Detox – Beneficial or Barbaric?

It has been stated that detox diets and products – do neither harm, nor good!

What is Detox? It is supposedly the cleansing of the kidneys, liver, bowel and stomach. It usually combines an eating and exercise program with herbal supplements … to purify and purge your body of all 'toxins'. To cleanse the colon inner walls allowing larger amounts of waste matter to pass through the bowel. Detox – claims to prevent and cure diseases – giving you more energy – but … with no scientific proof!

These are short term diets – not aimed at weight loss – but rather to cleanse the system. They are not recommended for diabetics, those with low blood pressure, eating disorders or teenagers – as they do not provide sufficient fuel to support sports and physical activities. They can become addictive!

Why detox? Because the liver can become overloaded – especially when our lifestyles become unhealthy. The liver cleanses almost three liters of blood every minute – under 'normal' circumstances it can clear 99% of bacteria and other toxins from the blood before it re-enters the bloodstream. Symptoms of overloading the liver may include fatigue, low grade infections, flatulence, nausea, migraines, constipation, bags under the eyes, skin irritations, etc.

Some examples of detox plans include:

– 'lemonade diet' – where you have nothing much more than a concoction of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup – for a minimum of 10 days

– a 15 day 'quick cleanse' program – includes 24 natural herbs and 7 additional ingredients

– 'dual action cleanse' – a natural herbal formula – to act as a total body purifier and to unclog your colon

And many more … what they mainly have in common is that they usually include several days of liquid diet followed by eating organic raw fruit and vegetables – then gradually re-introducing other foods, but excluding red meat, wheat, sugar, eggs and packaged foods.

To ramp up these detox effects the diets also include laxatives, salt water drinks, digestive aids and tonics – to induce bowel movements. This is intended to regain vitality and lose weight.

Nowadays you just have to purchase a detox kit from the chemist, healthfood store, or supermarket shelf – swallow some supplements, follow the diet and wow – you are cleaned!

However …. consider …

Fasting causes the body's metabolism to slow down

Weight loss due to fasting is likely to be muscle tissue and water

You may feel tired, weak, nauseous, hungry – or experience headaches

Fasting can become addictive and may lead to eating disorders

Malnutrition may occur – if continued over extended periods

But – can years of drinking alcohol, over eating, eating the wrong foods, taking drugs – be magically reversed by a brief detox program?
Is fasting … purging … eliminating a lot of food groups … good for you?
If you're looking for a quick fix solution – then it's fine for short term.
But – how quickly we revert to our old habits.

The alternative …

Eat lots of fresh vegetables, vitamin C enriched foods – citrus fruit, strawberries, dark green vegetables

Eat Omega 3 foods – salmon, mackerel, sardines

Nuts and seeds

Herbs – milk thistle, tumeric, lecithin, dandelion, and globe artichoke – can all produce a protective and curative effect on liver damage

Stop smoking

Avoid drugs and medicines, exposure to chemicals

Drink 8 glasses of water

Do deep breathing

Or..perhaps something as simple as drinking freshly squeezed fruit juices – first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can be the healthy alternative – fruit acids are effective detoxifiers!

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