The Real Deal About a Detox Diet

Eating Whole Foods: The Real Detox Diet

DetoxBefore you spend an exorbitant amount of money on the next detox craze, read this article first.

Detox diets are becoming all the rage. From consuming nothing but juice to, well, consuming nothing at all, people are in a hurry to cleanse their bodies of the many toxins encountered on a daily basis. Whether this includes the greasy fast food you had last night or the tailpipe exhaust you breathe in daily waiting for the bus, we could all benefit from a little detox.

How Toxins Harm the Human Body

We encounter toxins every day simply by living. The following list includes, but is not limited to, the ways toxins, chemicals, and heavy metals can easily make their way into our daily routine.

  • Pesticides
  • Drinking water
  • Fish
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Food grown in polluted soil
  • Home cleaning products
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Unhealthy diets

When toxins enter our body, they target our cells and cause damage most commonly by:

  • Injuring molecules such as fatty acids, proteins, antioxidants, and DNA
  • Changing cell structure resulting in the loss of function
  • Disrupting cell-to-cell signaling and communication

When this damage occurs, this can manifest as:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Immune system suppression
  • GI distress
  • Damage to the nervous and/or cardiovascular systems
  • An increased risk for cognitive dysfunction diseases

The Body’s Built-In Line of Defense

Most are unaware of the marvelous detoxification system the human body already innately possesses. The human body biotransforms many toxins first, allowing them to then be excreted through sweat, stool, and urine.

This biotransformation involves the action of cytochrome P450 enzymes found primarily in the liver but also in other organs such as the lungs, small intestine, and kidneys.

Commonly, this biotransformation involves two crucial phases. During phase 1, the toxin’s molecular structure is modified so that in phase 2 it can bind to a carrier molecule and then be excreted from the body.

It is important to remember that when the toxin is modified in phase 1, it can be rendered less toxic and therefore more easily excreted but not always. If the toxin is not subsequently acted upon in phase 2, it may remain a reactive intermediate, thus having toxic effects in the liver or other parts of the body.

Whole Foods That Support Phase 2 Enzyme Activity

To promote natural detoxification, there is much we can do regarding our nutrition. Recall that in order for a toxin to be excreted from the body, it typically needs to undergo both phase 1 and phase 2 enzyme reactions.

Detox food

After phase 1 occurs, whether or not a toxin enters phase 2 depends largely on the availability of carrier molecules. As you’ve probably guessed it, this relies heavily on your diet and always keeping the body in a nourished state.

3 Steps to Healthy Detox

The following are three ways you can naturally promote detoxification and an overall healthy lifestyle.

  • Exercise

Physical activity, when combined with adequate nutrition, has been shown to increase detoxification and antioxidant enzymes in the body. Additionally, exercise circulates lymph fluid where toxins are often temporarily stored. This, in turn, helps to remove them from the body. Sweating while exercising has also been shown to boost liver detoxification.

  • Stay Nourished!

This means always feeding your body with nutrient-rich whole foods. Toxicity can increase during states of mineral deficiency because toxins will often try to take the place of nutritional minerals. This then results in even more nutrient mineral loss from the body.

According to the Textbook of Natural Medicine, a multivitamin as well as mineral and omega fatty acid supplements may help to replenish lost nutrient stores.

  • Sleep

Making sure your body is rested and relaxed has been shown to boost immune function and is key to maintaining a natural detoxification lifestyle.

As always, it is best to first discuss any lifestyle changes with your physician to establish a care plan that is tailored to fit your individual needs.

Watch this video to find out more about the right way to do a Detox Diet.

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