Detoxification is the process of cleansing your body from the toxins it has accumulated over time. It is a process that requires the combination of detox-friendly food items and an active lifestyle. When your body is overloaded with toxins due to foreign substances entering your system due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, it leads to a weak immune system.
In this article, we will comprehensively talk about what detoxification is, the foods, drinks and activities that promote it and why a bad gut is the first thing that needs to be paid attention to.
What is detoxification?
Science defines detoxification as ‘the process of removing a poison or toxin or the effect of either from an area or individual.’ In modern day, detoxification or detox is the way through which many reach their target weight or try to get better hair and skin or boost their immunity. One of the most effective ways of approaching a detox is by targeting your gut health.
Detoxification is also known as a food/ body/ gut health cleanse. The first step to completely detoxify your body is by replacing harmful bacteria with the good or beneficial bacteria in your gut. The basic issues in your body usually arise from inflammation due to toxins in your gut flora. These can be due to over consumption of alcohol, smoking, bad food habits, consuming too much sugar, erratic eating schedules or an overall lifestyle imbalance leading to stress. There are various ways to detoxify your body. These include juice cleanses, water cleanse, colon cleanses, sufficient intake of probiotics, consuming foods that eliminate excessive salt or sugar or are prepared in less or no oil at all.
When your gut health is imbalanced because of the invasion of these foreign bodies, it often reacts in different ways. You start gaining weight, have gastrointestinal problems, feel bloated despite not eating much, your skin and hair health deteriorate amongst others–one of which predominantly is poor gut health that sometimes results in other serious medical conditions such as diabetes and a weakened immune system.
Commonly known misconceptions about detoxification
Some of the common misconceptions about detoxification include:
- You lose fat percentage: You may end up losing inches and weight during a detox but not your fat percentage. A detox diet plan typically eliminates water weight and muscle mass from your body.
- Colon cleansing is better than probiotics: Colon cleansing or colon irrigation are not the best way of going about detoxifying your body. Evidence suggests if you want to detoxify your digestive system, probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces boulardii or laxatives are a better option.
- Detox is useful every time you overindulge: A detoxification plan will only work if you follow it up with a clean eating/ drinking programme. For example, if you cleanse your gut with use of probiotics and fibre, then you cannot get back to eating fried and spicy foods from the very next day.
- You have to eliminate all possible nutrients from your body during a detox: If you let go of essential nutrients because of which your body functions, your body will not detoxify. This happens because your body will have no energy to function, thus this is a misconception.
Kitchen ingredients that can aid in detoxification and cleansing of the body
- The best way of going about detoxifying your body is hidden in your kitchen. The following ingredients can be found at home and aid the process naturally:
- Probiotics such as yoghurt, oats, bananas, rice
- Green foods such as spinach, kale, beans, broccoli, peas
- Drinks such as coconut water, freshly squeezed orange/ lime juice, green teas
- Seeds such as chia, flax, muskmelon
- Lentils and pulses
What’s the right way to detox?
It is important to follow a systematic strategy if you want to detoxify your body. For example, if you want to begin by detoxifying your gut, then you will have to aim at consuming foods and drinks that promote gut health.
You can incorporate the following steps if you want to detox your body the right way:
- Letting go of toxic lifestyle choices: these can include smoking, drinking alcohol, not being physically active, consuming fried/ spicy/ excessive sugary foods or consumption of processed foods.
- Drinking enough water: Water is responsible for carrying the nutrients you absorb from food to all your vital organs. Therefore, to replenish and rejuvenate your cells, you will need to drink an adequate amount of water. There are many theories as to how much water you’re ideally supposed to consume, but you can start by aiming to drink 1 litre of water every 20 kg of body weight. So, for example, if you weigh 60 kgs, you should ideally have at least 3 litres of water.
- Exercising: While the benefits of exercising might seem an external gain, evidence suggests that reduction in adrenaline and cortisol levels can aid your detox process. Exercise stimulates endorphins which elevate your mood. Toxins do not enter your body only through food but also through the emotions you go through. For example, stress due to work or personal life problems.
- Consuming detox-friendly foods: The ideal way to begin your detoxification process is to first aim to cleanse your gut. Toxins due to food, drinks or stress can imbalance your gut leading to weight gain, bad skin and hair and a weakened immune system. One way to initiate this process is by consuming probiotics. These include natural foods such as the one mentioned above, or going for verified medicinal supplements containing Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium or Saccharomyces boulardii known for keeping your gut flora healthy.
The role of cleansing in boosting a weak immune system
Let’s first understand the reason behind a weak immune system. When you indulge in unhealthy lifestyle choices such as regular consumption of fried foods or drinking alcohol, your body starts reacting to it in the long term. When your body does not get adequate nutrition to function, it stops absorbing nutrients even when you start your healthy diet.
For example, if you’ve been indulging in unhealthy snacks for 30 days straight, your body becomes used to this. So, if you start eating healthy on the 31st day, there are high chances that your body may not be able to absorb the nutrients from these foods. Lack of nutrients can lead to deficiency due to which body’s immune system gets adversely affected.
Eating food, nutrient utilisation and remaining healthy are a chain reaction in your body. And for this process to renew itself, detox cleanses followed by a balanced lifestyle must be an important chapter in your diet diary.
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