If you’ve been looking for ways to lose weight and improve your health, chances are, you’ve entertained the idea of a detox. Many companies offer detox plans and products that claim to help you lose weight, rid your body of toxins and chemicals, increase energy, or even prevent illness. But can these claims be trusted? How can you tell which detox diets or products will actually help, and which ones are just scams?
The idea of detoxing is a good one. Everyone should make an effort to keep harmful substances out of their bodies to achieve optimal health. But many people are understandably confused about what detoxing means and how to detox effectively.
There is no magic product, potion, or plan that will immediately rid your body of toxins. Products that claim to detox your body in a matter of one or three days should be regarded with skepticism. In fact, as you’ll see, an effective detox takes time and persistence, but is well worth the effort. Continue reading to learn about the proven ways you can detox your own body and get on the path to better health, starting today.
How to detox safely: Support your liver
No detox plan will work if you don’t involve your liver, which is the body’s most important organ for detoxing.
Day and night, your liver is hard at work. It is responsible for more than 500 functions that help keep your body healthy, and many of them are directly related to detoxing. Some of its important jobs include:
- Removing toxins from alcohol, pollution, and chemical exposure
- Metabolizing and breaking down medications
- Ushering unwanted substances out of the body through urine and stool
- Storing nutrients the body needs
- Releasing nutrients into the blood when needed
- Regulating blood sugar
- Breaking down fats and cholesterol
The first step in any effective detox plan is to respect and support your liver. And there are ways you can do that without special tools or tricks.
Harnessing your liver’s natural detox power
Your liver spends most of its time trying to clean out or remove toxins from the body, and there are plenty of things you can do to support it.
When you implement some healthy lifestyle changes, your liver will be better able to work to its full potential, and you’ll be detoxing your body in a healthy way. Here’s how to do it:
1. Cut back or eliminate added sugars. Eating foods with added sugar sets you up for more sugar cravings, poor quality sleep, and other issues that will make it difficult to stick to your health goals.
2. Reduce your intake of processed foods and instead focus on whole fruits, vegetables, and clean sources of protein. Simple, healthy foods like leafy greens and apples can help you detox — you don’t need to turn to exotic or expensive detox kits.
3. Eat healthy fats like omega-3s from fish and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and avocados. Cut back on saturated fats found in red meats, dairy, and processed foods. Many chemicals are attracted to saturated fat, which allows them to hang around in the body.
4. Choose organic foods when possible to cut back on exposure to pesticides, chemicals, and genetically modified foods.
5. Drink plenty of clean water daily. Being properly hydrated is absolutely essential to achieving better health, so make sure you’re drinking enough.
6. Cut out diet soda, as it’s loading your body with unhealthy additives.
7. Get moving. Exercise helps your body get rid of toxins naturally. Find an activity you like and aim to be active at least five times a week.
8. Avoid pollution when you can. Don’t exercise outdoors when pollution is high, and stay away from secondhand smoke. The American Lung Association lists a number of ways to reduce your exposure to pollutants.
9. Be smart about cleaning products. Our homes become filled with chemicals when we use them indoors and they have no way to escape. Use green certified cleaners in your home or clean with natural products like vinegar. Disinfectants aren’t usually needed in your home unless someone has been sick with a contagious illness.
10. Open windows whenever you can. To help rid your indoor air of pollution, open windows on nice days, rather than turning on the air conditioner.
11. Avoid chemicals in the kitchen. Nonstick pans contain chemicals that can get into your food; choose cast iron or stainless steel instead. Avoid any plastic food containers that may contain bisphenol-A (BPA), which builds up in the body. Use glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic for water bottles and food storage.
While these may not seem like a magic quick fix, they are the most reliable way to boost your health and keep your body’s natural detox systems running at their best. And though they can’t guarantee your body will be “fully cleansed” within days, you will start to feel better quickly, and may find that these changes get even easier to follow as time goes on and you get healthier and more energetic.
A detox “quick fix” doesn’t exist
Many people unknowingly create more work for their liver when they try extreme diets or unproven detox supplements and plans.
The liver spends much of its time trying to keep things balanced. An extreme diet or cleanse may only add to its burden. In fact, many of these restrictive or extreme detox plans will deprive your body and liver of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs. In fact, some extreme detox plans will cause electrolyte imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, a breakdown of muscle, and even more buildup of toxins — exactly the opposite of what we want!
Beware of detox plans that promise instant results or have mystery ingredients you’ve never heard of.
This is not to say that practices such as intermittent fasting are ineffective or should be avoided. In fact, we support the practice of allowing the digestive system to rest so that the body can devote more energy to cellular repair and the removal of toxins. We especially like the ProLon 5-day fasting mimicking diet, which allows the body to enter into a fasting state while providing all the essential nutrients the body needs to remain healthy. But these types of diets should be implemented safely and with a doctor’s approval, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
Start your detox today
When people ask whether they should detox, I typically will tell them yes — but not in the way they are thinking. A detox shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix. Detoxing properly requires a commitment to do what’s best for your body over the long haul. Short-term focused periods of fasting — such as those offered by ProLon — can help, but do not replace the need for a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Want to live a healthier life? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers offers customized programs to help you lose weight and feel your best. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!