The Benefits and Dangers of Detoxing

The Benefits and Dangers of Detoxing

The Benefits and Dangers of Detoxing

Written By: Lucy McCrickard

WHAT IS DETOXING?

The term 'detoxing' can conjure up images of strict and sometimes fad diets, involving restricted intake of food and drink. Whilst the objective may be to achieve vitality, cleansing and health benefits, the process can be extreme and harmful.

SO, IS DETOXING REALLY NECESSARY?

Nowadays our environment exposes us to more toxins than ever before, with environmental pesticides, household chemicals (such as make up and cleaning products), and air pollution. We also ingest a large number of toxins though chemicals in our food and water, and through alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and food additives. The liver works to neutralise and make these safe, and this process is carried out with the support of the skin, lungs, gut and kidneys.

In reality, our body is extremely efficient at detoxifying itself using the liver as our internal chemical factory. When functioning properly, it processes all these toxins (as well as those which we produce internally through our own metabolic activity), it neutralises them and excretes the end product.

HOW DOES THIS WORK?

Healthy detoxing requires some specific nutrients as well as water. There are two phases to the process:

  • The first neutralising phase requires B vitamins, Vitamins C, A and E, as well as sulphurous foods (eggs, garlic, onions), and nutrient-rich green leafy vegetables.   Minerals such as copper and magnesium also help support the enzyme activity needed in the process.
  • The second excretion phase makes these end-products water-soluble so they can be flushed out of the body. Helpful foods and nutrients here are spinach, beetroot, grains (such as quinoa), protein rich foods, B vitamins and the antioxidants in coloured fruits and vegetables.

 DANGERS TO BE AWARE OF

In some cases excess toxins can be stored in our tissue and a radical and restrictive diet or fast might deprive the liver of nutrients it needs to handle them safely. This can result in toxic overload, dizziness, fatigue and weakness.

Diets commonly suggested can include raw food diets, soup only and even water only programmes. Drinking water in excess can result in hyponatremia – a condition where water dilutes sodium in the blood to such an extent that body and brain cells swell. This can be fatal.

AND THE BENEFITS

When carried out in a sensible way, including the vital liver-supportive nutrients and avoiding unhealthy foods, a gentle detox can result in increased vitality, improved energy, clearer skin, improved digestion and weight management.

TOP TIPS FOR A HEALTHY DETOX

  • Eat plenty of coloured fruits and vegetables for antioxidants
  • In particular, choose Brassicas (broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, sprouts) for liver support
  • Include citrus fruits and berries for Vitamin C content
  • Eat eggs, onions, garlic and leeks for sulphurous nutrients
  • Include bananas, avocado, unsalted nuts and seeds to supply necessary minerals
  • Eat good lean protein to supply essential amino acids for phase 2
  • Incorporate Essential Fatty Acids (oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil) to help dissolve and remove oil soluble toxins
  • Drink at least 2 litres/6 large glasses of water a day to help transport the waste product out of the body
  • Exercise gently to stimulate circulation and help with excretion
  • Avoid grapefruit; this contains enzymes which can inhibit the first phase of the process
  • Don't do anything extreme; a lengthy fast or radical dietary restriction can do more harm than good.

3 DAY DETOX PLAN

how-to-detox-in-a-healthy-way







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