The Truth About … Detox
‘Detox’ is a word we see a whole lot in the Spring. It appears to be one of these sensationalist headlines – usually accompanied by strange diets and restrictions. Do we should do it, and how can it help anyway? This article separates the help from the hype…
Detoxification is something which happens throughout the body. Often overlooked, our skin is actually the largest organ of detoxification. When we shed dead skin cells, we are shedding toxins also. The organ that gets the greatest press, however, is the liver. A bit like an airport departure lounge, the liver is a very busy place and must get the visitors through in a speedy and efficient way. It has three different processes (think baggage-drop, check-in, and death) and six alternative pathways to get you there. It’s not surprising that sometimes this doesn’t work too well. If the relative speed of the procedures is out of step, you could have too many toxic compounds hanging around causing havoc until the next stage is prepared to process them, or you could realize that a number of the pathways do not work because of nutrient deficiencies (think airport staff shortages!). If the skin isn’t too great at cleansing, then that means more load on the liver, so more traffic to the procedure. The kidneys remove some toxins and get rid of them in urine, but if you do not drink sufficient water to encourage that, those toxins have nowhere to go and keep cycling around the body.
So Detox’s mean?….yes, detox is completely necessary and we are all doing it all the time, just more or less efficiently. It could be useful to think detox twice or three times a year, almost like a spring clean. We are what we eat, so for sure, certain foods will interfere with detoxification and particular foods will help. Any good detox procedure will, therefore, concentrate on these great foods and be sure the base input is what is needed.
Should you fast or take supplements? The answer is that it depends. Fasting gives the digestive system a break from the continual onslaught of meals and enables it to fix itself, and nutritional supplements give a concentrated increase that kick-starts the body, while this is with cleansing or building up reserves. Putting all these steps together makes up a good detox programme, but with our airport analogy, it’s no good creating a ‘fast-track’ though baggage-drop if nothing else is enhanced. Just fasting or juicing or supplementing alone will not work. Some people with particular health concerns may feel worse after trying to detox without assistance, so it’s always best to have the advice of a qualified nutritional therapist to bring all the elements together in a way that makes sense for you.