When most of us hear about detox diets it is usually in reference to some celebrity crash dieting for a role or our office mate trying to clear out toxins after a weekend of indulgence. Because of this, detox dieting often gets a bad reputation as an unhealthy weight loss method, which is unfortunate because detox diets can do much more than help you achieve your New Year’s resolution!
You’re probably thinking, why do I need to detox anyway, does the body do that already? Yes, it does. But most of us eat so much junk in the form of processed meats, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars and pre-packaged foods that the body currently has more work than it can handle. Detox diets are all natural efficiency boosters—helping your kidney and lungs, among other parts—get rid of inhaled, consumed and slathered on toxins.
Contrary to what you have been told about detox diets, they do work. The caveat is that you use the right diet with the right combination of ingredients and you do not go overboard. Just as it takes time for these toxins to build up in the body, so too will it take time to become toxin-free and healthy.
So…let’s talk about why detox diets do work before you get started.
When I talk to people about the benefits of detox diets they tell me how much they hate cabbage and maple syrup. This is a common misconception and why detoxing gets such bad press. But the truth is that when you detox appropriately, the number one benefit is an increase in your nutrient intake.
As I mentioned earlier, the unhealthy diets filled with soda, salami and cupcakes not only make you overweight and restless, but they also provide the body with almost no nutritional content. This means you’re not getting essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to look good and feel good on the inside and out.
When you undertake a detox that is filled with organic fruits and vegetables and consumed in their most nutritious state—raw—it is possible to get most of your essential vitamins and minerals. Many of the benefits associated with detox diets are due in part to upping your daily intake of nutrients.
Stress manifests itself in ways other than a knot in the pit of your stomach. In fact stress can manifest in a variety of ways that have a negative impact on your mind and body. Everything from the food and drinks you consume, the amount of exercise you get, the number of hours you sleep each night and interpersonal relationships all contribute to periods of increased stress. When the mind or body feels stressed, the symptoms can culminate in insomnia, over or under eating, lack of focus and emotional instability. The more these symptoms persist the more stressed you feel, ending up in a vicious cycle of stress and illness.
Detox diets have the unique ability to get rid of both tangible and intangible toxins while also feeding your body the things it craves. Detoxing removes stressors that include preservatives, allergens, hormones and food intolerances that affect the body, which in turn affects the mind.
You probably already know that one of the many benefits of detox diets is improved immune function because it is the most talked about benefit. And since most of us suffer seasonal colds and bouts of influenza this is a rather enticing benefit, not to mention the immunity from future allergies.
But what you probably did not know is that detox diets have been found so beneficial because they allow the body, in general, to heal quicker when it is free of dangerous toxins. Some of the same elements that strengthen our immune system also work to generate healthy cells to help our bodies fight off cancer more effectively.
Our bodies come into contact with a variety of toxins on a daily basis and symptoms of disease arise as we adapt to these toxins. What detoxification does is remove those toxins so that your body does not grow accustomed to them, thereby reducing the likelihood of symptoms appearing.
Finally detox diets have been shown effective in reversing insomnia, which plays a huge role in the body’s ability to heal. In fact many illnesses from the flu to diabetes, obesity and even heart disease have been linked to a chronic lack of sleep. Sleep is prime healing time for the mind as well as the body. The cells in the body use sleep time to repair the immune system and muscles, not to mention improves critical thinking during waking hours. This is part of the reason sick or injured people are often order to bed for rest.
When Detox Diets Don’t Work
You’re probably wondering why detox diets get such a bad reputation when there are so many benefits…and you should. The truth is that, when done correctly, a detox diet is not harmful.
Fad detox diets don’t work because they are based on one kernel of truth found within the principles of detoxification, and they don’t take in the big picture. The most common flaw in these fad detox diets is that they require a dangerously low calorie intake. This is problematic for several reasons:
- Calories are energy, which you need to make it through each day safely. A lack of energy reduces mental function and decision-making.
- Very low calorie diets such as this harm the immune system.
- Any “benefits” received are quickly reversed because these fad diets are difficult to stick to or repeat for any significant length of time.
If you begin to feel sluggish, check the parameters of your detox diet and make adjustments until you feel better.
Doing It Right
When detox diets work it is because you have done all of your homework, read all instructions and have followed the diet explicitly. Make sure you are deciding on a detox diet for more than one reason. While weight loss may be a nice side benefit, you should detox because you want to be healthy and remove environmental toxins from your system.
The best detox diets utilize all natural ingredients that are themselves, free of additional toxins.
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