What You Need to Know About Detoxing
The word “detox” is everywhere. It’s a frequent hashtag on Hugh Jackman’s Instagram page (#whatdetox, invoked whenever the Wolverine star is pictured with a pizza or burrito). It’s the subject of countless health articles, and a common label for fad diets that promise rapid weight loss.
But what is a detox, really? And does it always have to equal starvation and cayenne lemon water? Here’s what fitness enthusiasts need to know about detoxes.
Detoxing isn’t a new phenomenon
Detox is a general term for eliminating the toxins from your body. Simply put, there is no one hard and fast method for detoxing.
The term “detoxing” may be trending now, but natural cleanses have been used for thousands of years to keep the body in balance and free of harmful toxins. Toxins are the substances found in your food, environment, air and water that contribute to disease or imbalance in your body.
As long as toxins have been throwing our bodies out of balance, humans have been exploring ways to eliminate them. The Ancient Romans and Greeks had their cleansing baths. Native Americans combined aromatic rituals with herbs and dietary changes to clean the body’s system. In India’s Ayurveda, the oldest health philosophy still practiced today, detoxing is considered the foundation of good health. Ancient Nordic cultures used saunas to sweat out toxins.
But what these ancient cultures didn’t do was use detoxing to quickly shed extra pounds. The idea of detoxing as a “quick fix” or rapid weight loss tool is largely a modern phenomenon. According to the National Institutes of Health, there’s no strong evidence that the weight loss you experience on a detox diet will last once you go back to a normal caloric intake. In fact, there is clear evidence to the contrary: extremely low-calorie diets lower the body’s base metabolic rate so much that when a dieter begins to eat normally again, rapid weight gain follows.
Common types of detoxes
The word “detox” is uses to describe a wide variety of diets or techniques for ridding toxins from the body. Popular types of detoxes include juice cleanses, detox supplements, diets and intermittent fasting.
- Juice cleanses: Drinking nothing but juices (usually vegetable-based) for days or even up to a week at a time.
- Detox supplements and teas: Either in the form of capsules or teas, the idea is the same. You’re taking herbs that promote the elimination of toxins from the body.
- Detox diet: These diets are typically extremely low in calories and filled with restrictions. The Master Cleanse diet popularized by many Hollywood celebrities, for instance, involves drinking 12 glasses of a water, maple syrup, lemon and cayenne drink per day, with no other food intake.
- Intermittent fasting: A diet in which you limit your food intake to 8 to 10 hours each day, and then fast for the remaining hours (i.e., eating only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.).
Your body detoxes naturally
Your body can do a lot of detoxing on its own, which is one reason why many experts say detoxes aren’t necessary. Your kidney removes toxins from your body in the form of urine. Your liver does essentially the same thing in your blood stream, and your intestines break down food and expel any leftover waste from your body.
So why detox if your body can already do that on its own? Some argue that when your body is filled with too many toxins, it throws you out of balance and therefore makes your body less equipped to remove toxins. Others laud the ability of periodic detoxing to give your digestion a boost or press “reset” if you’re slipping into unhealthy habits. Meanwhile, a growing group of experts is speaking out about the benefits of intermittent fasting on a cellular level.
The jury is still out on whether detoxing is necessary or even effective. But if you do choose to partake in a detox, opt for one that prioritizes whole, fresh foods—not ones that send your body into “starvation mode.”
Detoxing isn’t just for the body
Scientists may be mixed on the benefits of body detoxes. But one thing that research does confirm is the benefits of gratitude and positive thinking, not only on your mind but also your body.
Just as toxins can keep your body from performing at its best, toxic and negative thoughts have been shown to trigger a variety of physical and emotional issues. In a 2014 study published in the journal Stroke, people who showed more hostility and chronic stress had a higher risk of stroke than the friendlier, happier participants. Emotions also have an impact on processes like hormone release and metabolism. If you’ve ever been stressed out and felt your muscles tense up or your head get foggy, you’ve already experienced the impact of a toxic mindset.
When it comes to detox diets and cleanses, the science isn’t exactly definitive. If you’re looking to try a detox, pay attention to the signs your body gives you. If you’re feeling dizzy, fuzzy or devoid of energy, that’s a sign that you should rethink your detox diet.
Searching for a less drastic way to cleanse your body? Try filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of green tea and water, and get moving. These simple steps all help your body boost its natural detox process, minus the feelings of starvation or depravation.
Superfood Drinks For Detoxing
When it comes to detoxing, the fastest and most effective way to get the job done is through daily consumption of a superfood drink. Many of you have likely heard of these ultra-popular supplements, but for those of you who haven’t, here’s a quick debriefing…
Juicing was the most popular way to get your fruits and veggies in for quite some time because of the fact that juicing extracts the phytonutrients from the superfoods in order to produce maximum detoxifying benefits.
However, to make things even easier, supplement companies started creating superfood drink powders. Now, you don’t have to go shopping for the superfoods, you don’t have to buy a juicer, and most importantly, you don’t have to go through the process of juicing.
All you do is add a scoop of superfood powder to a glass of water (or whatever beverage you prefer), mix it, drink it, and just like that, you got all of your fruits and veggies in for the day. Superfood drinks are a super convenient way to get your daily serving of fruits, veggies, superfoods, phytonutrients, and more.
If you’re interested in trying one out, check out some of our superfood drink reviews here.