What is a Natural Detox Diet?
A natural detox uses a combination of diet and supplements to activate and support your body’s own cleansing processes. It is the main belief in naturopathy that toxin build-up causes disease and that detoxification allows your body to cure itself.
The cleansing process starts by freeing the toxins from within the cells and tissues of your body. The toxins are released into the blood and then filtered through the liver. If your liver is working well, those toxins are neutralized and eliminated from the body in your faeces.
About 99% of the toxins are eliminated through this route, so the liver and bowel must be in good shape to support the detoxification process. Toxins are also eliminated from the body through the kidneys as urine, through the skin in sweat and through the air we breathe out.
A detox can be a kick-start into a healthier diet and lifestyle. It gives your body a rest from the daily onslaught of junk food, alcohol and drugs and allows it to self-heal. But a natural detox is often a difficult process to go through. You need to be committed to the cleansing process and prepared for some discomfort and sacrifice. You need to believe that natural healing is the best medicine of all.
A well-designed detox can slim you down and improve your looks and even boost your emotions. A detox diet is also an effective way to improve your general health. It is likely to lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol, improve your blood sugar control and increase your energy. Of course, the added benefit of following a detox diet is that you are likely to lose weight too!
It can also help in improving conditions such as arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disorders or even body-wide diseases such as fibromyalgia or MS. If you do have a particular illness that you wish to target, it is best to consult a naturopath or nutritionist as they can tailor the detoxification for you.
It is not recommended to follow a detox if you are taking prescription drugs. Most medicines are toxic to the liver and the detox process treats them as any other toxin. It is far better to wean yourself off drugs before trying a self-cleansing process. Of course, please consult your doctor before attempting this yourself.
If you are unable to take on the commitment of a detox, why not try eating a healthier diet instead? Moving to a mainly plant-based, wholefoods diet is a great choice for better health.
Many detox diets and methods are available nowadays. They are split into two main categories; the short sharp shock and the gentler long-term detox.
The short-term detox typically lasts a few days and combines juice-fasting and colon cleansing with herbal supplements. This detox diet clears out your digestive system and loses you some weight, but it has no proven health benefits.
A long-term detox combines a healthy diet with herbs, vitamins and minerals. Good results can be achieved in around a week but a longer period is likely to result in more permanent changes. This detox is based on tried and tested methods that have given a healthier life to many.
Typically, alcohol, caffeine, processed food, meats, dairy, sugar, salt and wheat products are excluded from the long-term detox diet. Probiotics or ‘friendly’ bacteria are used to support the digestive system. Herbal supplements such as milk thistle help the liver in its cleansing process. Minerals like magnesium and zinc activate the detoxification of the bodily tissues.