Everything about detoxification: effects, natural methods and risks
Detox diets are a way to eliminate toxins from the body and support its natural detoxification mechanism. Detoxification can be done by various natural methods (such as phytotherapy, diet therapy, hydrotherapy) and by lifestyle changes (hydration, more sports and sleep, elimination of pollutants).
Detox diets are enticing and promise you a lot: that they can help you have a 10 grade health, do a "spring cleansing" of the body, regulate your immunity, replace those classic weight loss diets by a natural way, that you get rid of heavy metals and other synthetic pollutants, that can calm digestive problems, autoimmune, allergies, bloating, inflammation and chronic fatigue But we must start by saying clearly that - at the moment - there is no scientific evidence that detoxification can eliminate toxins from the body: the human body is perfectly capable of doing this on its own, without additional help, if it receives the necessary nutrients. That being said, certain changes in diet and lifestyle can reduce the amount of toxins accumulated in the body, helping your body to detoxify effectively. We talk about these changes in detail in this article.
Detoxification consists of cleansing the blood and removing impurities through 6 organs: liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal system, respiratory tract, skin and lymphatic system. When these systems are compromised, impurities are no longer properly filtered and the body is affected. A detoxification cure is a short-term intervention and can:
- help the organs to rest (through fasting, cure with teas / juices / smoothies, colon therapy);
- improve blood circulation;
- stimulate the 6 organs mentioned above to eliminate toxins from the body;
- replenish the body with healthy nutrients.
Where the toxins in the body come from
Toxins bombard you from all directions: they increase due to stress, they exist in the air you breathe, in water, in detergents used for cleaning, in cosmetics, antibiotics and other medicines, in packaging and food (especially those processed or sprayed with pesticides). When the body is filled with all these toxins, a generalized inflammation can set in, which underlies many chronic diseases (allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke).
How do you know if you need a detox cure?
The way you feel is largely based on how effective your body is when it comes to detoxification. Some voices in the field recommend detoxification at least once a year. The symptoms that may indicate that you need a detox cure are:
- unexplained fatigue;
- slow intestinal transit;
- irritated skin;
- dark circles under your eyes or puffy eyes;
- low-level infections;
- menstrual problems;
- mental confusion.
How can you detoxify?
Detox cures can vary in duration and intensity (many are structured over 7 days to give the blood time to cleanse), but they all include about the same indications, which can help improve anyone's health - whether or not they want to detox: post; consumption of whole foods, nutritious and low in fat, salt, alcohol and sugar; avoidance of potentially allergenic, processed foods, cigarettes and coffee; consumption of water, juices, teas and / or plant food supplements; sports done regularly; avoidance of environmental pollutants; reduction of heavy metal food sources; quality sleep; as little stress as possible.
How can you do a detox by natural methods?
Below, we have reviewed the naturist and natural ways in which you can help your body be more effective in eliminating toxins, from food and beverages consumed, to herbal supplements and colon therapy:
Drink lots of natural juices and water
You can give a break to your digestive system by replacing daily meals with: lemon water, natural juices, smoothies. A freshly squeezed fruit and / or vegetable juice can detoxify you because it creates a more alkaline environment, brings you a liquid portion of nutrients, gives your digestive system a break from processing fiber and contains enzymes that can help you lose weight. Prepare juices and smoothies from kale, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, celery stalks, beets, apples, lemons, oranges, apples, parsley, ginger, chlorella, turmeric and activated charcoal.
Like any cure, the liquid one has minus points. It is not a good idea to fast for 3 days and drink only juices, in the hope that you will lose x kg. The weight loss will not be due to fat loss, but to water, carbohydrate stores and intestinal contents (which will return to the landscape when you start eating normally again). The low calorie count of these cures is equivalent to starving your body, can negatively affect your hormonal health, can cause dizziness, headaches, insomnia, high blood sugar and can determine you to consume a lot of excess calories after finishing them. In addition, these drinks do not have fiber and protein: the former slow down the absorption of nutrients in the body and control appetite, and the lack of the latter can hinder the body's ability to eliminate toxins.
Use phytotherapy (herbal therapy)
Diuretic and detoxifying teas drunk throughout the day, concentrated tinctures and dietary supplements in plants are diuretic, depurative methods that stimulate digestion, elimination of bile and blood purification.
- green tea is diuretic, contains antioxidants, chlorogenic acid (which helps digestion and helps eliminate toxins), facilitates fat burning and can fight cancer;
- elderflower tea stimulates detoxification through perspiration, contains antioxidants, and phenolic acids and salts in it have a diuretic effect, draining the kidneys;
- fennel tea can detoxify, regulate digestion, eliminate flatulence and stimulate the elimination of excess fluids;
- dandelion tea is a diuretic, can improve liver and bladder function;
- horsetail tea is a powerful natural diuretic, helping the kidneys and prostate;
- hibiscus tea increases diuresis, supports liver health and is an antioxidant;
- burdock tea eliminates bacterial pathogens accumulated in the intestines, increases the secretion of saliva and bile;
- milk thistle tea is antioxidant, regenerates liver cells and helps you get rid of toxic compounds in the liver;
- senna tea stimulates intestinal transit.
Tinctures are a concentrated form of herbal use and can be included in detox cures. A few drops of tincture can be equivalent to 1 cup of tea, the mode of administration is internal, depending on each product, and the drops should be diluted in water or tea. Here are some examples of tinctures often used in detox cures:
- dandelion tincture stimulates gastric, pancreatic and biliary secretions, helping digestion;
- elderflower tincture purifies the blood, is a diuretic and helps maintain a normal body weight;
- celandine tincture supports the normal functioning of the liver, gallbladder and digestive system;
- alfalfa tincture detoxifies the blood, eliminates bloating and water retention, increases energy;
- barley tincture fights free radicals, provides energy, contributes to detoxification and internal cleansing;
- amla tincture naturally removes toxins, nourishing tissues;
- chlorella tincture excellently purifies the blood and eliminates poisons;
- coriander tincture removes heavy metals from the body and calms the digestive system;
- ashwagandha tincture detoxifies and rejuvenates the body.
Powder / capsules food supplements
The same herbs as above may be taken in the form of food supplements (capsules or powder / powder). Try chlorella supplements, psyllium bran and milk thistle, for example.
Focus on diet therapy
By changing the way you eat, you can better cleanse your body from the inside. In this regard, follow the tips below:
- fast for 1-3 days, to rest your organs;
- make changes on your diet: give up foods that are potentially allergenic and may contain heavy metals and toxins (nuts, fish, meat, dairy); eat more colorful fruits and vegetables, fiber foods, sulfur, probiotics and antioxidants (brown rice, whole grains, beets, carrots, radishes, cabbage, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pickles, beans, avocados, apples, black grapes, berries, bananas, lemons, grapefruit, melon, plums, pineapples, cherries, kefir, cocoa, pecan nuts, eggs, spirulina, chlorella, seaweed); eat more often (skipping meals slows down your metabolism, so your hunger will increase and you will consume more calories); reduce the intake of sugar, processed foods, salt, alcohol; include in your recipes more spices (coriander, ginger, turmeric); drink more water and more tea.
Also water applied from the outside on the body can have beneficial effects when it comes to a detox cure:
- Alternating showers with various temperatures are a type of hydrotherapy: do several sessions consisting of a hot shower of 5 minutes, followed by a cold one of 30 seconds, to relax, get rid of inflammation and stimulate the elimination of toxins from the skin and from the lymphatic system. Before releasing water, exfoliate your entire body and help your circulation by a dry brushing with a special brush or gloves;
- Sauna helps your body eliminate waste through perspiration. Properly hydrate yourself during sauna sessions and combine them with a pre-exercise workout for even better results;
- Colon therapy involves repeated infusion of lukewarm water into the colon, anorectally, then eliminating it and cleansing the colon of waste materials, toxins, gases and parasites. This is done only under the supervision of a specialized therapist and can last 45-60 minutes.
Other elements that contribute to detoxification
To ensure that your detox treatment has a better chance of success, you can combine all the naturist and natural methods above with the following tips:
Try suction cup therapy
Suction cups are an ancient therapeutic method, practiced by our ancestors, grandparents and parents, which has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. This involves applying heated glass cups to the back skin: the heat creates suction, pulls the muscles up, drains excess water and toxins from the skin, and increases blood flow to the treated area.
Do sports and exercise
Exercise every day, no matter what weight you have, is associated with a longer life, a lower risk of disease (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer) and a lower amount of toxins in the body. This is because sport reduces inflammation, helps your natural detoxification system to work properly, encourages blood and lymph circulation, lubricates your joints and strengthens your entire body. Ride your bike, run in the park, climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, walk 1-2 bus stops, do yoga, jump rope or go swimming or to the gym: for optimal effects, do 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise / week or 75-150 minutes of intense sports exercise.
Strive to sleep well
Sleep hygiene is just as important as sports and nutrition. Sleep helps your brain to reorganize, recharge with energy and eliminate waste accumulated during the day (such as beta-amyloids, proteins that play a role in the onset of Alzheimer's disease). A proper rest means:
- go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends);
- sleep 7-9 hours every night;
- do not eat, drink alcohol or coffee before bed;
- to not expose yourself to artificial light sources 2 hours before bedtime (without TV, laptop and smartphone in bed!);
- sleep at least 85% of your total time in bed;
- fall asleep within 30 minutes of falling asleep; do not snore or shake in your sleep;
- to have a comfortable bedroom (with a temperature of 20°C, ventilated, a comfortable mattress and pillow, in which no disturbing external noises are heard).
Eliminate pollutants around you
Pollution, chemicals and allergens in the environment are not good for you at all, so switch to natural household cleaning products, organic cosmetics and plastic pans that do not harm your health, to reduce your exposure to toxins.
Get rid of stress
Stress consumes the resources needed for detoxification: the body interprets it as a signal that danger is near and uses its energy to try to get rid of it, putting detoxification in second place as a priority. To get rid of stress and anxiety, you can use natural supplements or aromatherapy, you can do sports or yoga, you can reduce your caffeine intake, you can spend more time with loved ones and your pet, you can learn to say and "No” from time to time and to organize yourself better, you can relax more often with music, a good book, a warm bath, meditating or doing a hobby.
Safety and side effects
Do not do any detox treatment without seeking medical advice, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffering from a chronic condition! The same advice applies to children, adolescents, malnourished and sick people. And before you decide that you want to do a detox, it is important to consider its possible side effects:
- severe caloric restriction (causing fatigue, irritability, halitosis, energy deficiencies, vitamins and minerals, headaches);
- overdose of supplements, diuretics and even water;
- risks associated with colon cleansing methods (dehydration, bloating, nausea and vomiting).
Did you know that...?
- Exposure to toxins starts in the mother's womb: in 2009, tests on the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborns revealed the presence of 232 industrial compounds and pollutants in their bodies.
- Suction cups became fashionable in the West after the 2016 Rio Olympics. Then, famous athletes (like swimmer Michael Phelps) showed the spectators the circular signs left after their application. The world remembered and spas and wellness centers began to offer suction therapy.