DETOX – FACT, FICTION OR FAD?
Detox is Not a FAD
“Detoxification” has become a nice buzzword lately. It sounds good, rolls off the tongue easily. But do you know what detoxification really is and why is it so important?
I get asked this question a lot. Many people think, “I eat healthy. I don’t smoke or drink much. Why should I worry?” Why? Because our bodies aren’t made to handle the amount of toxins we’re constantly exposed to. Toxin overload can lead to a whole host of illnesses and side-effects.
Detoxification is critical to health. In fact, a compromise in the ability of the body to detox is one of the roots of illness. The gut is one of the core systems in the body that must be working well for you to be healthy. If you feel lousy, then it’s likely you’re toxic.
Feeling sluggish or out of sync? Having skin problems, aches and pains or digestive problems? Straying from your healthier habits lately? Having trouble kicking off your weight loss? It might be time for a body detox.
Detoxification is the body’s natural process of eliminating toxins or neutralizing toxins. This happens via the liver, kidneys and lungs, as well as in urine, feces and through sweat. Yet, your body can become so overloaded that its natural detoxification system can’t keep up. When this happens, the toxins build up and can affect virtually all of the systems of the body.
I liken a toxin-overloaded organ to a stagnant pool of water that soon begin to breed bacteria and mosquitoes, causing other live organisms like fish and frogs to die. Stench and toxic fumes begin to be emitted, causing the surrounding area to stink and affecting people living in the neighborhood. This is how it is with our toxin-overloaded organs: blood cannot flow properly, cells start to die, bacteria starts to breed, and soon there is a toxicity of blood, inflammation and pain. All kinds of diseases start to set in and if neglected further … cancer. A good detox program flushes out these toxins and makes the environment good again.
The Body Burden
Scientists refer to the level of a person’s chemical and toxin exposure as an individual’s “body burden” – the consequence of lifelong exposure to industrial chemicals that are used in thousands of consumer products and found the air we breath, the food we eat, the soil we walk upon and the water drink.
Unfortunately, people today carry within their bodies a veritable chemical cocktail of modern-day industrial chemicals, pesticides, food additives, heavy metals, anesthetics and not to mention the residues of modern pharmaceuticals.
What’s more, they accumulate in fat, blood and organs, or are passed through the body in breast milk, urine, feces, sweat, semen, hair and nails.
Carrying a high body burden translates into all sorts of maladies: headaches, insomnia, constipation, fatigue, weakness, blurred vision, greater susceptibility to infection, allergic reactions, joint pain, recurrent respiratory problems, back pain, mood changes, stomach pain, digestive problems… the list goes on and on.
The sad but undeniable truth is that we have created a living environment that is toxic to our bodies.
The Detox Bad News
In today’s world, the body’s natural detoxification system becomes quickly overburdened and is unable to function like it is meant to and like it has in past generations. Since we are unable to process or eliminate these “modern” toxins, they become stored in our glands, tissues and cells, slowly breaking down all body systems on a cellular level, altering our body’s metabolism causing enzyme dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances. This process takes place gradually and undetectably, until the onset of obesity and disease finally signals their presence.
The Detox Good News
Fortunately, the human body is quite resilient. When we take the steps necessary to alleviate our body burden, we assist it with its natural process of detoxification. We literally give our body the extra nutrients, natural substances and energy it needs in order to set the balance straight and get the process of detoxification back in high gear.
Now – more than ever before – it is imperative that we assist our body’s detoxification processes. Detoxification is a natural, health-preserving therapy, which helps remove harmful toxins from the cells and tissues, restoring their immune-protecting functions.
So What Is Detox?
Practiced for centuries by many cultures around the world, detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
Start With A Colon Cleanse
Clearing out the colon first just makes good sense because dumping liver toxins, blood toxins, heavy metals and other toxins into a congested colon just makes the detoxing process harder on the body than it has to be.
The best colon cleanse programs I’ve personally used all seem to employ a two-part approach. These programs will include bulk forming fiber as well as herbs and other ingredients designed to move out waste.
Is Detoxing Really All That Important?
Doesn’t our body know how to detox and keep us cleaned out? Even if you choose to undergo a detoxification regimen, how do you know what the best detox program to use is?
Completing a detoxification program that cleans all systems of the body is an essential step to achieving maximum health and wellness. Where do you start?
When beginning your search for the right detox program, a good question to ask is whether or not a detoxification program addresses all systems of the body and whether the program is designed to address each system effectively.
I recommend finding a detoxification program that comes pre-assembled and ready-to-use so that you do not have to spend hours and hours searching for all the right components.
This basic routine will help to correct problems caused by toxicity, maximize your body’s own detoxification capacity and help you safely eliminate stored toxins.
Remember, getting rid of toxins and learning how to optimize your detoxification system is essential for creating optimal wellness and this is just the start.
How Does Detoxification Work?
Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.
A detox program can help the body’s natural cleaning process by:
- Resting the organs through fasting.
- Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body.
- Promoting toxic elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin.
- Improving circulation of the blood.
- Refueling the body with healthy nutrients.
How Do You Know If You Need To Detoxify?
I suggest that everyone should detox at least once a year. A short detoxifying program or whole body cleanse is generally safe. In fact, scientific studies show that a detox is beneficial for health. However, I do caution against detoxifying for nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis. Consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about whether detoxing is right for you.
Today, with more toxins in the environment than ever, it’s critical to detox. Detoxification works because it addresses the needs of individual cells, the smallest units of human life. I recommend detoxing for symptoms, such as:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Sluggish elimination
- Irritated skin
- Low-grade infections
- Bags under the eyes
- A distended stomach, even if the rest of your body is thin
- Menstrual difficulties
- Mental confusion
Where Do You Begin?
First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes) and substitute natural alternatives.
Another deterrent to good health is stress, which triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. So it’s a good idea to detox stressful life situations along with detoxifying your body. Yoga and meditation are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.
Which Detox Program Is Best For You?
There are many detoxification programs and detox recipes, depending on your individual needs. Many programs follow a 7-day schedule because it takes the body some time to clean the blood. My program involves fasting on liquids for two days, followed by a carefully-planned five-day detox diet to allow the digestive system to rest. I also advise supplements, herbs, exercise, and practices such as dry-skin brushing and hydrotherapy to enhance circulation.
I also recommend a 3-7 day juice fast drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices and water, as an effective way to release toxins.
Other popular detoxing programs and natural body cleanses include:
- Cleansing supplement packages, which generally contain fiber, vitamins, herbs and minerals. There are several safe products on the market, with easy-to-follow instructions.
- A routine of drinking only water one day each week — an ancient practice of many cultures.
10 Ways To Help Your Body Detoxify
After a detoxification program, you can cleanse your body daily through diet, supplements and lifestyle practices.
- Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.
- Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle and drinking green tea.
- Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
- Drink at least two quarts of water daily.
- Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
- Transform stress by emphasizing positive emotions.
- Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
- Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate toxic wastes through perspiration.
- Dry-brush your skin or try detoxifying patches or detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores. Special brushes are available at natural products stores.
- What is the most important way to detoxify? “Exercise,” says Bennett. “Yoga or jump-roping are good. One hour every day.” Also try qigong, a martial-arts based exercise system that includes exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits.
Chemical Cocktail Reversed
The simple truth is that toxic chemicals enter our bodies every day in the form of unhealthy and refined foods, additives, drinking water, household air, pesticides and environmental pollutants. As a result, our systems have a lower threshold of resistance to disease, obesity and host of other illnesses and side-effects.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Remove and reverse the current level of chemical cocktail that burdens your body with the details of detoxification you have read here today for optimal health wellness and repair your body for the proper immune-protecting functions.
Have you found an effective detox? Before you start your next detox, please read comments below from other readers to see positive and healthy results.