How To Detox Your Body

Before looking at how to detox your body, we should first define our terms. Detoxification in this context refers to any method that aims to cleanse the body of accumulated debris and toxic material, whether in the cells, organs or systems.

It's also important to acknowledge the opposing views on this issue:

  • One group of experts believes there's no need to detox your body because it basically performs this function each night during sleep. To take any additional measures is therefore redundant.

  • A second group believes that, because of the excess load of toxins most of us have to deal with from both internal and external sources, our bodies need to be actively cleansed on a regular basis. There is a range of programs you can undertake to do this.
Both groups present good arguments for their points of view so you'll need to decide which make the most sense to you. If you agree that the body is self-cleansing, you can skip the rest of this page. But if you want to learn more about detoxification methods, this brief overview will get you started.

Why Detox Your Body?

The pro detox nutritionists and health experts believe that because of the level of toxins in our soil, the pollution in the air, and the impaired ability of an unhealthy body to discharge toxins created during metabolic processes, it's necessary to intervene and deliberately detox your body.

The concept of detoxification is not new – it's been used in a number of cultures throughout history. Fasting was a popular ritual for both physical and spiritual cleansing, but it's only one of many approaches to purifying the body.

How To Detox Your Body

Here are a few of the most popular approaches to detoxification:

1. Water Detox
Some experts advocate increasing your water consumption to help flush out toxins through your kidneys. The amount of water varies but a moderate figure would be 1-2 litres (2-4 US pints) a day. Usually this is accompanied by a change in diet to less toxic foods and beverages.

The water, of course, should be as clean as possible, preferably spring or distilled.

2. Basic Detox Diets
This approach is based on the claim that switching your diet to a cleaner version of what you're now eating is sufficient to detox your body. For example, you replace all over-processed foods with their more wholesome equivalents, substituting wholewheat bread for white bread and replacing sweet snacks with fruit or nuts.

The idea here is to cleanse your body slowly over time, with an emphasis on safety and moderation. There are more stringent versions of this approach that restrict the types of foods you can eat and add a number of supplements to the program. Lawrence Armstrong's Detox Diet is one example of this approach.

3. Mono Detox Diets
Another way to detox your body is by going on a mono diet, that is, eating only one kind of food (usually fruit) for a specific period of time. For example, the apple detox is 3 days of eating nothing but raw green apples, along with drinking clean water. The watermelon detox consists of 4 days of eating nothing but watermelon. The idea behind this approach is that you relieve your body of the necessity of digesting a variety of different foodstuffs, so that it can refocus its energies on the detoxification process.

The danger in this approach is the same as with fasting – people who are very unhealthy can release too many toxins into the bloodstream at once, bringing on a state of autointoxication.

5. Fruit and Vegetable Detox Diets
This is a variation on the mono diet, but in this case, you eat nothing but fruits and vegetables – either raw or cooked – for approximately a week.

6. Fasting Detox Programs

We've included some resources in this section as you may want to do further research before undertaking any of these programs.

A. The Water Fast

The most stringent fasting program consists of drinking nothing but pure water.

Legendary nutritionist Paul Bragg was an advocate of water fasting, and suggested doing quarterly fasts of 10 days, in other words fasting 4 times per year. Bragg also suggested fasting one day a week, preferably on a Sunday, drinking distilled water all day and eating one light meal at night.

Dr Bragg's Book, The Miracle of Fasting, outlines his complete program.

B. The Lemonade Fast

In his 1976 book, The Master Cleanser, Stanley Burroughs popularized a lemonade detox program consisting of water flavored with fresh lime or lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. This was consumed every 2 hours for 10 days.

Burroughs' fast can be extended up to 40 days but we don't recommend this without professional supervision.

The ingredients for The Master Cleanser can now be purchased online in a kit.

There are several kits available and all contain the ingredients for a full 10-day program.

C. The Fruit Juice Fast

Biochemist Paavo Airola popularized the fruit juice fast in the 1970s and 1980s.

It's far less tedious than drinking nothing but water, and Airola claimed that the enzymes in the freshly squeezed juices helped dissolve toxins and eliminate them more efficiently.

Juice fasting is still popular today, and Steve Meyerowitz's book on Juice Fasting and Detoxification offers a more recent look at the subject.

If you do decide to undertake a fast, regardless of the type, you'll need to keep two things in mind:
1. How you break a fast can be as important as the fast itself. You'll need to reintroduce your body to solid food in a certain sequence, a little at a time. That's why you need to follow a specific program and not design a fast for yourself.

2. There are very real dangers in fasting, especially if you are unhealthy. For this reason you should consult a health professional and preferably take your fast under their supervision.

7. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera juice has been available for decades as a cleansing agent. It can be used alone or as part of a detox program.

The best tasting Aloe Vera juice we've tried is the one distributed by Herbalife.

8. Enemas and Colonics

Enemas and colonics are often used in conjunction with detox diets and fasting to speed up the process of elimination.

Colonics are available from many different kinds of health providers, including chiropractors and naturopaths or nutritionists. Usually you sign up for a series of 10 colonics. The idea is to remove caked toxic debris from the intestinal walls to allow better absorption of nutrients and halt the absorption of toxic substances from the decaying matter.

Oxygen is sometime added to the water used in colonics, and coffee enemas are also offered in some facilities.

Some experts believe that fasting and drinking copious amounts of liquids will soften and remove this intestinal debris, thereby eliminating the need for interventions like enemas and colonics.

Is Detox For You?

If your body is showing signs of deterioration and you don't feel as good as you used to, then detoxification may be an area worth exploring. What if you really could reclaim some of your previous sense of well being?

Whether or not you choose to detox your body using any of these methods, it's always useful to be informed about what's available. A professionally supervised detox program may be just what you need to restore your health and vitality.

> > Health Essentials #5: Exercise

It's important that you consult with a qualified health professional before embarking on any new dietary or exercise regimen.

Gathering information online is fine for research purposes, but you need a real live professional to monitor your progress if you attempt to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Unless you're a health professional yourself, you aren't equipped to objectively observe your body's responses to a new diet or exercise program. So whatever your chosen course of action, please be sure you enlist the support of a qualified professional.

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