Detox Diet A Complete Guide
Times have changed for humans in every aspect of life. Habits changed with the evolution of factors especially in the field of technology. The current generation prefers a fast-paced lifestyle rather than following traditional ways. There is a drastic change in the modern diet plans and the health of people associated with it. Many of the chronic disorders like diabetes, hypertension, etc. are a direct effect of these changing food habits. A Detox Diet helps to eliminate the toxic substances from our body which helps to improve overall health.
Apart from the examples mentioned above, there are hundreds of toxic substances that are a part of our routine diet plans. To remain healthy under these circumstances, it is important to follow certain routines that will help us to do so. It is essential to inculcate healthy eating habits so that we do not fall prey to chronic diseases or cancers (6).
Common Toxins in the Body
One might wonder as to how toxins get accumulated in the human body. Often, we hear about those toxins that result in immediate health concerns needing hospitalization. However, modern food habits have introduced certain other toxins that have long term health effects in the body.
These toxic substances are accumulated over time and result in chronic health effects. Some of the most commonly found food toxins are mentioned below:
1. Bisphenol- A
2. Trans Fats
Processed food items are rich in trans fats which are the major culprits of chronic diseases. Trans fats are unhealthy fats which are a precursor for lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases (11) (12).
The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released when meat is grilled or smoked. PAHs are carcinogenic (13).
The food chain brings in a type of chemical called Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in our food. These are transferred to the common food items through activities related to agriculture, disease control, pest control, manufacturing, and industrialization (14) (15) (16).
5. Ortho- phthalates
Scientific studies support the fact that ortho-phthalates cause reproductive, developmental and endocrinological problems. These chemicals get in the food chain through packaging material like cellophane, paper, paperboard and plastic in contact with food (17) (18).
5. Heavy Metals
6. Linoleic Acid
The refined oils used for cooking can cause a build-up of linoleic acid that leads to inflammatory conditions.
Artificial sweeteners are responsible for diabetic conditions, fatty liver disorder and certain types of colon cancer.
Read More: Foods That Are Good For Your Liver
What is a Detox Diet?
As the name indicates, a detox diet plan helps to get rid of toxic substances from our body. They are short-term diet plans that are believed to cleanse your blood and eliminate the accumulated toxins from the body. Nutritionists would describe this period as a time for the body to recharge, renew and regenerate.
Depending on the need of the person, detox diets can span up to three days, seven days or longer regimes meant for weight loss. There are claims that the detox diet helps in the management of various diseases including inflammation, obesity, allergies, etc (1).
Ways to Detox your Body
The concept of detoxification is centuries old and has been well documented in ancient texts. The diet plans have considerably changed overtimes. However, the basic idea remains the same.
1. Healthy Food Habits
1. Detox Drinks
It is highly important to keep your body hydrated throughout the detox regime. Hence, the selection of detox drinks must be made carefully so that it supports healthy nutrition (21).
1. Carrot- Ginger Detox Smoothie
- 1 large carrot,
- 2 oranges,
- ½ tsp crushed ginger,
- ½ tsp crushed turmeric,
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
2. Cucumber- Mint Detox Smoothie
- 1 cucumber,
- 10 mint leaves,
- ice cubes,
- iced water,
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Chop the cucumber after peeling. Add it to a blender along with mint leaves and 1 cup iced water. Strain the mixture. To the filtrate, add lemon juice, black salt, and water as needed.
2. Antioxidant-rich foods
These agents help in protecting the cells against toxic free radicals in the body. Alcohol consumption, smoking, and pollutants can cause the formation of free radicals in the body leading to cardiac problems, liver disorders, etc.
Food items rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, lycopene and lutein are to be added to the detox diet plan. It helps to flush these toxins and cleanses the entire body (2).
Nuts, cocoa, vegetables, coffee, berries, etc. are rich in these constituents.
Read More: Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Here is an informative video from Banyan Botanicals on the detox diet
3. Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotics help in maintaining a healthy intestinal bacterial flora that produces healthy short-chain fatty acids. They help in flushing out the toxins by maintaining healthy gut flora (3).
One has to ensure an optimum intake of tomatoes, bananas, onions, artichokes, and oats to ensure enough prebiotic supply to the body.
4. Say no to junk foods
The busy schedules have forced millennials to depend on fast food outlets as a means of daily meals. Most of these processed food items are loaded with toxins like trans fats, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and even certain carcinogenic elements.
Doctors recommend switching to natural foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries as a healthier option.
5. Stay away from alcoholic beverages
Acetaldehyde is one of the metabolites of alcohol formed in the liver. This substance can impair the functioning of the liver thereby limiting the elimination of wastes through the liver.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to cirrhosis, scarring, and inflammation of the liver tissues. For the success of a detox diet, the person must refrain from drinking alcohol.
6. Drink plenty of water
As mentioned, hydration is a crucial part of detoxification. Water helps in the smooth functioning of the digestive system along with the removal of toxins. Other functions like temperature control, lubrication of joints, absorption of nutrients, etc. are supported by water content in the body (4).
Excretory processes like urination, sweating and breathing, all contribute to effective waste elimination. One should drink approx. 3 to 4 liters of water every day.
7. Add Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea have been described and promoted by many celebrities and health specialists worldwide. A green tea detox consists of about 3 to 6 cups of green tea being added to the diet routine.
It cleanses the system from impurities, rejuvenates the whole body and makes the person feel energized and healthy. Green tea is also rich in antioxidants that help to protect the liver and provide immunity.
One of the best ways to remain healthy in mind is to maintain a healthy body by involving in physical activities along with a balanced diet. The importance of physical fitness is not new.
A daily routine of light exercises for 30 minutes or brisk walking for the same time can help you keep fit. If not, 75 minutes of intense physical activity a week could also be beneficial. Exercising causes sweating which help in flushing down unwanted toxins and help to detoxify (5). So along with a healthy detox diet, it is very important to exercise on a regular basis.
Experts believe that a person has to constantly move around rather than follow sedentary life patterns. Regular exercises can keep chronic diseases at bay to some extent.
Read More: Best At-Home Cardio Workouts
3. Sleeping Habits
The biggest reason for the lack of efficiency in professionals is the lack of sleep. Sleep patterns have changed over time and have become very unhealthy. This results in less time for the body and mind to recharge for the next day and remove the toxic by-products of metabolism.
As a result, there is an accumulation of toxins in the body. A person must sleep for at least 7 to 9 hours a day for the best health.
For better sleep, you can start with simple routines like refrain from using mobile or laptop an hour before sleep, having dinner at least 2 hours before sleep and going to sleep at a pre-decided time.
Benefits of Detox Diets
There are many reasons to follow a detox diet plan. Some of them are
1. Removes Pollutants from the Diet
Most of the food items in a detox diet are devoid of any polluting substances like heavy metals, POPs, etc.
2. Helps to Maintain Fitness
The detox diet helps to remove the excess fat in the body.
3. Boost Energy Levels
The fresh and low-fat foods can help in enhancing the energy level of the person.
4. Healthy Skin
The removal of free radicals can help in maintaining healthy skin.
5. Improves Immunity
Detox diets strengthen, the digestive and lymphatic system in the body.
6. Prevents Inflammation
Free radicals are some of the biggest causes of inflammatory conditions in the body. Detoxification can help to manage such reactions in the body.
Tips for a Healthy Living
Nutritionists across the world along with experienced doctors, suggest different techniques to achieve a healthy living. Some of them are
- It is always healthier to cook your meals at home.
- Avoid processed food whenever possible.
- Add natural foods with a single ingredient like fruits, nuts, lean proteins, and vegetables to every meal.
- Add more salads to your diet.
- Choose water or healthy smoothies over high-sugar drinks.
- Detox your body at regular intervals.
These are all the tricks you must follow to ensure the success of your detox diet.