Are you a sucker for detoxification diets and rituals? Don’t worry, you are not alone. The myth of detoxification is rampant and misleads many.
Much is made of “detoxification,” the process by which your body naturally rids itself of toxic wastes. Today, an entire industry thrives on promoting the need for detoxification, and sells different therapies for this.
You don’t need to detoxify, your body is doing it naturally
But here’s the thing. You really can’t detoxify your own body. So wrapping yourself in mud, getting your colon cleansed, or drinking many litres of lemon water isn’t going to flush toxins out of your system. Importantly, if you healthy, with a functional liver and kidneys, your body is already eliminating toxins effectively.
Notably, the only reason a detox may help you feel better for a short while, is because you have been led to believe so. Otherwise, the triad of sleep, diet, and exercise is all that you need to detox and cleanse your body.
#1 Detox diets
Myth: Exclusion of certain food groups such as dairy and carbohydrates, as well as gluten and caffeine, is believed to cleanse the system. So, detox diets include all kinds of unbalanced meal plans, and liquid meals, such as smoothies and juice.
Fact: There is no evidence that gluten or dairy is bad for you, unless you are allergic to them. Neither are any of the food groups harmful, if eaten within limits. Also, giving up healthy foods in any group doesn’t boost the natural process of detoxification, in any way either.
#2 Colon cleansing
Myth: Clearing the large intestine by ingesting laxatives such as psyllium husk, or by irrigating it with substances such as soap water and vinegar, supposedly eliminates waste accumulated in the colon.
Fact: The large intestine is designed to remove waste from the body naturally. So ingesting odd substances will just disturb its regular function, and delicate balance. A colon cleanse will not solve your problem of constipation. Instead, the best way to solve this is to eat more fibre, and drink more water.
#3 Juice cleanse
Myth: Drink fruit and vegetables juices for a period of time, and ideally avoid eating, to rest the digestive system and eliminate toxins.
Fact: Not eating for long periods is bad for the health. Being on an empty stomach for too long, can lead to acid secretion, which damages the stomach lining. Besides, fruits and vegetables in their original state give you that much-needed fibre, with multiple health benefits.
#4 Spa detox
Myth: Mud baths, skin packs, various kinds of bathing agents, and spending time in steam rooms help to remove toxins from your skin.
Fact: While an occasional indulgence in some spa therapies is harmless, regular spa treatments have no proven benefits. On the contrary, exposure to untested substances and high temperatures can damage your skin.
#5 Chelation therapy
Myth: Chelating agents such as EDTA are released into your blood stream, with the intention of getting them to bind with certain minerals and substances. Then, these are eliminated with your urine. Proponents of chelation therapy say it helps with a broad range of health problems, such as arthritis and heart disease.
Fact: Chelating agents are only useful for the treatment of specific medical conditions, or if you’ve ingested medicines leading to a high level of metal deposits in your body. Otherwise, chelating agents may cause mineral and nutrient deficiency.