If you’ve ever heard someone discuss a health detox or a cleanse, you may wonder whether it’s the right move for you. Before starting any dietary change, it’s important to understand what it is you’d be doing and how it may affect your body and overall health.
Let’s take a closer look at how to detox and cleanse your body, as well as various types of cleanses and things you should watch out for when participating in one.
What is detox?
There are different variations on how to detox (more on that in a bit), but the general idea is the same: a detox involves restricting your diet to a specific type of food or liquid (or nothing at all) for an extended period of time. What you consume during the detox and the amount of time it lasts for will depend on the type of cleanse you’re participating in.
Why should you detox?
According to Dr. Linda Page, author of the book Detoxification, detox is comparable to a spring cleaning for your body. Page also said, “Anybody can benefit from a cleansing. The body is coming out of what might be called hibernation. It’s a way you can jump-start your body for a more active life, a healthier life.”
Your body responds to the fuel you put inside of it. Think about detox in terms of hitting the reset button on your diet. It gives you an opportunity to start over, shocking your system.
The different types of detoxes
There is more than one way to detox. There are multiple types of cleanses you can partake in. Each one has a different set of actions and a different intended result. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defined a number of different detoxes listed below:
- Drinking juice only (or a similar, juice-like beverage)
- Restricting your diet only to certain types of foods
- Taking dietary supplements
- Taking herbs
- Using over the counter or doctor-prescribed products to cleanse the colon (i.e. enemas, laxatives, or colonics)
- Limiting your exposure to certain types of environments
- Sitting in a sauna
Each one of these activities is designed to have a cleansing effect on the body. Each one will have a different feeling, so it’s important to pick the detox that works best for you and your specific situation.
How to know if you need to detox?
It’s unclear if anyone really “needs” to detox, as it’s not a remedy for long-term weight loss or improved health. But in a short-term period of time, it can help with the following:
- If you perform a juice cleanse with fruit and vegetable juices, it can help you receive an infusion of essential vitamins and minerals present in those foods.
- According to the Cleveland Health Clinic, “It can help you identify food sensitivities by eliminating certain foods for several days, then gradually reintroducing potential trigger foods.” When you’re on a cleanse, you can find out what unhealthy foods were leading to certain reactions in your body such as inflammation.
- If you’ve had an extended period of unhealthy behaviors or eating unhealthy foods, a cleanse can be a good way to regulate your system. While your body typically cleanses itself, consuming mostly healthy foods can also help expedite the process of restoring your body to its state prior to consuming too many unhealthy foods. For example, the period following a long holiday may be an ideal time to participate in a cleanse.
The decision to cleanse comes down to your current health and diet. It’s also important to remember safety before you detox.
How to be safe when doing detoxes?
It is critical to be careful and do your research prior to engaging in a detox. Talk to your medical provider, as some kind of detoxes can exacerbate existing medical conditions. As noted above, each one has different effects on your body. There may be some type of cleanses you shouldn’t engage in due to those effects. Educate yourself, understand the impacts of each cleanse, and don’t be afraid to abandon one if you suffer from any adverse health effects during it.
Also, it’s important not to get too carried away when in the midst of a detox. For example, fasting can be very healthy when done under the right circumstances. But if it’s carried out for too long or when other health conditions make it less than ideal, it can be dangerous. You should know the limits of your body and consult a medical professional before doing anything that may be too extreme.
Things to look out for when doing a detox or a cleanse
A detox can leave you with low amounts of energy, so it’s important to monitor your physical activity while participating in a cleanse. If you’re an athlete or plan on participating in a sport, it’s best not to do so during a cleanse. The low amount of protein consumed during a cleanse or detox isn’t conducive to optimal athletic performance.
You should also monitor any major changes to your health. While lower energy levels may be common if you notice any serious changes in your physical condition you may want to end the detox prematurely or consult a medical provider.
Also, realize that participating in a cleanse may alter how you interact with friends and family. There are often social pressures associated with eating certain types of foods, particularly in group settings. Prepare yourself to explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You may be met with numerous temptations to break the cleanse. Be ready for this and prepare yourself mentally to continue with the detox for the good of your body.
To embark upon the fastest, safest path to weight loss, contact the weight-loss experts with Simonds Metabolics and Weight Loss. We offer a variety of weight loss services including nutritional counseling, prescription medications, and healthy supplements to help you shed weight efficiently and safely.
We invite you to contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled weight loss consultants. We look forward to helping you achieve your wellness goals in the new year!