There is a bit of a fad that has spent the last few years gaining traction, but recently, as often happens in the case of many fads once the facts are in, is now spinning its wheels. You’ve heard of it, you may have even had a go at it; “detoxing”.
The idea is, many of us are guilty of eating a lot of unhealthy foods, too much sugar, trans fats, processed foods with preservatives and additives, maybe we have overindulged at a party and feel the need to get rid of what we perceive to be an accumulation of toxins stored in our bodies.
Certainly one’s heart is in the right place if one wishes to remove the traces of these excesses, sort of like going to confession after sinning. But recent research indicates that it doesn’t work this way.
Our bodies already have two detoxing organs in our bodies, each designed to expel the toxins and poisons 24-7; your liver and kidneys will do all the heavy lifting for you, working day and night to keep you ship shape; indeed, the kidneys alone process around 200 litres of blood every 24 hours, expelling 1-2 litres of waste (urine) every day.
The nutritive benefit of healthy foods should not be discounted -certainly green grass juices, spirulina and milk thistle are not deleterious to your health if taken in moderation, but they do not act as a shamwow, sopping up all the dietary sins of your recent past or long term lifestyle.
The best thing you can do to “detox” is to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. The kidneys, after all, excrete the toxins through urine, so drinking adequate amounts of water helps in waste removal; drink more when you are exercising or perspiring, as that water is evaporating from you. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and limit alcohol intake.
Foods that are good for your liver include high quality protein from lean meats; liver, fish and poultry, and eggs, and/or from a variety of vegetarian sources to make sure you receive all the essential amino acids (you should be eating most of these on a regular basis anyway!)
‘Brassica vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower and collard greens contain anthocyanin antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress on the liver, according to a laboratory animal study published in the June 2012 issue of the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.” In the study, red cabbage extract significantly reduced signs of liver stress caused by a high-fat diet. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results. Brassica vegetables also contain high levels of glutathione, an antioxidant the liver uses to detoxify the body. People who eat a lot of brassica vegetables tend to have lower rates of cancer, according to Thomas S.C. Li, author of the book “Vegetables and Fruits: Nutritional and Therapeutic Values- healthy eating
Finally, when it comes to getting rid of the poisons we ingest every day, be aware that unless you are buying organic, your daily diet is laced with pesticides- a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that pesticide residue was found on 65% of produce sampled. This should be removed-washed away-before eating; soaking fruit and veggies in 10 to one solution of cold water and white vinegar should do the trick, then rinse with water after. You would do well to remember that the pesticides on your food would kill you (or sterilize you) if you were the size of a bug. Just because you are not, doesn’t mean these poisons are doing you any good.
Avoiding ingesting pesticides is easier than ever-you can do it by eating organic- and most pesticides will be expelled after a few weeks if you avoid continually stocking up. Check out this eye-opening video to see the dramatic change one family experienced after “going organic” for only two weeks.