Detox programs and juice cleanses are very popular. But what do they actually do? Do body detox programs work? What does detoxing actually mean?
It’s very simple. Detoxing means that you decide to make lifestyle changes with the goal of clearing your body of harmful toxins. This process usually involves abstaining from exposing yourself to certain foods and pollutants, in order to help and support the body’s natural detoxification mechanism.
What are toxins
Toxins are substances that may be poisonous to your health. They refer to any chemicals, pollutants, metals, pesticides, artificial food additives, or any poison that will cause harm to your body.
Toxins can also be natural, like stress, or snake venom. Any substance that is seen as an invader or a pathogen by your body’s defence system would be considered a toxin.
The truth is that we are constantly in contact with toxins and harmful organisms. You will find them in your food and in the water. There are toxins in the air you breathe. It is impossible to get away from them completely.
The problem is that toxins can accumulate in our bodies. Heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs, pesticides, can take more than 10 years to be eliminated naturally. But the problem is that we are continuously exposed to these toxins. So they keep accumulating.
The only way you could avoid ALL toxins would be to hide in some kind of bubble, sealed from the rest of the world. But it would be short lived with no air, food or water.
Our body’s natural detox system works 24/7 at filtering toxins out, in order to maintain optimal health. However, our toxic load can now be overwhelming, and full detoxification is not possible.
Fortunately, there are ways to help your body’s detox system. You can avoid certain pollutants and perform regular cleansing routines to allow your detox organs to do their job better.
Which organs are in charge of the detox?
The human body is a powerful machine with an incredible self-healing system. It has the ability to detoxify itself from all the impurities that get in its way.
There is more than one system in place in the body for waste removal, and the excretory system is one on them. Through urination and defecation, we are able to eliminate a lot of the unwanted toxins.
The colon, the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the skin are all part of the excretory system. Are you surprise that the skin is in this category? Yes, there is elimination through the sweat glands.
The colon (large intestine) is in charge of the absorption of water and certain nutrients, and converting waste into stool to be eliminated from the body.
The liver works 24/7 at filtering and excreting waste, drugs, hormones and other toxins. Just like the kidneys who are busy at filtering the blood and removing waste in the body through the urine.
And let’s not forget the lungs. Every breath you take, a waste gas called carbon dioxide is produced and needs to be removed from the body. And that is your lungs’ job.
This detox process will go on all day, even if you have the healthiest lifestyle. But if you fall into the pleasure traps of eating junk food, smoking tobacco, or using drugs and alcohol, your detox organs will have to work over time, and may not be able to do their job efficiently.
This article will point out different ways you can help your body detoxify rather than intoxicating it.
8 Ways to do a complete body detox
The first step of detoxification is avoiding toxicity. Choosing organic products will lower your intake of pesticides and other chemicals that are used in modern agriculture. These dangerous substances can have a terrible impact on your overall health and must be avoided when it’s possible.
If you find it difficult to find certain organic ingredients, at least make sure that they are non-GMO. Look for the NON-GMO Project sign on the package. That will ensure you that the product has not been genetically modified to resist large amounts of herbicides.
Physical activity is a great way to maintain a healthy body. Through perspiration, your body will release toxins and lower your toxic load. Stay hydrated and avoid protein shakes that are sold at the gym. They are usually loaded with sugar and whey protein.
Exercise also stimulates the lymphatic system, which boosts the detoxification process. Toxins are moved through the bloodstream and the lymph fluids and are filtered in the lymph glands, before being eliminated.
You must wonder how meditation got in this list. How can it help with detoxification? Meditation has been shown to greatly reduce stress while clearing your mind. Stress can be one of the most toxic things in your life if you can’t control it. It can be as harmful as the chemicals are to your health.
Meditating allows you to relax and let go of the things that make you anxious or nervous. Many professionals meditate daily in order to stay focussed, maintain objectivity and maximize performances.
There are many foods that can help detoxification, like raw fruits and vegetables, broccoli sprouts, lemon and garlic. The best detox diet would be a raw and organic vegan diet. It allows to truly clear the digestive tract of impurities and mucus.
Another great way to detox the body with food is to follow a liquid diet. Drinking smoothies only will help flush the content of the intestines and start fresh. Blending fresh fruits and vegetables for a duration of 3 to 7 days is sufficient.
Breathe pure air
We can’t avoid air pollution but we can try to control the quality of the air at home. Tobacco smoke, mold, chemical fumes and pet dander can be more harmful than the pollution outside. Being exposed to them every day can make you sick.
Clean your house weekly and invest in a high quality air purifier. If you have a mold problem, fix it. Get plants to filter the air for you and remove those dangerous toxins.
Your body requires water to function. It is essential for detoxification, to produce saliva, to sweat and to create bowel movements. You need to drink water throughout the day in order to be fully hydrated and eliminate toxins.
Coffee, sodas, sport drinks and commercial juices do not count as drinking water, even if they contain water. Drink at least 5 glasses of water daily. If you don’t like plain water, try adding slices of lemon or other fruits, cucumber or mint leaves.
Fasting is an ancient method of healing and purification that is still used today and now studied. It allows you to rest the digestive system and focus the body’s energy else where.
Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered that fasting for 3 days “can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly.” They say that starving ourselves encourages the production of new white blood cells, which help us fight infections or toxin overload.
When there is no food available, we turn to “scavenger mode” and detoxification can happen. We have a natural survival mechanism that begins breaking down old cells and fat for energy.
When reserves of sugar are depleted, the body must go into ketosis mode for energy. This is when fat cells are burnt to produce energy. When that happens, ketones are produced to feed the brain and other cells in the body.
Throughout our lives, our body stores toxins in fat cells as a defence mechanism. When fat cells are burnt, toxins are released in the bloodstream and can be eliminated.
Complete Body Detox Program
Doing a complete body detox program involves fasting and colon cleansing. It allows the digestive tract to rid itself of accumulated waste and bad bacteria. Clearing the colon of any blockages will re-open the route of elimination and permit you to achieve better health.
A complete body cleanse should include intestinal cleaner capsules made of herbs that will gently flush the intestines. Bentonite clay and psyllium husk can also be used for their absorption properties. A colon cleanse kit will also include an enema bag for the cleaning of the colon. This step-by-step program can last 7 days or more, depending on your needs.