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THE MYTHS + TRUTHS ABOUT 'DETOXING'

Maybe we should have done this blog post earlier in January as many are now probably cursing the January detox, ready to give your right arm for a chocolate bar or large glass of red! This week we looked at some popular detox myths and the truths that are worth the effort. 

New year diet and lifestyle changes bring positive changes for many but if you rely on your January detox then you may not get the results you strive for....

January is a time for resolutions and a focus on forming new healthy lifestyle choices. January detoxes have become very popular over the past decade with many seeing them as a 'quick fix' after an over indulgent festive period. But can a detox really do undo the damage caused by poor lifestyle choices? 

What is a detox? 

Detoxification is the process of removing toxic substances from your body. This includes liver, kidneys, lungs, colon and even skin, the removal of waste products allows the body to maintain a healthy balance. 

What is a toxin?

Toxins are poisonous substances produced by plants or animals. The two main types of toxins are: endogenous (produced by the body) and exogenous (made outside the body). Toxins are produced by living cells, which means that harmful synthetic chemicals we ingest, and which must be eliminated by the body, are not technically toxins. However, confusingly, they are often toxic. Exposure to toxins and toxic substances can cause harm to the body through organ damage and provide an environment in which illnesses are more likely (source: Kim Pearson, Nutritionist).

MYTHS 

Detoxing can undo damage caused by an unhealthy diet.

A short detox will not reverse the damage caused by weeks of unhealthy living. We can't simply force our bodies to get rid of toxins when it suits. Our detoxification systems are usually very effective and carry out their jobs day to day, whether we are 'detoxing' or not. The best thing we can do it change the focus of the body's elimination systems by taking in fewer toxic substances in the first place. 

Juicing is a good way to detox

Juice cleanses focus on calorie restriction and provide very little protein, which will eventually slow down the body's metabolic rate. If the juices also contain a lot of fruit then you'll be consuming a hell of a lot of sugar, which leads to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. 

Detox products are magic bullets 

Cleansing products like teas, wraps and supplements are unlikely to have a signiifcant benefits when used on their own. They also vary significantly in quality and are heavily marketed with little/no research to back up the claims. Ultimately, its advised not to waste your money or time if you haven't addressed the more important diet and lifestyle factors.  

TRUTHS

Simple diet improvements can support detoxification 

Fibre will bind to toxins and help remove them from the body. If we lack fibre in our diet then our body ends up reabsorbing the filtered toxins. Increase your intake of fibrous foods for benefits in many aspects of health. 

Water is all it's cracked up to be

Drinking lots of water will improve digestion and help to flush out toxins that are currently in your bodies. Remember - filtered water is best so pick up a water filter jug to keep in your fridge. 

Supplements can be beneficial 

While there are many questionable detox products out there, there are a few high-quality supplements that have been proven to support detoxification. One of the best is milk-thistle, which is the most well-researched plant in the treatment of liver disease, protecting the liver against toxins. 

Reducing exposure to toxic substances help our bodies "detox"

Many of us don't realise how many toxic substances we expose our bodies to every day. We all know the obvious ones like alcohol, cigarettes, takeaways and drugs, but there are other toxic substances that go unnoticed. These include some cosmetic and household cleaning products, as well as some chemicals used in a dry cleaning or to prevent home furnishings catching fire. 

So if you're looking for the best way to 'detox' stop exposing yourself to toxic substances, day in, day out. A focused period of cleansing under supervision isn't a bad thing but it should but it should be tailored to the individual'd needs and shouldn't be viewed as an 'all or nothing' fix. 

Top Detox Tips 

1. Eliminate exposure to alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and processed foods. 

2. Reduce the level of chemicals in your environment, use natural cosmetics and cleaning products where possible. 

3. Eat plenty of fibre-rich vegetables - minimum five portions a day. 

4. Drink plenty of filtered water.

5. Exercise regularly. Exercise can help stimulate the body's detoxification processes. 

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