Debunking detox diets

After spending the past month enjoying one-too-many biscuits, chocolates, fruit mince pies or ham, starting a detox diet might seem like the perfect start to the year.

Clear juice, pills, teabags and shakes are just a few of the solutions that promise a new, detoxified body. But what exactly is ‘detoxing’ and does it actually work?

It is a common health myth that our bodies need detoxifying, to achieve everything from dramatic weight loss, to better quality of sleep, or soaring energy levels.

This simply isn’t true.

More often than not, detox diets are nothing but a plan that may involve things like fasting for a short period of time, just eating fruits and vegetables, cutting out foods like dairy, gluten, and grains or taking pills that can help ‘flush the toxins’ from our body.

But we need to remember that eliminating major nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats from our diet can really impede our bodies from functioning optimally.

We often forget that our bodies are remarkable. They are designed to clean themselves from the inside, by removing unwanted substances such as alcohol, medication, bacteria and other bi-products of our digestion through our kidneys, liver, lungs and skin.

Fasting or using fad detox products doesn’t support this natural detox pathway that your body is already doing for you.

If you would like a health boost after a particularly heavy Christmas and are motivated to start 2019 on the right foot, you can hit the refresh button in a way that sets you up to feel way better in the long-term by following these simple tips.

1. Eat a colourful diet 

A diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains with minimal processed foods, additives or other artificial substances. These foods are full of nutrients such as phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre that not only give your body the nutrients it needs, they also help your body’s natural detox pathway to function optimally.

2. Focus on fibre

A balanced diet includes whole, plant-based foods, which can be high in soluble and insoluble fibre. They can help lower cholesterol, improve glucose management and maintain regular and healthy bowel function. Good sources of fibre include lentils and legumes, fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, nuts and seeds.

3. Keep yourself hydrated

Did you know 60 percent of our body is water? Our body uses water in all its cells, organs and tissues to help maintain function. Fluids also help flush out our system, aid digestion, and maintain energy and focus. Try to aim for at least eight glasses of water every day.

4. Get moving

Breaking a sweat naturally eliminates impurities through our skin. Exercise stimulates blood circulation, which moves fluid through our liver and kidneys for filtration. Aerobic exercise, which gets your heart pumping and breathing going, is a great start. To begin, aim for at least 30 minutes a few times a week. This can include running, swimming, dancing, walking, yoga, kickboxing and bicycling. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after your exercise routine, as it will help the body detox more efficiently.

Ultimately any short-term detox-style plan will offer no ongoing health benefits. Eating well, drinking enough fluids, and getting plenty of sleep is the best healthy lifestyle program. Let the ‘detoxing’ of the body take care of itself.

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