She's just one of millions of North Americans who follows a good detox plan in order to boost energy, improve digestion and lose weight. In fact, detoxifying through dietary changes is a practice that has been followed for centuries and is a very powerful and effective approach to ensure your body is working as efficiently as possible.
Is a detox good for your body?
Cleanses can improve the look of skin, decrease bloating, help with weight loss, break sugar cravings and improve energy dramatically. However, like anything else, there are some good detox programs on the market, and then there are some that may be a little too radical.
When looking for a safe and healthy detox protocol, the dietary approach should posses a few key elements. A balanced detox plan should contain foods that optimize digestion, cleanse the liver, and have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. The detox program also needs to contain enough glucose, or sugar, to fuel your body. Read on for tips on how to set your own detox plan.
Here are four steps for a healthy and safe detox plan
1. Eat foods rich in probiotics
In my years of lecturing on nutrition and health I have frequently said, “You are only as healthy as your pipes." In other words, you are only as healthy as your digestive system's ability to absorb and excrete. Probiotic-rich foods and supplements contain friendly bacteria that are critical to a detox program, as they promote proper daily bowel movements. In addition to supplementing with probiotic capsules or powder, foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh also contain high levels of probiotics.
During a detox, avoid flavored yogurt as it tends to be high in sugar or artificial sweetener. Opt for plain yogurt instead.
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2. Hydrate yourself
Water-rich foods and beverages are necessary to flush your system during a detox. In addition to drinking six to eight glasses of fresh, clean water per day, eat plenty of hydrating foods such as melon, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
3. Eat foods that clean your liver
Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body. There are a number of ways your body will tell you your liver is overtaxed, including dull hair, fatigue, poor digestion and bowel movements, and difficulty losing weight.
There are certain foods and beverages that can help cleanse the liver such as lemons, limes, garlic, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, beans and the spice turmeric. Apple, pineapple, papaya, carrot, cabbage and beet juices also have a very powerful liver-cleansing effects.
The herbs milk thistle, goldenseal and dandelion are also very effective for liver cleansing.
4. Eat foods rich in fibre
A balanced detox plan should contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fibre. Foods rich in soluble fibre, such as vegetables, fruits, soybeans and seeds, assist in the regulation of blood lipids such as cholesterol. Food rich in insoluble fibre, such as whole wheat grains, bran and fruit skins (so eat your apples with the peel on!), help prevent constipation.
In addition to the guidelines outlined above, the following dietary tips can help maximize your detoxification results.
More helpful detox tips
• Eliminate coffee for the duration of your detox
• Add chlorophyll to your water two or three times daily (available at health food stores)
• Start your day off with a glass of hot water with fresh-squeezed lemon
• Do not consume any refined flours, sugars or deep-fried foods
• Avoid full fat dairy products
• Make sure you're getting enough sleep
Of course, a dietary detox is not for everyone. Talk to you doctor prior to making any changes in your diet.
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Dr. Joey Shulman DC, RNCP is the author of the best selling book The Last 15 – A Weight Loss Breakthrough and founder of The Shulman Weight Loss clinics. For more information, please visit drjoey.com.