Detoxification (Detox): Is the removal of toxic substances from the body. This is mainly performed by the liver and kidneys. When the kidneys are not functioning correctly or not working at all an artificial technique called dialysis is used.
Why do we need to detoxify our bodies? Due to many elements our bodies are subjected to toxins. Sometimes these toxins accumulate in the body and make us sick. Therefore it is advisable to detoxify our bodies when this happens. There are several ways this can be done.
One of the most common ways is to modify your diet. This is known as a detox diet. Many people do this on a regular basis. They find it not only improves overall health but results in increased energy, helps your immune system and can also help in weight loss. Different diets commonly used are:
Fasting or abstinence of food- is a very common way of detoxing the body. Some just drink water others only juice. This can usually be done over a period of 24-48 hours.
Increased consumption of fish
Different combinations of foods
Eating foods which are high in antitoxins
How do we detoxify our bodies? The liver is the main organ that helps us deal with toxins in the body. There are 2 phases:
Phase 1: This is when the liver, by a chain of chemical processes, changes the toxic substance into a less toxic one. When this process takes place substances called free radicals are released into the body. These are potentially harmful to the body. Certain types of foods contain antitoxins that help us keep the body safe from these free radicals.
Phase 2: The liver cells then add a substance to the toxin to make it water soluble and allow it to be filtered out by the kidneys in the urine. They are also eradicated in the feces. Certain foods can help in this process.
Foods that contain antitoxins:
Beets,contain a variety of substances that help cut down damage caused by free radicals. They contain antitoxins such as beta-carotene, carotenoids and flavonoids, that help the body heal itself.
Broccoli have Vitamin C and B These vitamins help the liver in the phase 1 process.
Spinach has vitamin B and folic acid, used in phase 1 by the liver.
Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant. They are also a good source of vitamin E and C, which are both used, in the liver’s detoxifying process.
Brown Rice provides B vitamins and the antioxidant selenium.
Carrots contain beta-carotene and other carotenoids.
Eggs supply B vitamins.
Garlic has selenium and glutathione, both of which act as antioxidants.
Wheat germ contains selenium and vitamin E which are a good source of phytochemicals.
Melons and peppers and citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C.
Tomatillos, papaya, plantains, carambola, and guava are good sources of the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C.
Caution should be exercised in detoxifying dieting to ensure that toxins are not released into the body more rapidly than the body can eliminate them. When this happens the condition is called the Herxheimer reaction. Symptoms include, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Some things that may help are:
Drinking a lot of clean water
Taking light exercise
Detoxifying your body can be beneficial to your health but you need to be careful when doing this. If necessary consult your doctor to be sure that there is no underlying problem that can be worsened by this process. Many people do experience beneficial symptoms from detox diets and make them a regular part of their eating habits.