There are a lot of health benefits to be gained from a detox diet. This is not to say it’s necessary. There’s actually no solid scientific proof that the human body needs to be detoxified on a regular basis. However, there does appear to be evidence that a detox diet can result in helping you lose weight and improve your overall health. Just make sure you’re doing it in an effective, healthy way. There are some very extreme detox diets that are heavily promoted on the internet, on TV and in bookstores (Lemon Detox, anybody). This article is not a promotion of any kind of extreme detox diet. What we want to do here is simply present some of the principles of body detoxification and nutrition to help you eat better in the long run and improve your health.
EFFECTIVE DETOX DIET PRINCIPLES
The basic principle of an effective detox diet is to stop eating and drinking processed foods and drinks, such as coffee and alcohol, that are contain stimulants. It follows then that you will have to replace these foods with natural foods and beverages. Drinking a lot of water is also highly recommended during a detox diet to help your body flush out any residual toxins that have built up in your system.
The length of time you decide to undertake a detox diet is up to you. Most people feel comfortable committing to a few days or a couple of weeks. You might want to do this once or twice a year. This might also be a good idea after a particularly heavy period of indulgence. Doing a detox diet after the holidays might be one example of how you can get the most benefit out of cleansing your system if you intend to do it infrequently.
STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL DETOX DIET CLEANSE
A detox diet doesn’t have to be something you do all at once. You can ease into a cleanse in stages. This might be something you can consider if you aren’t sure you’re going to be able to cope with a sudden change to your eating habits or if you’re worried about the possible withdrawal symptoms of cutting out sugar, caffeine and alcohol. As a preliminary step try simply increasing your daily consumption of fresh water until your body reaches its optimal hydration level. Most people never drink enough water every day.
Drinking 2-3 liters of water every day for 2-3 days will re-hydrate your body and flush out the gunk that accumulates in the digestive tract. The next stage of a good detox diet cleanse is to increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables until you’re consuming 2-3 cups of salad or vegetables and 2-3 pieces of fruit every day. Fruit and veggies are a rich source of life-giving nutrients and cleansing dietary fiber They are also delicious, but difficult to appreciate when your diet includes large amounts of salt and processed sugars or artificial sweeteners.
HEALTHY DETOX DIET FOODS
Apart from fruit and vegetables, there are a number of other healthy detox diet foods you want to consider using to replace the processed foods in your diet. Grilled fish and chicken breast are very lean meats and good sources of nutrients and protein. Nuts, seeds, beans, oats and legumes are good healthy wholegrains that contain protein, dietary fiber and vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and essential fats.
If you want to be particularly strict in choosing healthy detox diet foods you may consider eliminating breads, cereals, dairy products, pasta, rice and even potato. Just be careful to monitor your energy levels if you are going without all of these foods for more than 2-3 days. Eliminating carbohydrate rich food sources from your diet completely can have a detrimental effect on your bodily functions, particularly if your daily energy needs are high.
DETOXIFY AND CLEANSE IN MODERATION
One of the reasons extreme detox diets like the Lemon Detox are highly criticized is because they are so restrictive and prolonged. Perhaps, ‘everything in moderation’ is a good motto to ensure any plans you have to embark on a cleanse is going to be safe and healthy. The primary aim of a detox diet is to give your body a break from processed foods, refined sugars, unhealthy fats, salt and artificial stimulants. These are the foods that do the most damage to your body.
Detox diets that insist you cut out even healthy foods are best avoided. Depriving your body of essential and healthy nutrients just doesn’t make any sense if it is prolonged for more than 24 hours. Intermittent fasting works for some people, but it is very short-term and does include some intake of healthy food during the fasting period. You’re aiming to flush out the bad and boost the good. Eating healthy food is good for you.
MORE DETOX DIET TIPS
Because every body is different and everyone has different health and fitness goals it may be helpful to think carefully about the principles of a detox diet and apply them appropriately to your situation. Consider what you have in your pantry. Maybe you need to clear out some of the unhealthy, processed foods you’ve accumulated. At the same time, take an inventory of how much healthy fruit, vegetables and wholegrains you have on stock in your cupboards and refrigerator.
Putting some effort into planning your meals is also a great way to apply diet detox principles to your everyday life. Including hearty vegetable soups in your meal planning is a great way to add a lot of nutrition to your diet. It also helps to plan and pack your own lunch for work the night before so you have time to make sure you’ve got the right foods to eat. Experimenting with different recipes and healthy snack foods is also fun.
EXERCISE FOR OPTIMUM FITNESS
For optimum fitness and health it’s important to get regular strenuous exercise. Eating healthy food consistently is certainly half the battle. The other half is maintaining your physical strength and agility and burning off excess calories and stored body fat. Exercise aids in cardiovascular health and can aid in preventing disease.
Like eating too much processed food, lack of exercise is an all too common failure of a modern sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to get outdoors and breathe in lots of fresh air. It’s important to exercise your heart and lungs and muscles and to put your bones to some stress so as to keep them strong. Even your eyes, skins, hair and teeth benefit from regular strenuous exercise.