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Would a detox diet be good for you

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The idea of a detox always sounds very virtuous but would a detox diet be good for you?  It usually springs to mind after a period of excess, such as Christmas, or the summer holidays, when our bodies may be feeling a little sluggish.  Embarking on a detox diet can have a significant effect on your body, and understanding what to expect is important before you begin.

What is a Detox Diet?

Detoxification is the body’s natural and ongoing process for getting rid of toxins from the body.  Toxins are basically poisons that can harm us, and what we choose to consume is only part of the story – our own bodies are pretty effective at producing many toxins on their own as waste by-products from normal cell activity.

Many of the major organs in the body work hard daily to combat all these chemical nasties, transforming them into compounds that can be naturally and safely released from the body.  A detox diet is a way of giving the body a break, by removing those toxins from the body that we choose to consume.

A detox diet is normally a short-term affair, involving the active consumption of certain types of foods, and avoiding the ingestion of non-pure substances for a given period of time.  Those things that are to be avoided include both manufactured foods, and natural ones that have been associated with allergies.  Basically:

  • Anything processed or containing additives
  • Non-organic fruit and vegetables which may have been sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Caffeine and foods high in sugar
  • Eggs and Dairy products – although many are natural, dairy products can clog-up your system and so are best avoided
  • Wheat, Gluten and Soy products
  • Meat and Fish

The above list may seem a bit limiting, but there are plenty of good, natural things that detox dieters can indulge in, including:

  • Organic fruits and vegetable
  • Dried fruits, nuts and seeds
  • Grains and starches, including brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and oats
  • Pulses
  • Natural oils
  • Natural sweeteners like honey and molasses
  • Water and herbal teas

Benefits

The daily build-up of toxins in our bodies can in the long-term lead to illness and hormonal imbalances, and also have an impact on the ability of the immune system to function effectively.  These problems can manifest as headaches, bad breath, fatigue, sluggishness and poor skin.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then a detox blast may help.

detox diet

Those who undergo a detox diet generally report feeling energised by the experience, with regular bowel movements, clearer skin and improved levels of concentration.  In clearing out these toxins from the body, you leave it free to concentrate on cell regeneration and improved immune functionality.

Side Effects

Detox diets are not right for everyone, and pregnant or nursing women are among those who should avoid them.  This type of diet can also lead to complications in those who have other health conditions such as liver and kidney disease, and a detox diet is not a solution for those seeking alcohol or drug detoxification.  If you are unsure of your symptoms, then always check with your GP before making any drastic changes to your diet.

Common side effects for those who do embark on a detox diet include:

  • Headaches, often from caffeine withdrawal
  • Diarrhoea, putting you at risk of dehydration if you do not drink enough to replace the fluids
  • Constipation, if excess fibre is consumed without adequate liquid intake
  • Tiredness and irritability
  • Acne
  • Weight loss

Most experts agree that a detox diet should be followed only for around 5-7 days at a time, unless your body is very used to a similar kind of general diet already.  This is because long-term restrictions on the types of foods you eat can lead to a deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals.

After considering all of this, if you decide to try a detox diet then do so sensibly, and by following one of the many suggested plans that are freely available online.  Whilst the above side effects are normal, always seek advice if symptoms become severe, or you are feeling unwell.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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