Most of you have talked to that friend or co-worker who is doing a “cleanse” or detoxing, but you probably haven’t asked why or how it works. What is the purpose? Are all cleanses created equal? Does your friend have a true understanding of why they are even detoxing? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “you are what you eat,” but I prefer to believe in the idea that you are what you eat, drink, breathe, put on your skin and what you don’t excrete, to put it so eloquently. That may seem like an aggressive approach to you, but think about this for a second; every day you are eating, drinking, breathing, and using body products that may not leave the body for quite some time, if ever. The potential for you to store toxins like heavy metals, pesticides and other unwanted chemicals is fairly high. Where are these toxins mostly stored? Within your body fat!
Research suggests that the root of many health concerns may be associated with chronic exposure to toxins within one’s environment. You may be thinking to yourself- doesn’t my body detox on it’s own? The answer is yes, to some degree, but when you aren’t consuming enough vitamins, mineral and phytonutrients or if you add excessive toxins into the mix, your body may not be ridding those toxins so efficiently. Many toxins behave like fat molecules and store themselves in your body fat, rather than being excreted through urine and sweat. Sometimes we need a hand to help with the conversion process that allows us to eliminate toxins out of the body through the blood, urine and sweat. This is when a detox protocol may be recommended to you by a registered dietitian or a health care practitioner if he/she feels your health problems may have a connection to your body’s inability to properly detox these harmful toxins.
The detoxification process is highly reliant on your nutrition status. Specific foods can be unfavorable to the process and some foods can really aid in detoxing. Foods to support detoxification are found within a diet high in vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains. Specific foods that aid in the process are green tea, turmeric, soy, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage), red grapes, Spanish peanuts, watercress, pomegranate, and hops.
Your health care practitioner may be able to help you create an individually tailored detox program to help you along with the process. Not all programs are created equal and not all products are of the same quality when it comes to supporting detoxification. Learning more about your health and options is important to your health goals and overall wellbeing. So how do you know if you need to follow a detox program? Some symptoms to be aware of are sensitivities to fragrances, odors, certain medications, alcohol, caffeine, cigarette smoke, foods, unexplained skin rashes, brain fog, unexplained muscle pain and tingling in hands and feet. If you are wondering if a detox program is the right health decision for you, reach out to your health care practitioner to find out more!