A detox diet is aimed at cleaning the body from exogenous toxins accumulated as a result of our contemporary lifestyle which is inundated by a regular consumption of junk food, sugary beverages, psychological stress, drugs and environmental pollution.
A detox diet can help improve the general state of your health. In addition, people who go on a detox diet experience weight loss as a by-product due to the very small amount of energy they get by food during this time.
There are various types of detoxification diets and each has its own unique set of health benefits. These kinds of diets fall outside the ambit of conventional medicine and can be loosely categorised under ‘alternative medicine’.
In this article, we will attempt to take a look at some of the common characteristics of such diets.
Principles & mechanisms of the detox diet
The detox diet is based on the application of some complementary principles:
Change your lifestyle: Incorporate detox foods in your daily diet, replacing unhealthy food choices. The detox foods include those rich in water, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in general.
By unhealthy food choices, we mean all foods that contain additives, bad fats, cholesterol, pollutants, drugs, etc. Examples of such foods include: fast-food (fried chips, burgers, hot dogs, etc.), snacks and other packaged foods, food items with added fats, salty foods, sugary foods, coffee, alcohol etc.
Changing your eating habits is not enough and you must change your lifestyle by increasing physical activity, eliminating habits like smoking and excessive drinking, reducing exposure to environmental pollution and proper management of psychological stress.
Reduce the use of drugs: Try to take care of common place ailments by using parallel detox treatments. For example, “the aqua detox – foot detox”, is a very famous one. It is a kind of electric foot bath which facilitates detoxification of the body by means of ion exchange – chemical skin.
Other detox techniques that help with medical conditions include: colon cleansing (enemas), chelating therapy, removal of dental fillings etc.
For stress management, you can begin mental stabilization exercises such as “detox Yoga” or meditation.
The hypothetical physiological mechanisms underlying any detox diet are not always well defined. Instead, these diets contain an amalgamation of various strategies that aim to interrupt the accumulation of toxins in the body and promote their active disposal.
They stop the saturated mucus accumulation of toxins in various body structures, including the liver, kidneys, digestive tract, respiratory tract, blood and skin.
According to well-researched detox diet books, toxins are all “harmful” molecules in the body including those that cause psycho-physical discomfort, waste of excess protein (amino and urea groups), refined carbohydrates (white flour and sugar), catabolic muscle fatigue (lactic acid), homocysteine, food additives, salt, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics , heavy metals (lead and mercury) and so on.
The toxins are largely responsible for the deterioration of our health, both mental and physical, the weakening of our immune system, the increased incidences of infectious and neoplastic diseases etc.
On the contrary, raw vegetables facilitate the detoxification of the body at the expense of accumulated toxins. This leads to an overall improvement in our immune system and an increase in our physical and mental prowess.
Sometimes, the detoxification diet also involves the cyclization of phases and predetermined periods; for example, there can be fasting periods, selective exclusion of certain food etc.
Conclusion: detox diets are good to rejuvenate your body & mind
Detox diets have been in existence long before a formal name was coined for them and people practiced detoxification hundreds of years ago as well. However, they have become relevant today like never before thanks to our jet-set lifestyles. Never before have we been exposed to the kind of unhealthy, artificial food we regularly eat, or the huge amounts of stress we are accustomed to carrying, without even realising it.
A detox exercise can help us re-energise ourselves and works at both a physical as well as a psychological level, making it extremely holistic. Its results have been remarkable and there are certain studies that have been done that found that it can even be a helping force for patients recovering after chemotherapy treatment.