Detoxification is one of those topics that gets people excited. They want to know what it involves, how long it takes, and whether there are certain foods they should avoid while doing it. Unfortunately, most popular detox diets aren’t backed up by science. In fact, some of them could actually make you sicker.
The idea behind detoxifying is simple. You’re trying to rid yourself of unhealthy substances like pesticides, heavy metals, and chemicals found in food packaging. But your body already has an efficient way of getting rid of toxins—it just needs to be told how to do it.
Your body naturally produces enzymes called cytochrome P450s that break down harmful compounds into harmless ones. Some of these enzymes work better than others depending on where they live inside your cells. For example, liver enzymes are responsible for breaking down alcohol, whereas kidney enzymes handle drugs and hormones.
If you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, your body has plenty of healthy cytochromes P450s to keep everything running smoothly. However, if you consume too much-processed junk food, you’ll probably end up with fewer active enzymes. This leads to the buildup of toxic waste products in your blood and organs, causing inflammation and disease.
That’s why experts recommend eating a well-rounded diet full of whole grains, lean proteins, and lots of veggies. These foods contain antioxidants that help your body produce more cytochromes P 450s. Eating enough fiber helps your digestive tract eliminate toxins faster, and drinking green tea boosts the activity of your liver enzymes.
How Does Detoxification Work?
Detoxification is one of those things that people think about every now and again, but it doesn’t really happen often enough. In fact, most people don’t even know what happens during a true detoxification period. There are lots of different kinds of detoxes out there, and each works differently. Some involve fasting while others require you to drink special juices. But no matter how you do it, the idea behind a detox diet is pretty straightforward: You’re trying to rid yourself of toxins. And there are many ways to do that.
How To Detox Naturally
Here are some simple steps to detoxify naturally
1. Limit alcohol
Moderate alcohol consumption may benefit your cardiovascular system, according to a recent study published in the journal Heart. Researchers found that moderate drinking — defined as no more than three drinks daily for women and four drinks daily for men — could help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
Alcohol contains ethanol, a toxic compound, and it’s important to note that excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage, alcoholism, and even death. However, researchers say that moderate intake of alcohol can actually protect against cardiovascular disease.
Women should limit themselves to one drink per day, and men should stick to no more than two drinks daily. If you do consume alcohol, try to keep it to just one serving per day.
If you are pregnant, abstain completely from alcohol. Pregnant women shouldn’t drink at all because it can affect fetal development and increase the risk of miscarriage.
You can reduce your risk of contracting certain types of cancer if you don’t drink alcohol. Research suggests that moderate drinking may decrease the risk of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. In addition, people who drink moderately are less likely to develop prostate cancer.
2. Focus on sleep
Sleep is important for your overall well-being. A good night’s rest helps you feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Your brain needs time to relax and recharge after a long day. When you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your mood, memory, ability to learn, and even your immune system.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. If you are getting less than six hours of sleep every night, you could experience daytime drowsiness, fatigue, low energy levels, poor concentration, irritability, headaches, trouble falling asleep, and increased stress.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ages 12 months to 5 years need 11 to 14 hours of sleep nightly; those aged 6 to 11 years need 10 to 13 hours; and teens need 8 to 10 hours.
3. Drink more water
If you want to look good, drink lots of water. You need it every single day to help your body flush out toxins. And while you’re at it, make sure you’re drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
Your body needs about 90 ounces per day. But most people don’t drink anywhere near that much. In fact, many Americans are chronically dehydrated because they just don’t drink nearly enough water.
Dehydration leads to fatigue, headaches, dry skin, constipation, and even weight gain. If you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated. So the next time you feel parched, reach for some H2O.
4. Reduce your intake of sugar and processed foods
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume each day. Sugars found in sweetened drinks, candy bars, cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream are considered added sugars because they aren’t naturally occurring in whole foods. Other sources include fruit juices, honey, syrups, jams and jellies, flavored milk, and condiments such as ketchup and mustard, and sauces.
Processed foods contain ingredients that are chemically altered during production, including hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, and salt. These types of foods tend to be highly calorically dense.
When choosing what to eat, limit yourself to one serving per meal. If you’re eating multiple meals throughout the day, try to make those healthy choices. For example, if you choose a salad over fries, you’ll still be consuming fewer calories overall.
5. Eat antioxidant-rich foods
Antioxidant-rich foods are vital for a healthy life. They help prevent many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. Antioxidants are nutrients that neutralize free radicals – molecules that damage cells and DNA. Free radical production increases with age, stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, pollution, and poor nutrition. Antioxidants fight off free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
The body produces some antioxidants naturally, but most come from food. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, seeds, herbs, and spices are rich sources of antioxidants. Some examples include berries, apples, broccoli, carrots, kale, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, oranges, pomegranate juice, papaya, prunes, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, garlic, and ginger.
Eating an antioxidant-rich diet will also help you lose weight. Research suggests that people who eat antioxidant-rich diets tend to weigh less and maintain their weight loss over time. This is because antioxidants help boost metabolism, increase energy expenditure and improve insulin sensitivity.
Research has shown that eating antioxidant-rich foods helps prevent many chronic diseases. For example, one study showed that women who ate an antioxidant-rich diet had lower rates of breast cancer compared to those who did not. Another study found that men who consumed high levels of vitamin E, beta carotene, and lycopene had lower prostate cancer risk.
Many studies show that antioxidant-rich foods help prevent cardiovascular disease. One study found that people who ate antioxidant-rich diets had a 40% reduction in stroke risk compared to those who did not consume antioxidant-rich foods. Other research found that people who ate an antioxidant-rich Mediterranean diet had a 20% lower risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Antioxidants help protect against lung disease. A recent study found that smokers who ate antioxidant-rich diets experienced a 60% decrease in lung cancer risk compared to those who smoked without consuming antioxidant-rich foods.
Some studies suggest that antioxidant-rich foods help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. One study found that adults who ate antioxidant-rich diets were 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who did eat antioxidant-rich foods.
6. Eat foods high in prebiotics
Prebiotics are necessary for maintaining healthy gut flora. They are found naturally in certain foods such as beans, onions, garlic, bananas, oats, and some fruits like apples and pears. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that feed beneficial bacteria in our intestines. These bacteria assist in breaking down food into nutrients that we absorb. Without enough prebiotics, it becomes difficult to digest food properly. This leads to bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and even stomach ulcers.
Eating foods high in prebiotics will help maintain gut health. Foods rich in prebiotics include bananas, oats, onions, and garlic. Bananas contain fructans which are prebiotic fibers. Oats contain beta-glucan which helps support immune function. Onions contain quercetin which supports digestive health. Garlic contains polysaccharides that promote good intestinal health.
7. Decrease your salt intake
Consuming too much salt causes you to retain water. This leads to bloating, swelling, headaches, fatigue, and even high blood pressure. To avoid this problem, try reducing your sodium intake. You don’t necessarily have to cut out all salt. In fact, most people are already consuming enough sodium. Instead, focus on cutting down on processed foods and adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet. These foods contain less sodium than salty ingredients like bacon, beef, cheese, and bread. And remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
8. Stay active
Regular exercise reduces inflammation and helps detoxification systems work properly. Exercise increases circulation, which boosts blood flow and oxygen levels throughout your body. Exercise protects your heart and lung, improving how well they pump and letting you breathe easier.
9. Eat Proteins
The human body needs protein to grow and repair itself. However, many people don’t eat enough protein because they believe it’s expensive. But there are ways to save money while eating healthier.
Organic meats and seafood contain fewer pesticides and antibiotics than conventionally raised animals. They’re also lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Wild-caught fish contains less Mercury than farmed fish. And wild salmon is one of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.
10. Eat Legumes
Vegetables are often thought of as healthy and nutritious. But did you know that legumes are actually very beneficial to your health? They contain fiber and protein, which help keep blood sugar levels steady. Legumes also provide vitamins B, E, K, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, vitamin D, and pantothenic acid.
11. Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of those things that sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t always work out quite as you planned.
If you’re looking to try intermittent fasting, there are many different ways to go about it. You could simply skip breakfast every day, eat lunch once a week, or even do a full 24-hour fast. But what works best for most people is to alternate between periods where we don’t eat anything at all and times where we eat normally. This way our bodies aren’t forced to use up energy digesting food.
There are some downsides to doing intermittent fasting though. For starters, it can be hard to stick to. And it takes discipline to avoid eating whenever you feel hungry. If you find yourself craving something unhealthy because you skipped breakfast, you might end up reaching for a bagel instead of a salad.
But if you want to give intermittent fasting a shot, here’s how to start:
• Eat dinner around 7 pm each night.
• Skip breakfast the next morning.
• Have lunch at noon.
12. Limit stress.
Stress is something we all deal with on some level. Whether it’s work-related, family issues, health concerns, financial worries…the list goes on. But what happens when you’re stressed out too much? You might feel like you’re having a panic attack or even worse, a heart attack.
There are many things we can do to help us cope with stress, including limiting our exposure to stressful situations, exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough sleep, and practising mindfulness.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for ways to cleanse your system without spending hours in the bathroom, look no further than your kitchen. Start by eliminating processed foods from your diet and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables. This will give your digestive tract a break and allow your liver to work overtime to rid your body of toxins. Your skin will thank you too, because when your body has nothing else to process, it gets rid of toxins through your pores. And finally, drink lots of water throughout the day to flush out any remaining toxins and keep your body hydrated.
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.