The word detoxification has come to include many health procedures, habits, diets, and so is difficult to define exactly. Furthermore, scientists, nutritionists, doctors, and other health professionals do not agree completely on the definition. Very roughly, detoxification means any of the myriad actions people undertake to rid the body of toxic or dangerous substances. Some of the more extreme measures include liquid-only diets to get rid of food toxins, chelation therapy to rid the body of heavy metals, and colonics to flush toxins from the intestines using enemas. We asked our resident expert Emily Murdoch, a registered dietician and licensed nutritional consultant, for her definition and she said that there are much simpler methods people should try to bring their bodies into a healthier equilibrium.
First, increase detoxification by increasing the amount of dietary fiber in the diet to bulk up the stool and make sure that passage through the intestines is made as efficient as possible. Low fiber volume is one reason for constipation and hard, painful stools. Fiber is found in foods with high bran content, essentially grains which do not have the outer hull removed and processed. Whole wheat, or raw bran, are both good sources of fiber. But fiber is not the only carbohydrate that bulks up stools. Any undigestible carbohydrate, such as sorbitol, will do the trick. Sorbitol is found in prunes, raspberries, and pears, all of which do a great job of increasing water volume in the intestine.
Second, increase water intake to 8 cups a day. This simple trick makes sure that the body is fully hydrated. Skin with sufficient hydration has better tone and elasticity. Water is essential for many of the chemical reactions in the body and providing support for cells. Water is also part of the digestion process and works in concert with fiber to bulk up stool, which in turn massively increases detoxification by allowing them to pass our quickly. Don’t stop at water. Try to take in other sources such as fruits and vegetables. These will add to the liquid content of your diet and your body.
Third, increase intake of dark colored fruits such as berries and plums. These fruits have high anti-oxidants which mop up the stray toxic, reactive molecules in the body. When the mitochondria produces energy in the cell, one of the byproducts is a lot of very reactive oxygen species that attack DNA. This is one of the major mechanisms scientists think the body ages, by oxidants destroying DNA, and support structures inside the cell. Taking anti-oxidants increases the detox power of your food and fights damaging toxic effects of oxidants leading to better overall health. But don’t forget to take in other essential nutrients such as from probiotic yogurts and healthy proteins, Emily Murdoch has some great tips for a well-rounded detox diet at her detox tips page.
Fourth, learn to breathe correctly. We only breathe deeply when we exert ourselves during physical activity, such as moving heavy items or when exercising. But why not learn to breathe correctly all the time? This is the principle whereby top athletes learn to live their lives, with deep, full breaths throughout the day. The oxygen will infuse the tiny alveoli in the lungs, and invigorate all the cells in the brain which are oxygen-hungry and energy-consuming. Having more oxygen means more energy which
These simple, low-impact detox tips will help you on your way to a healthier life quickly because they are accessible, cheap and make a big impact ultimately. There’s no need to resort to more complicated methods such as drinking anti-chelation concoctions which have more uncertain benefits. Check out other sources of great simple plans such as this one from about.com: http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/dietarytherapy/a/Detox_Diet_Plan.htm. Simple detox plans for special holidays of the year are also available such as the New Year’s detox plan here: http://greatist.com/health/new-year-detox-recipes.
(Photo Credit: Jeremy Chefas / Creative Commons)