What Are Detox Cleanses and Do They Work or Are They Fads?

raspberries in a glass

Detox cleansing has been around for years. In the 19th and early 20th century, John Harvey Kellogg gained fame with it from his crude beliefs and practices in regular enemas and vegan diets. Fortunately though, cleansing your body has come a long way from Mr. Kellogg’s Sanitarium and in recent years it has not only become more accepted but some people view it as a means to lose weight quickly or to put their bodies back on track after a period of unhealthy eating habits or holiday gluttony.

The premise behind detox cleansing is to rid your body of all of the toxins it has taken in. Many people eat a variety of foods that are not healthy on an everyday basis. Over time, these unhealthy habits build up and leave toxins behind. Combine that with the toxins in our environment every day and it can take an unhealthy and possibly dangerous toll on our bodies.

What is detox cleansing?

Simply put, detox cleansing is a way to clear all out all of the impurities in your body. The cleansing diet uses foods and liquids to clear out the pollutants that have built up over time. Since the liver is responsible for removing toxins from the body, it can often become strained and overloaded with impurities. Detox cleansing is also thought to help aid the kidneys and lymph. Proponents of detox claim it is important to remove all of the stored up poisons before they reach the bloodstream otherwise you may be at risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, chronic pain and even heart disease.

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How detox cleansing works

Foods and fluids are taken into the body to flush your system of the impurities, parasites, and toxins that are housed inside you. The toxins are mainly found in the colon, liver, and kidneys. There are natural ways to detox and cleanse your body as well as several products you can purchase to help aid detoxification. Most detox cleansing plans begin with cutting certain foods such as meat (including fish), fizzy drinks and alcohol out of your daily diet and then either consuming a natural food diet, an over-the-counter program or a natural food and fluid diet for a number of days.

If you’re a smoker, it’s also recommended that you stop smoking during detox cleansing as well. The premise is to remove and stop all unhealthy habits before beginning a detox cleansing diet.

Detox cleansing diet plans

There are a variety of plans to choose from. Numerous books have been written on plans and foods involved in the detox plan. The plans can help remove fluid retention and cleanse the colon through the consumption of foods such as broccoli, carrots, lettuce, grains, and a variety of other raw foods. Processed foods are typically removed from the diet first as there is a concern over the amount of impurities in these foods. Detox diet plans use a variety of raw vegetables, fruits, as well as fruit and vegetable juices.

The detox diet can be done in as little as seven days or as long as a month. It’s up to you how long and to what degree your body needs cleansing. Longer detox diet plans can be more intense but because you’re stretching out how long you’re on the diet, your body has more time to acclimatize itself to the changes. In order to completely rid your body of the stored up toxins, you must commit to the diet plan which can be very strict. Most diet plans don’t permit you to drink anything other than fruit and vegetable juices or water.

Once the diet has ended, be cautious about reintroducing the foods you are used to eating. Your body will need time to adjust to the changes as it did while you were on the detox diet. If you are using the detox diet to cleanse your body in order to start a new diet or get back on track with your old eating habits, foods should be introduced slowly. Much as you would introduce your baby to a new food, you should do the same for yourself after completing a detox cleansing diet.

Detox cleansing diets still receive some scrutiny from medical experts. Some medical and health experts claim that a person’s body naturally detoxes itself when it comes into contact with toxins and impurities. Other doctors argue that the science behind detox cleansing diets comes from a sensible diet and lifestyle. Still others argue and maintain that our bodies need the extra help to cleanse themselves of all the pollutants and additives we come into contact with on a daily basis. If you still can’t decide whether detox is right for you, speak to your doctor.

Have you tried a detox diet? Did you notice any benefits? Share your thoughts, ideas and experiences by leaving a comment below.

Recommended reading on detox cleansing

For more information and advice on detox cleansing, take a look at the following books:

Clean, Green, and Lean: Get Rid of the Toxins That Make You Fat
Detox: The Process of Cleansing and Restoration
The Ultimate Detox: 2-Week Deep Cleansing Diet
The Detox Book: How to Detoxify Your Body to Improve Your Health, Stop Disease, and Reverse Aging
The Detox Mono Diet: The Miracle Grape Cure and Other Cleansing Diets

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