Detoxification, or detox, is the process of removing toxic substances from the body. Diets that claim to effect a full detox in a matter of days have been around for decades, and several different methods exist. While not scientifically proven to remove any toxins from the human body, many people claim feeling more focused and energetic during and after detox diets, most likely because of avoiding processed foods.
Note: This article does not contain information on how to detoxify someone undergoing treatment for alcoholism or substance abuse. Detoxing from alcohol or other hard substances, particularly benzodiazepines, should always be conducted under the supervision of a medical professional.
Part One: Short-Term Detoxes
1.1 Do a fruit detox.
Fruit detoxes are a great way to fast without starving yourself. Among other health benefits, getting enough fruit can increase your energy levels, help manage your weight, and even reduce the likelihood of stroke. You can either detox by eating a variety of different fruits, or by only eating one kind of fruit. For best results, choose a fruit that you enjoy eating so that you don't feel like you're suffering.
Do not exceed 7 days in a row of a fruit-only diet.
Eat citrus fruits. These fruits have the highest detoxifying power, and include oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. You can eat them on their own or combine them with other fruits. Again, do not exceed 7 days in a row of a fruit-only diet.
o Try a grape detox. Grapes contain resveratrol, which can protect against cancer and diabetes, and potentially prevent blood clots. They are also a great source of potassium and Vitamin C. Eat nothing but grapes (whichever kind you like) for 3-5 days.
2. 2 Do a liquid fast.
Consume nothing but liquids (water, tea, fruit juice, vegetable juice, and/or protein shakes) for 2-3 days. Liquid diets can help jump-start weight loss by restricting caloric intake, and are believed to cleanse your body of certain toxins, though there is no solid research to back up this claim.
o Be sure to include fruit and/or vegetable juices in your liquid fast to ensure that your body is getting the proper nourishment.
o If your goal is to lose weight, then you will have to change your eating habits once the liquid fast is over, or you will simply gain all the weight back.
3.3 Eat only fruits and vegetables for 7 days.
Fruits and vegetables contain the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Be sure to eat a diverse combination of produce to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients.
Use the following guide to determine what to eat during your fast:
o Get fiber from kidney beans, black beans, apples,soybeans, blueberries, and artichokes.
o Get potassium from carrots, bananas, lima beans, white potatoes, cooked greens, and sweet potatoes.
o Get Vitamin C from kiwis, strawberries, kale, cauliflower, tomatoes, oranges, Brussels sprouts, mangoes, and bell peppers.
o Get folate from cooked spinach, melons, asparagus, oranges, and black eyed peas.
o Get good fats from avocado, olives, and coconut.
Part Two: Long-Term Detox Practices
1.1 Eat organically grown produce and meat.
Conventional produce is grown with chemical fertilizers and synthetic insecticides, while organic produce is grown with natural fertilizers and pesticides.Organic meats have far fewer harmful antibiotics, growth hormones, and medications that are fed to animals on conventional farms.
o Check labels to determine whether or not a food is organic. Organic foods should have a green USDA Certified Organic Seal.
2.2 Drink enough water.
Getting enough water is essential to your health. Among its other health benefits, water helps maintain your body's fluid levels, which helps your kidneys flush out the body's main toxin, blood urea nitrogen.
o Drink lemon water.
Add lemon, orange, or lime juice to your water throughout the day. These fruits contain citric acid, which helps your body cut down fat.Plus, adding flavor to your water can make it a lot easier to get those 8 daily cups in! Brush your teeth in between meals to prevent acid erosion from the lemons.
3.3 Cut out alcohol.
Research has suggested that alcohol may be linked with the onset of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer in women. Though you don't have to cut it out entirely, stick to one glass of wine or beer a night, at most.
4.4 Avoid added sugars.
Consuming excess sugar on a regular basis can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, putting you at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers in the long-run.Read all nutrition labels and beware of added sugars in bread, salad dressings, and sauces.
5.5 Limit your exposure to harmful toxins in the air.
These include carbon monoxide and asbestos, both of which may be found in homes.
o Carbon monoxide is a potentially fatal odorless chemical that is produced from furnaces, grills, and car engines. Side-effects include headaches, dizziness, and lethargy. Consider getting a carbon monoxide detector in your home, and keep your home properly ventilated.
o Homes and buildings should be properly tested for asbestos.
Many religions and philosophies advocate fasting as a way of refocusing the mind and developing a sense of peace. While you're detoxifying your body, try to rid yourself of grudges, anger, sadness and other negative feelings. Use the time you would usually spend eating or preparing food to think about your goals and aspirations. Distill your thoughts in a journal.
7.7 Don't overdo it:
Above all, find a balanced, achievable program that combines daily exercise and changes to a healthy diet, with regular, qualified supervision. Remember you are trying to set the stage for healthy habits - not further stress your body with rapid, extreme and unsustainable change. Try to avoid binging as you come off of detoxing.
• Detox with a friend. You can support each other through rough patches and applaud successes, as well as sharing recipes and tips.
• Try to find time for light exercise. Yoga, Pilates, swimming or brisk walking is ideal. Don't attempt strenuous activities such as running or weight training while fasting.
• Eat slowly. During a detox, you can stretch out your meals by chewing thoroughly and without hurry. Slow eating also aids digestion.
• Treat yourself to a massage. Book time with a professional, or use an exfoliating mitt to work on your own skin.
• Get some rest. You might find that detoxing makes you feel more energetic, or that it increases your lethargy. Either way, it's important to get sufficient sleep while you're fasting. Make sure you clock at least 8 hours a night, with afternoon naps added if necessary.
• Don't fast to the point of passing out. If you faint or feel strongly that you will, your diet has gone too far. Immediately eat a piece of bread or a cookie to improve your blood sugar, and try to consume an electrolyte-rich sports drink. Lie or sit down, and put your head between your knees if possible. Do not resume the diet.
• Don't do a liquid fast for more than 3 days in a row.
• Some detoxes may cause lethargy in the first day or two, so give yourself time to relax and avoid strenuous activity.
• Even if you feel great on your fast, don't continue detoxing for more than 10 to 14 days at most. Long-term fasting or starvation can do irreversible damage to your metabolism.
• Most medical professionals believe that the liver and kidneys provide adequate detoxification without special diets. Be aware that you might not notice a large difference in your health.
• Don't just follow any detox diet you find online. Many of these are unsafe under any circumstances. Always run your plan past your general practitioner or a licensed nutritionist