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What is Detoxification?

In today’s hectic life detoxification has become a buzzword. It's touted as the best way to stay healthy. From using herbal products to intermittent fasting, there are a lot of home remedies that are said to accelerate detox and help the body feel rejuvenated. But what does detoxification mean? Detoxification is a process of removing all accumulated toxins from the body. These toxins build up inside the body due to unhealthy food, stress, pollution and other lifestyle issues. Though detox is a natural process that takes place from time to time to cleanse your liver, kidney and intestines of harmful toxins that cause diseases and make us sick. Body detox is crucial to maintain proper health and fitness.

Antioxidants prevent the free radicals inside the body from causing oxidative stress, and hence boost detoxification. Foods rich in fibre and antioxidants supplement the process of detox. Flushing out toxins and harmful remnants is essential for good health and a fit body. Those who smoke or consume liquor need to be especially cautious about detoxification and eradicating toxins from the body through a mix of healthy diet, plenty of water and regular exercise.

How Does Detoxification Work?

Flushing out toxins and other waste matter via intestines, skin, kidney, lungs, liver etc. is the body's natural mechanism. However, it gets hampered due to excess accumulation of processed foods, chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals, which are collectively referred to as toxins. The presence of these substances in the body causes discomfort and leads to diseases. While substances such as diuretics, laxatives, vitamin supplements and other foodstuff rich in antioxidants have detox properties, they can only boost the natural process and are no alternative to it.

Detoxification is a fully natural process that the body undergoes even without any supplements or food aids. Healthy, nutritious diet, sound sleep, regular exercise and cutting down on smoking and consumption of liquor, are some of the best ways to ensure that the body's natural detoxification system remains robust and resilient.

How Do You Know if You Need to Do a Body Detox?

When the body is unhealthy or there’s an accumulation of harmful substances impeding smooth functioning, the body has its own warning signs in the form of various physical and mental symptoms. If you have any of the following, it means that you need body detox.

  • Fatigue

  • Routine constipation and indigestion

  • Skin blemishes

  • Allergies

  • Weak Immune System

  • Acidity

  • Face bloating

  • Difficulty in concentration

  • Mood Swings

  • Depressed and lacking energy

  • Irritable temperament

  • Fall sick often

Common Misconceptions About Detoxing

Just like a lot of other health therapies or superfoods, there are prevalent myths about detoxing that need to be busted. Detoxification is only effective when it’s done right and in order to reap optimum benefit of it, it’s essential to dispel widespread misconceptions that gain traction as verifiable truths.

These are the common misconceptions associated with detox:

  • Cut the Flab with Detox

Since detoxification involves limiting alcohol, sugar, processed food and consuming fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy food, it's a common presumption that following a detox diet can help burn fat. However, this is further from the truth. Detox cleanses internal organs and helps regulate bowel movements, but it has no effect on body fat.

  • Beverages are the Best Detox

It's assumed that beverages such as energy drinks or any other nutrient and mineral fortified liquid is a natural detox as it will cleanse the organs and maintain the water level in the body. This is not at all so. Before using any artificial product as a body detox, it's best to first consult a doctor.

  • Laxatives Detox the Body Thoroughly

Laxatives help relieve constipation and smoothe the bowel movement, however, they don't remove other toxins from the intestines.

  • Home-brews are Reliable Detox

It's another pernicious myth that fermented beverages prepared at home are a reliable detox. Fermentation of fruits and vegetables has the risk of contamination. If you are allergic or suffer from some ailments, these recipes can deteriorate your health further instead of improving it.

Potential Benefits of Detox

  • Hydration: Since detox involves drinking plenty of water, the body gets replenished and water aids excretion of toxins.

  • Anti-oxidants: Some natural detox diets promote liver function and increase glutathione, a powerful antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants are crucial for bodily rejuvenation, cellular processes and a healthy skin.

  • Fibre-rich Diet: Detox involves consuming green vegetables and fresh fruits, which not only supplies the body with essential vitamins, mineral and micro-nutrients, but also provides ample fibre which is essential for gut health and proper digestion.

  • Weight Management: Detoxification techniques such as intermittent fasting and shunning process foods help in maintaining body weight.

Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body

These are the ways to rejuvenate your body, feel energetic and stay fit:

  • Quit Smoking: Smoking puts undue burden on bodily organs and can even cause inflammation. It also increases the risk for a lot of respiratory tract diseases and cancers. Quit smoking and see the difference, if you want to feel rejuvenated.

  • Limit Drinking: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, the body's largest internal organ responsible for nutrient extraction and natural detox. Excess alcohol intake can also lead to a lot of other mental and physical disorders. Cut down your booze if you want to experience healthy living. Reducing liquor is a natural liver detox.

  • Eat Healthy Diet: Avoid sugars, aerated drinks, processed foods and include more fresh fruits, vegetables and antioxidant rich foods in your daily diet.

  • Adequate Sleep: If you are sleep deprived, not only will you feel fatigued and drowsy, but also disinclined to work. Sleep is essential for metabolic activities, cell repair as well as for body detox.

  • Fresh Air: Avoid going to highly polluted localities. If you live in proximity to a pollution emitting source, then go for an indoor air purifier. Also ensure that your house is properly ventilated and there's no dust.

Tips to Naturally Detox Your Body

  • Eat Probiotic Food: Foods such as yogurt, cereals, oats, artichoke, banana, asparagus, tomato and garlic are rich in probiotic fibre that boosts immunity as well as body detox. Probiotic fibre feeds good bacteria in the gut that aid digestion and maintain gut health.

  • Reduce Salt Intake: Eating too much salt can cause water retention in the liver and kidneys that causes bloating and interferes with the detoxification process. Kidney detox must include diuretics.

  • Exercise Regularly: Daily work-out boosts health, staves off diseases and also augments the body's detox capability.

  • Eat sulfur-rich Food: Vegetables such as onion and garlic are rich in sulfur and help in excretion of heavy metals such as cadmium from the body.

  • Add Condiments like Cilantro: Cilantro is another spice that aids in flushing out metal toxins from the body. It’s not only a delicious flavouring but plays a vital role in body detox.

  • Glutathione-rich Food: Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that boosts detox. It occurs naturally in eggs, broccoli and garlic.

Potential Risks of Detoxification

Doing detoxification wrong or using harmful substances can be lethal. If overdone, these are potential risks of detox:

  • Electrolyte Imbalance: It may arise by excess consumption of drinking detox beverages such as herbal teas, juices etc.

  • Dehydration: Overusing laxatives leads to fluid loss from the body that can worsen dehydration.

  • Kidney Issues: Consuming certain beverages with high oxalate content increases the risk of kidney malfunction.

  • Nutrient Deficiency: By focusing on just fibres and beverages during detox can lead to a shortage of essential proteins, fats and carbohydrates that the body requires for normal functioning.

In the Nutshell

Detoxification is a natural process that entails removal of all impurities and toxins. Body detox is vital for fitness as well as mental health and staying alert and energetic. Before following any detox therapy that includes an artificial product it's safe to consult a doctor. Eating a healthy diet, regular work-out, adhering to a schedule, proper sleep and natural liver detox by cutting down on liquor, are the best ways to flush toxins from the body. Detox cleanse aids proper functioning of organs and helps rejuvenate the body. There’s no alternative to good health and no short-cut to maintain it. If you feel tense, stressed, weak or encounter mood swings often, perhaps it’s time to reorient your schedule and go for a detox cleanse. Detox your body and feel the difference. While you are at it, be informed that despite best practices and a healthy lifestyle, medical emergencies can arrive as uninvited guests. Hence, it is best to remain prepared with the right financial coverage, such as the one offered by health insurance plans.

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