Have you been feeling run-down? Sluggish? Feel like you’re constantly on the verge of catching a cold? Your body is probably trying to tell you something. If you’ve been feeling less than great, a detoxification diet (or detox diet) could be just the ticket to help you get back to feeling more like your usual self. However, don’t just dive into the first detox diet you come across. Keep these tips in mind to help you detox safely and healthily.
What Is A Detoxification Diet?
First things first, we need to offer a few clarifications. The big one is that a detoxification diet is not intended to help the body detox from alcohol or drug use. Detoxification diets may also not be appropriate for people with some medical conditions, such as diabetes, as well as for women who are pregnant or nursing. While detox diets are a natural treatment, they can still affect your health, so it’s a good idea to consult a nutritionist or healthcare provider before starting.
Detoxification diets are typically short-term diets intended to help your body flush out toxins that get stored in fat cells throughout the body. These toxins can be the built-up waste products from normal cellular activity within the body, but the list also includes toxins the body is exposed to environmentally, like air pollution or chemicals in our food. Detox diets generally emphasize eating certain nutrient-, antioxidant-, and fiber-rich foods/juices to promote an increase in urination and bowel movements. The idea is that, by limiting the intake of certain foods and increasing healthy liquids, the body is encouraged to flush out all of those toxins that may have you feeling less than stellar.
How To Detox Diet Safely
If you’re ready to try a detoxification diet and see how it’ll help you, it’s important to go into it armed with knowledge to protect your health. Some detox diets include fasting or sticking to a liquid-only diet for a few days, so it’s important to find the right detox diet based on your health needs. In order to do so, try:
Finding A Nutritionist
The first rule to detoxing safely is to meet with your healthcare provider — or, better yet, a nutritionist who specializes in detox diets — to find the right plan. A nutritionist is a great option because they can provide natural treatment options, but they also have enough knowledge about how the body functions to help customize nutrition plans, including detoxification diet options. Including a detox diet in an overarching nutritional plan can also help you see more ongoing success.
Supplementing Your Diet
Depending on the detoxification diet guidelines, your body may not get a well-rounded supply of the vitamins and minerals it needs. You may need to add in additional supplements and vitamins to support the detoxification process and keep your body well nourished. Discuss this with your nutritionist to make sure you’re prepared to replace any nutrients you won’t get during a detox diet.
Choosing Better Food
When on a detoxification diet, you can expect some major changes to your diet, at least temporarily. You’ll be pushing your body to flush more blood through the liver so it can process and remove more toxins. Likewise, you’ll also be pushing more liquids than usual so your kidneys will flush out waste and toxins that don’t belong. Because of this, choosing the right foods can make a difference. Your detoxification diet will likely come with a list of foods to eat and what to avoid. Stick to that list, but also choose better quality ingredients. Skip over canned food or pre-prepared meals/drinks (unless they are part of the detox program, of course!) and choose good quality produce and other ingredients. Stick to fresh options as much as possible to keep preservatives and other filler ingredients to a minimum.
Easing Into It
Cutting out sugar and caffeine cold-turkey can lead to some pretty unpleasant feelings. Minimize the headaches and hangry feelings by slowly cutting down your sugar, caffeine, processed food, and alcohol consumption in the weeks leading up to your detoxification diet. This way, you’ll be less likely to experience headaches, nausea, or other unpleasant side effects during your detox diet.
Want to get further details about giving your body’s natural detox process a boost? Connect with the functional medicine team at Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria to meet with a nutritionist and get started today!