Detox, the spring clean.
For many of us, having spent the past year working from home, the opportunity to nip off to the fridge or indulge in that extra drink has probably resulted in the additional pound or 3. Along with the weight, we have more than likely increased the level of toxins in our bodies too. Where we have made great strides in trying to get physically fit, it’s just important to stay heathy internally. One way to do this by undertaking a detoxing program to remove some of the impurities.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary: Detox : Noun: a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification. “He ended up in detox for three months” Verb: abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. “He checked into a hospital to detox”.
No matter how you look at detoxing, it’s basically the active withdrawal, to rid or purge your body of toxins or harmful substances for the betterment of your body.
Detoxing itself, is a slight misnomer, as it doesn't actually remove the toxins that have accumulated in your organs, your organs will do that naturally on their own. What detoxing can do is to protect the body from the free radicals (oxygen containing molecules that can cause chain chemical reactions in your body, causing illness and ageing).
The act of detoxing or purging became popular as far back as the 1830’s and in the 19th century biochemists and microbiologists tended to support the auto-intoxication theory ( ancient theory based on the belief that intentional waste products can poison the body, using major diseases). One of the first proper detoxes was developed by Stanley Burroughs back in the 1940’s was known as the “Master Cleanse” or otherwise the lemon detox diet. This detox basically involved consuming lemon and water with maybe some maple syrup and cayenne pepper and no food. Its use is still popular today.
How does detoxing work?
The process of detoxifying begins within the our cells where each cell has to defend itself by resisting the uptake of toxic substances and at the same time striving to detoxify and dispose of these toxins. If each cells within the body can do that, while our main organs(liver and kidney) for elimination can remain un-compromised, then the flow of toxins to the exterior can be maintained.
For the body to function properly, it is vital that the cells, in coordination with the liver and kidney work well, as these organs must bear the brunt of the work in externalising the toxins.
To detoxify the toxins will usually requires two steps.
1. The chemical transformation of the toxin, converting the toxin into another substance.
2. The second is conjugation, attaching the toxin derivative to another molecule (ligand) rendering it less toxic.
To start, enzymes known as Phase I enzymes, through good nutrition create specific co-factors required for the enzymic reaction to proceed .
Phase II requires a good supply of the ligands for the toxin to be attached too. The ligands come as a result of consuming good food/juices. It make sense to avoid consuming all avoidable toxin (processed foods, alcohol) since re-toxifying during the detox will be counter-productive.
Do you have too fast?
Fasting has been popular while detoxing, namely it prevents the re-toxing of the body. It is often thought that fasting will accelerate the detoxification process because of the way it might interrupt the flow of toxins from the food to the cells. It has become clear that an effective detox can still occur while continuing to eat healthily. While abstaining from food, the consumption of water/herbal tea to maintain hydration and energy is highly recommended.
Types of detoxing?
There are many different forms of detoxing/cleansing programs available to follow. Each has their own particular attribute and purpose, some of the more popular ones are:
Juice or Smoothie detox:
One of the more popular where you consume liquids only for anywhere from 3-21 days. Freshly presses juices contain many of the necessary nutrients , especially if green veggies are added. The drinking of only juices can deprive the body of other mineral and can verge into the unhealthy territory if not managed properly. The lack of protein or fats can lead to low blood sugar leaving you feeling very hungry and tired.
Is to boost the bodies energy by detoxing the liver. Using water as the flushing agent can be great but the body still requires a balance of nutrients and Vitamins. Milk thistle, a supplement is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To aid the liver in general it is easier to; maintain a balanced diet, regular exercise, drink lots of water, avoid processed foods & alcohol and get plenty of sleep.
Benefits of the liver/water detox are; clean skin, improved mood, weight loss, gastrointestinal health.
Most cleanses require a change in your dietary habits but the colon cleanse promotes the removal of toxins via the movements of your bowl. This cleanse can use laxatives or colon hydrotherapy (flushing water).The clense can leave the recipient feeling very clean, but the two types of colon cleaning can also purge some of the natural bacteria necessary in the colon.
The main goal of a detox is to flush out the toxins that our bodies come in every day. The toxins not only come in via the food we eat but also from the air we breath or the products we use. Any form of detox: restricting our food intake, replacing solid foods with liquids, or drinking tons of water can all be beneficial, but could also have a negative effects and with an open mind.
I can’t say that I’ve ever tried any type of detoxing, although it does remind me once when I was younger on holiday where we have a very liquid trip, not sure it was the right type of to do us much good though.
Not sure I like the idea of the colon cleanse ! But I am going to try the juice detox for a couple of days, fascinating the body benefits from a clean from time to time.