A detox diet is promoted to remove toxins from the body. The word “toxin” refers to chemicals or contaminants, including pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones in food, food packaging chemicals, household cleaners, detergents, food additives, heavy metals, air pollution, and drugs.
Experts agree that caring for our bodies with a balanced approach to food and proper sleep and movement supports our natural detox systems. Most often, detox diets are fad restrictive diets that can promote fear of food.
Our body already has systems to get rid of harmful toxins. We absorb toxins through our skin, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. But the organs of our body, mainly the liver, kidneys, colon, and lungs, have systems to naturally eliminate these pollutants.
In short, your body is always in a state of detoxification. Each of these organs has a different role.
- The liver plays a crucial role in filtering the blood and removing harmful substances produced as a result of normal body functions (such as digestion) or external toxins such as drugs, alcohol, or chemicals.
- The kidneys also help filter the blood and eliminate toxins in the form of urine.
- After nutrients are removed from food in the small intestine, the colon (or large intestine) filters the remaining wastes, including toxins, to excrete them.
- The cilia in the lungs trap toxins that enter the body in the air it breathes. These pollutants are expelled by a cough or by other natural processes in the body.
So while it is true that our bodies are exposed to pollutants, there is little evidence that our bodies need help to remove them. Eating a nutritious diet to support healthy cells and organs may be the smartest way to increase detoxification.
But not all detox diets make claims about contaminants. Some detox plans are designed to “retrain” your taste buds so that you may want healthier foods, or cut back on less nutritious foods to improve well-being. Less restrictive detox diet plans like these can provide benefits if used as a springboard for a longer-term plan for healthy eating.
The Best Foods for Natural Detoxification
Drink at minutest two liters of water every day. Drinking water helps flush out toxins and sodium that cause bloating. Also, thirst can be confused with hunger, so be sure to drink before and between meals. (Tip: a Venti Starbucks sugar-free green tea counts as three cups of water.)
Challenge yourself to stay away from alcoholic beverages and sweets. Dare to focus on completing your diet with whole foods. Once you drop these empty calories, you will notice a significant change in the way you feel.
Protein and Fiber
Your mantra for the next seven days (and ideally forever) is “protein and fiber, protein and fiber.” Combine protein and fiber with every meal and snack to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your appetite satiated. Fiber comes from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Protein originates from healthy animal sources, legumes, low-fat dairy products, and nuts.
Unlimited vegetables! During these seven days, be sure to eat plenty of vegetables high in fiber and water (spinach, squash, asparagus, artichokes, and cucumber, to name a few). These vegetables will help promote a healthy liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal system, your body’s natural detox systems.
Fats and Oils
Natural fats and oils such as extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil provide energy for detoxification and biotransformation processes.
Nuts and Seeds
Try almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds for a healthy snack. Walnuts and seeds are excellent sources of fiber that aid proper excretion and elimination.
stay away from prepackaged items and soups that add sodium to your diet. Reducing sodium will allow the body to remove excess water and reduce bloating.
Beans, lentils, and other legumes are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber and a variety of amino acid precursors.
Fruits contain a wide variety of phytonutrients, such as beta carotene, lutein, and anthocyanin’s that have protective antioxidant properties. They are also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber and have high water content.
Each of these “detox” plans or foods allows you to try a healthier eating style for a short time to see how you feel. Based on your results, you can make small changes to your comprehensive eating plan based on your goals. Small changes like these are likely to result in increased well-being and a healthier long-term weight.