What is a detox?

Published April 3, 2014

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“Detox” is short for detoxification. It’s a process our bodies perform to eliminate toxins that come into our bodies from the environment. When someone refers to “a detox” it’ll usually be a diet or program that supports the function of the organs that are involved in detoxification processes such as the digestive system, liver, kidneys and skin. It’ll also usually involve curbing consumption of daily “toxins” such as alcohol and caffeine, and refuelling the body with healthy nutrients.

How do I do a detox?

While our bodies can cope with quite a lot of daily exposure to pesticides, food additives and other toxins, a little TLC now and then may be beneficial. There are many detox programs available in shops and via the internet but it’s just as easy to create your own. You could dedicate a certain amount of time to detoxing such as 7‐14 days and/or incorporate long‐term detox practices. A natural balanced approach to detoxing could involve:

  • Lightening up your toxic load – Eliminate or at least moderate your intake of alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and saturated fats. Try a coffee substitute such as dandelion root. In Western and Chinese herbal medicine Dandelion root is used as a liver tonic.
  • Focusing on “clean” foods – Consume foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, such as fresh fruits and vegetables especially green leafy veg, whole grains, fish, hormone‐free poultry, legumes and raw nuts and seeds, preferably organically grown.
  • Drinking 8‐10 glasses of water a day – Ideally filtered. Also include herbal teas and green juices.
  • Increasing fiber – Fiber helps improve waste elimination through the digestive tract and helps keep our bowels healthy.
  • Dry skin brushing – Use a loofah prior to your daily shower to remove dead skin cells, improve circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage. Also try brushing your tongue, a detoxifying practise in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
  • Considering supportive supplements – Supplements that support digestive and liver health may also assist detoxification processes. Look for ingredients such as milk thistle, dandelion root, globe artichoke and schisandra.

*Detoxing is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women or children. Extreme detox programs should be performed under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

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