrations of potentially toxic pollutants in obese individuals. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Oct;24(10):1272-8.

[5] Hue O, Marcotte J, Berrigan F, Simoneau M, Doré J, Marceau P, Marceau S, Tremblay A, Teasdale N. Increased plasma levels of toxic pollutants accompanying weight loss induced by hypocaloric diet or by bariatric surgery. Obes Surg. 2006 Sep;16(9):1145-54.

[6] EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produc https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php 

[7] Kapusta-Duch J, Kopeć A, Piatkowska E, Borczak B, Leszczyńska T. The beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables on human health. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2012;63(4):389-95.

[8] Mendelsohn AR, Larrick JW.  Sleep facilitates clearance of metabolites from the brain: glymphatic function in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Rejuvenation Res. 2013 Dec;16(6):518-23. doi: 10.1089/rej.2013.1530.

[9] Margaret E. Sears, ,Kathleen J. Kerr and Riina I. Bray
Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 184745

[10] Genuis SJ1, Birkholz D, Rodushkin I, Beesoon S. Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2011 Aug;61(2):344-57. doi: 10.1007/s00244-010-9611-5. Epub 2010 Nov 6.