Is there any science or cultural wisdom to Detoxification?
Detoxification as believed is a type of therapy to remove damaging toxins from the body. No doubt, the industrial age has added lots of chemicals to our environment and our diet, as a result, the buildup of these toxins in the body is believed to decrease immunity, slow metabolism, decrease overall energy and set the base for chronic diseases.
The main idea behind detoxification was to cleanse the body of this toxic waste, so that body functions better and metabolism returns to normal. But do these detox diets and therapies actually work?
Till date, there has been no scientific evidence that supports the theory of cleansing or detoxification in terms of following any diet, taking supplements, fasting, colonics, saunas etc. These therapies and diets, which carry an expensive tag and marketed by celebrities, may actually have various side effects attached to it like nausea, headache, lightheadedness etc.
In ancient practices such as Ayurveda , fasting and dietary restrictions were considered to purify body, mind and soul. But in recent medical practices, cleansing is just a marketing word for the industry and services manufacturing these detoxification products. One may go on a detox diet for a week and lose weight but losing weight is no way connected to cleansing your body of the toxins.
Risks of detoxification therapies:
Almost all the detox plans include ‘Colon cleansing’ which may cause dehydration, nausea, bloating, vomiting and cramping.
There may be physical harm caused by toxic components in the cleansing products or by the drug and nutrient interactions.
Long term fasting may alter metabolism and weakens gut integrity. Once the gut is weakened, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and cramping occur frequently once the food is reintroduced.
These long periods of fasting and restrictive diet may lead to vitamin and mineral deficiency, lower blood sugar levels, skin breakdown and muscle wasting. Detox therapies which use laxatives for long term may cause serious constipation and various other gastrointestinal distresses, once its use is discontinued.
These diets may impair immune function because of lack of essential nutrients and anti-oxidants, resulting in frequent sore throats and other illnesses.
Weight loss is pretty common after a detox but unfortunately, it is due to losses in water and muscle tissue depending on the diet followed. If the diet and activity remains the same, the weight will move back to its pre-detox weight over time.
Best way of cleansing:
A healthy body does not require any form of cleansing therapies, its organs; liver, lungs, and kidneys are capable enough to cleanse it on daily basis by converting toxins into non-toxic substances which is further excreted by the body.
Including specific food groups can help in boosting the overall natural detoxification process such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts etc., onions, garlic, citrus fruits, turmeric, leeks are all great foods to include in your daily diet. The bottom line is – Do not get carried away with the words “detox” or “cleanse” on the products. They will only be effective at cleansing your wallet of cash.