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Detoxification is the body’s way of clearing unwanted foreign particles such as environmental pollutants, metabolic breakdown products from antibiotics and other drugs, disease-causing bacteria, and heavy metals such as lead. This process is carried out in the liver and kidneys and is extremely necessary to maintain a healthy functioning body.
Since this function is set to occur naturally, you may not pay it much attention. However, there are certain things you can do to aid the body’s detoxification pathways and keep those unwanted elements at bay.
Recently, detox diets or elimination diets have flooded the health scene claiming elimination of toxins and aiding weight loss. Food items such as laxatives, diuretics, teas, and supplements are widely marketed and sold.
However, diets that claim to be detoxifying tend to work due to their low caloric value. But since these diets are prescribed for a short period, the lost weight is gained back quickly when a normal diet is resumed.
Moreover, scientific evidence around detoxification diets has not shown them to be effective in removing toxins from the body. (1)
Top Ways to Aid Detoxification in the Body
Do these things daily to eliminate toxins and maintain good health.
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Certain fruits and vegetables contain specific nutrients and antioxidants that promote and boost detoxification.
These foods include cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, various types of berries, apple, grapes, soy and soy products, garlic, green tea, turmeric, and rosemary. (2)
Moreover, vegetables and fruits are rich in dietary fiber, which increases the diversity of gut microorganisms. These gut bacteria play many important roles in the body right from strengthening the intestinal barrier and improving immunity to increasing the detoxification ability of the liver and kidneys. (3)
Make sure you include these ingredients in your daily diet to detoxify your body naturally.
2. Hydrate well
Water is important for the body to function well. It aids in the removal of toxic waste from the body via the kidneys. If you drink less water, the kidneys cannot properly filter out waste products from the blood, which then accumulate in the body and can lead to illnesses. (4)
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise daily, whether it is spending some time in the gym or even as simple as a 30-minute walk – it can have a very beneficial effect on the body.
Recent animal studies have also found that aerobic exercises, or exercises that get your heart rate up, increase the activity of detoxification enzymes. They also initiated tissue damage and repair caused by disease. (5)
Therefore, incorporating a 30-minute exercise routine into your daily routine can aid in naturally detoxifying your body.
4. Get good sleep
A good night’s sleep for 7–8 hours is necessary for everyone as it helps in the repair of the body. It activates channels that remove metabolic waste and helps in replenishing the brain and body. (6)
One of the metabolic wastes removed from the brain during sleep is beta-amyloid, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (7)
Moreover, lack of sleep on a regular basis has been linked to the development of several diseases such as obesity, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and mood disorders. (8)
5. Limit caffeine intake
A cup or two of tea and coffee is not a bad thing, but overconsumption is a serious health risk.
While moderate drinking has been found to reduce fat stores in the liver, heavy consumption of caffeine reduces the activity of liver enzymes and causes damage to cells. (9)
6. Avoid alcohol and smoking
Alcohol breaks down in the liver and produces end products that can harm vital organs if not cleared from the body. While moderate amounts of alcohol (1–2 drinks per week) can be safely excreted from the body, high amounts of it can lead to the accumulation of these end products and cause serious health issues. (10)
Smoking does a similar thing by exposing a smoker’s lungs to a variety of toxins harmful to health. (11)
To naturally detox the body, remove these habits from your routine.
7. Limit salt intake
A high-salt diet causes water retention, where urine output is decreased, preventing the removal of waste products via urine. It also increases the activity of a hormone called vasopressin, which has an antidiuretic effect that prevents urination. (12)
Packaged goods, canned foods, deep-fried chips, and ready-to-eat food items usually have high salt content to increase their shelf life. Always read nutritional labels before buying products and avoid purchasing high-salt food items wherever possible.
8. Avoid foods with high sugar content
High sugar intake has been associated with an increase in heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. These diseases increase the burden on the body and reduce the normal functioning of detoxification enzymes. (13)
High amounts of sugar in the diet also cause a condition known as fatty liver disease, which can compromise the functioning of the liver and prevent the removal of waste from the body. (14)
Therefore, limit foods such as packaged biscuits, cereals, bottled fruit juices, sodas, sweets, and cakes.
Build a detox salad by combining 1 cup of arugula leaves, 1 cup of baby spinach, ½ cup of grated carrots, ½ cup of shredded cabbage, ¼ cup of blueberries, and 1 diced apple. Add a dressing made from 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 grated garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
You can also add boiled eggs, grilled chicken, tofu, paneer, or cottage cheese for protein.
Will supplements help in detoxification?
Certain supplements such as glutathione are promoted for their detoxification ability. They act as antioxidants and can boost the activity of detox enzymes in the body.
It may be useful to add such a supplement to your diet; however, consult your doctor before doing so.
Will warm water and lemon help?
There is no scientific evidence that the consumption of warm water and lemon can aid in the body’s detoxification process. If you feel like it helps, you may choose to take it.
However, long-term consumption of lemon juice can have harmful effects such as erosion of tooth enamel, burning of the throat, and acidity.
What is the fastest way to flush your body of toxins?
Flushing out of metabolic breakdown products from medicine or toxins ingested orally can be done by drinking water and may take 2–3 days. However, there is no way to quickly flush your body of toxins.
Consume fruits and vegetables rich in detoxification-supporting nutrients and your body will do the rest.
Is it good to do fasting once a week for detoxification?
Fasting will not help in detoxification if you are not eating appropriate foods in the time you are allowed to eat. If you follow a balanced and suitable diet, your body will naturally cleanse your body without the need for fasting or other extreme measures (such as juice cleanses).
The human body has a natural mechanism to detoxify waste products from digestion and the normal processes of the cells. The liver and kidneys produce detoxification enzymes that aid in this process.
Certain diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, increased cholesterol levels, and obesity can alter this mechanism along with lifestyle habits such as excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol, smoking, and lack of sleep and exercise.
To boost detoxification, it is necessary to reset the body and fuel it with the right foods. Start incorporating the above-mentioned measures today and maintain them for the next 30 days. When you see your body making positive changes, it will motivate you to make them a daily habit.