Do You Really Need To Detox?
Health & Wellbeing
Three wellness experts offer their advice: Ben Warren, a leading clinical nutritionist and founder of scientific wellness company BePure; Buffy Ellen, a qualified naturopath, nutritionist and medical herbalist and founder of Be Good cooking school; and Nellie Pigot, a leading holistic nutritionist and qualified naturopath. DETOX 101 Detoxification is the body’s natural process of removing toxins, pollutants, and other harmful substances from the bloodstream and tissues through our liver. We can also detox through our skin, saliva and bowel motions. The kidneys, lungs, blood and lymphatic system also act as elimination channels. The main point to note here, is our body naturally detoxes. The experts strongly believe the most healthy, sustainable way to frame detoxing is to build it into your lifestyle in the form of a balanced diet by minimising the toxins and maximising the nutrients our body needs to support natural detoxification every day. Lifestyle factors including eating unhealthy foods, too much alcohol or caffeine consumption, lack of sleep, stress and exposure to foreign chemicals, can manifest as fatigue, weight gain, poor skin and hormonal imbalances. BEFORE YOU BEGIN DO: • Seek professional assistance for the first few times you practice a detox. • Plan your detox for a time when you can let your body rest to best process the toxins you’re eliminating. • Ease into your detox for a few days beforehand by reducing your intake of caffeine, alcohol and processed foods to lessen withdrawal effects. • Reduce your exposure to toxins by switching conventional food to organic. DON’T: It’s not a good idea to detox if: • You have a more stressful than usual week (e.g. important work deadlines). • You’re anticipating sleepless nights. • You’re not happy to avoid strenuous exercise for the duration of the detox. • You are underweight. • You have blood sugar imbalances. • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. DOWNSIDES Some people may experience mild to moderate headaches, fatigue, cravings, nausea or diarrhoea. For this reason, detoxes longer than a couple of days should be supervised by a health practitioner. AT-HOME DETOX TIPS Prioritise plants Eating light meals of mostly vegetables is a simple way to detoxify and help alkalise the body too. The liver and gallbladder love bitter greens for proper elimination — rocket, minna, watercress, endive and radicchio. Drink more water Proper hydration is essential for detoxification. A simple calculation to find out how many litres of water to consume daily is: 0.033L x [body weight in kilograms]. For example, a 60kg person should consume 0.033L x 60 = 1.98L to clear out toxins. Ditch caffeine, alcohol and processed foods Take a break from foods that put pressure on your liver: meat, caffeine, dairy, alcohol, sugar and highly processed foods contain trans fats and other artificial substances the body can’t recognise. Try intermittent fasting Fasting (time-restricted eating) involves not consuming any calories for a period of time to allow the body’s detoxification system to catch up — meaning it’s not constantly in a state of digestion. Start by fasting for 12 hours per day, then progress to a 14- or 16-hour fast when ready. Say yes to supplements* Herbs like globe artichoke, milk thistle, dandelion, fennel, peppermint, calendula, green tea, liquorice, turmeric, ginger, burdock and aloe vera are favoured by naturopaths to stimulate bowel function so that elimination is optimum. As far as supplements go, a high-quality multivitamin is a good place to start and sulforaphane for supporting the second phase of detoxification in the liver, which can be found in BePure EstroClear and BePure One. THE DURATION With professional guidance, stick with a health reset for seven to 14 days. This amount of time best prepares us to get through the Herxheimer reaction — the time it takes for the dying off of harmful bacteria which can result in symptoms including headache, joint and muscle pain. After that initial period, we start feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. FRIEND OR FAD: Juice Cleanses Juice cleanses are not always the holy grail of vitality they appear to be, but when adhered to for a short time — one day — a juice fast can give the digestive system and immune system a much-needed break. Juice low-sugar fruits like watermelon, kiwifruit and lemon alongside vegetables to avoid consuming too many simple sugars. If you’re feeling light-headed at all throughout the day, incorporate a light salad or raw vegetables to keep blood sugar levels stable. * Supplements, tonics and tinctures should always be taken under the guidance of your health practitioner. If you have a history of disordered eating this may not be the right approach for you. Source: NZ Herald online - story originally published in Viva Magazine – Vol. 5.