Nourished By Nature: Why a Detox Can Help Your Body Cleanse. Picture is of dandelion tea.

Why a Detox Can Help Your Body Cleanse

It seems everyone is talking about "detox" or considering a "cleanse".

Detox diets often are misunderstood — especially since your body already comes equipped with a detoxification system.

How the Body Naturally Detoxifies

Detoxification is a process that the body performs around the clock utilising important nutrients from our diet.

It's the process that transforms toxins so they can be removed from the body.

They fall into two main categories: toxins that are made in the body during regular metabolism, and those that come from outside the body and are introduced by eating, drinking, breathing or are absorbed through the skin.

Toxins that are produced in the body include lactic acid, urea and waste products from microbes in the gut. External toxins may include pesticides, mercury in seafood, lead from car exhaust and air pollution, chemicals in tobacco products and drugs or alcohol.

Detoxification also uses the process by which medications are metabolised and removed from the body.

Because toxins are potentially dangerous to human health, they need to be transformed and excreted through urine, faeces, respiration or sweat.

Is A Detox Programme Right For Me?

Each person's ability to detoxify varies and is influenced by environment, diet, lifestyle, health status and genetic factors. This suggests some people may require more detoxification support than others.

If the amount of toxins to which a person is exposed exceeds his or her body's ability to excrete them, the toxins may be stored in fat cells, soft tissue and bone, negatively affecting health.

Most detoxification programs recommend removing highly processed foods and foods to which some people are sensitive, such as dairy, gluten, eggs, peanuts and red meat. They also recommend eating mostly organically grown vegetables, fruit, whole non-glutenous grains, nuts, seeds and lean protein.

Other programs recommend fasting, a potentially risky practice for some people, which may actually suppress detoxification pathways in the body. This is why many health practitioners advise against this practice.

Detoxification programs can vary widely and may pose a risk for some people (such as people with health problems, those with eating disorders, those who take multiple medications, and pregnant or breast-feeding women), therefore it is very important to talk to a qualified nutritionist first before starting any detox or cleanse program. Most often the program can be tailored to the individual needs of a client!

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