Lately, there has been a lot of talk about detoxing, which promises that you’ll feel better and have more energy afterward. However, detox diets can be extreme. In fact, most detox diets cut down your calorie intake from the recommended 2,000 calories down to 800 or 1,000 calories per day (1). Incidentally, such a drastic drop in caloric intake can actually make you feel worse, causing headaches, irritability, constipation, and nutritional deficiencies (1). So, is there a better way to detox? Although your body takes care of detoxification through the liver and kidneys, there are ways to enhance your body’s natural detox power (1). Instead of extreme detoxing, consider changing your everyday diet to include foods and beverages that safely rid your body of toxins.
Amp up Fruit and Vegetable Intake
Most Americans are meat lovers. Unfortunately, non-organic and processed meats have high levels of hormones and chemicals (2). Additionally, farm-raised salmon has high mercury levels (2). Therefore, making at least a few meals each week vegetarian will naturally help your body flush out toxic hormones and chemicals through the liver and kidneys (1). Switching out meat for vegetable meals can also up your fiber intake, which is essential for getting rid of toxins, because fiber picks up toxin-laden bile to carry it out of your body (2). Also be sure to get in plenty of fruits with high alkalizing properties like potassium, magnesium, and calcium (3). These simple strategies can help you maximize your body’s detox potential.
Many of us know the dangers associated with drinking soda, but what about the benefits of drinking water? Staying hydrated can keep your body’s detox functions working properly (3). On the other hand, dehydration can cause inflammation and oxidative stress (3). Since sugary drinks like soda and alcohol provide little-to-no hydration, considering removing them from your diet. If that sounds a bit too restrictive, even minimizing soda and alcohol intake each week can make a difference. Also, consider the benefits of juicing. Nutritionists recommend making a juice blend that contains just one fruit and many vegetables, like a “kale-celery-apple-lemon-parsley” combination (4). That way, you are staying hydrated and getting valuable nutrients at once.
Detox without Detriment
While detox diets may sound appealing because you can shed weight quickly, they don’t help you create a well-balanced nutrition plan. Instead, you dive head first into a crash diet that might leave you feeling worse than when you began. Remember that overall health can’t be improved without hearty, daily intake of vital nutrients. So invest in a detox if it works for you, but know that you can make better strides in nutrition if you up fruit, vegetable, and water intake. Try it and see if your liver and kidneys don’t thank you.
Yours in good health,
- Rosenfeld, A. (2015). Support Your Body’s Natural Ability to Detox.Westchester County Business Journal, 51(3), 48.
- Morello, G. (2010). 31-day detox. Better Nutrition, 72(1), 28-32.
- ELIAZ, I. (2012). FALL INTO DETOX. (cover story). Better Nutrition,74(10), 34.
- GOLDMAN, L. (2014). EAT TO CLEANSE YOUR BODY. Natural Health, 24.