Detox

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 16 July 2008

Detox treatments are very popular in the US, particularly with Hollywood stars. They purify the body, giving it a break from diet evils and toxins. The benefits of detox include weight loss, better shape and purification. Here's how to approach detox.

Detox treatments are very popular in the US, particularly with Hollywood stars. They purify the body, giving it a break from diet evils and toxins. The benefits of detox include weight loss, better shape and purification. Here's how to approach detox.

The idea

Like a car engine, the body clogs up and accumulates waste that, in the long term, affects how it functions and causes fatigue, a dull complexion, fingernails and hair, irritability, depression, less resistance to infection, etc.

These toxins come from the inside (waste created by the body) and the outside (pollution, tabacco, alcohol, medication, additives etc.) In principle the body gets rid of its waste, but sometimes the accumulation is too great and it cannot all be dealt with.
Detox treatments are designed to purify and instill new energy in the body. Several treatments exist in varying duration (4 days, 1 week, 1 month etc.) and composition (fast, fruit only, veg only, vegetable soup, etc.).

For detox

In the modern world, the accumulation of toxins in our bodies affects us all, whether it's due to indulgence (at Christmas or parties, for example), excess stress or work, illness or a long-term unhealthy lifestyle (lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol, too many ready meals, exposure to pollution, etc). Detox is often welcome to overcome the evils of our lifestyle.

Against detox

The idea that detox treatments can cleanse our organs of the quantity of pollutants and pesticides they have to cope with is simplistic. We need more than 2 days of veggie soup to get rid of the toxins in our bodies, and the best way not to accumulate waste is to minimise exposure to it. As for total fasting, doctors believe that it is a silly idea. Not only does it weaken the body by depriving it of the nutrients it needs to function: it also creates the opposite effect by actually producing toxins.

Detox: a user guide

- Choose your time wisely. At the beginning of spring, in summer or in autumn, our needs are greater than in winter and we turn to lighter foods. These are the most suitable times to detox. The changes may tire you, give you headaches or make you dizzy, so ideally plan your detox when you have time off work or you've nothing particularly challenging on.

- Limit or cut out refined sugar, fat, tobacco, alcohol, coffee, animal produce, ready meals and refined foods.

- Go for natural produce and make sure you get at least 1.5 litres of water per day, alongside organic food, herbs, fruit, vegetables and tea.

- Look at your lifestyle. To drain your body, sweat it out in the gym, sauna or hammam, and drink sudorific infusions like elderberry or greenbrier tea. Rest your body and it will eliminate waste. Why not try a lymphatic drainage massage to improve circulation of the lymph glands that collect cellular waste and evacuate them via the blood system.

- Get into plants. Many plants that you can take as capsules or tea have diuretic properties, such as peppermint which aids the liver, and mallow which helps food pass through the bowels.