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A guide to detoxification

Why and how to detox for better health

Author: Doreen Corbey June 19 2008

sliced and whole fresh vegetables

Not that long ago “detox” was a rare topic for discussion, but now it’s a topic on everybody’s lips. Health writers detox and recommend that everyone else does too; it’s an internal spring-cleaning on a regular basis that flushes out all the toxins from your body, making you feel better and preventing illness.

Despite the contrary claims of some sceptics that the body does its own detoxing, and that studies show no evidence that detoxifying is effective, there are many people who do go through the regime and at least claim to feel better afterwards. So here are some detox facts and guidelines to help you decide for yourself!

Why detox?

Do you suffer from any of: low energy, fatigue, weight gain, cellulite, bloating, skin problems? These could be symptoms of toxins that have accumulated in your body from food, drink and the environment.

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The average Briton is said to consume 11lb of food additives and 1 gallon of pesticides and herbicides every year. Many of the animals we eat were fed pesticide-sprayed food and injected with hormones and antibiotics to keep them free from disease. Veggies can’t escape either, as our fruit and veg are sprayed with both pesticides and herbicides.

Detox experts say that all these chemicals floating around in our body put great strain on the ability of the kidneys and liver to process and flush them out, leading to a weakened immune system and colon. Therefore we feel run down and eventually become vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Toxins accumulate just under the surface of the skin and interfere with normal healthy circulation, causing various skin problems.

When you detox, the aim is to help the body flush out excess toxins. Remember that your body is perfectly capable of detoxifying itself naturally but, depending on your lifestyle, if it is constantly being loaded with excess salt, sugar, fat and chemicals, natural detoxifying becomes a harder job and you may welcome some assistance.

How to detox

The basic guidelines for detoxifying are to increase natural fibre, water, fruit and vegetables, to increase physical activity, and to decrease saturated fats, sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol. Timing is also important; there are some detox regimes as short as one day

If you’re a first-time detoxer, a better approach may be to go for a longer regime and gradually wean yourself off the foods on the no-list. Author Jane Scrivner recommends 21-30 days because the aim is to change long-term habits, not just be a quick fix. Once you’ve understood and practised the principles of detox on a long regime, then you can do mini regimes of a few days or even just one day.

Before you start, preparation is key. It is very important to know what foods you will eat during your detox period, even have some recipes ready. The last thing you want is to get caught out at mealtimes with nothing prepared which has you reaching for a food which is not in your detox list. So research recipes and restock the kitchen with appropriate foods as necessary. The similarity to some aspects of weight-loss dieting is obvious, and indeed if you are overweight then weight loss might well be a welcome side effect of detoxing.

As important as food is to put some thought into where in your daily routine you will be able to fit in physical activity.

Lastly, detoxifying is not just what you put inside your body, there’s the outside as well. Think about dry skin brushing, body exfoliants, massage and lymphatic drainage, and treatments with alternating hot and cold like LaStone therapy. These are practices that can be incorporated into your detox regime.

There are also the products you put on your face and body. It is very hard to find products that do not contain sodium laureth/lauryl sulphate, paraben preservatives, artificial colours and parfums which, if not a pure essential oil, is a cocktail of chemicals. It is said that the average woman in Britain applies as many as 175 chemical compounds in a day. They are not all harmful, but some are, and it’s a big number. So as part of detox you will have to find skincare products with less chemicals.

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About the Author

Doreen has had a passion for massage since she was 15 years old. She still has that passion, and offers massage, specialist facials and other beauty treatments in her home-based salon in Surrey. With any energy left over she will devour all the beauty pages of all the magazines she can lay her hands on!

Doreen's homepage: Bellessence

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