Detoxification simply means purifying the body or the process of eliminating toxins. For centuries, detoxification - much like in the Chinese and Ayurveda cultures-cleanses and nourishes the body from within.
This process begins with fasting: a method that gives the organs rest for a particular period. It helps the liver to push out toxins through the kidneys, the intestines and the skin. Another benefit added to fasting is that it improves blood circulation.
By eliminating toxins, we mean feeding the body with healthy nutrients, protection against diseases, and the ability to be healthy. The body also detoxifies itself through the kidneys and liver. This is why when organs like the liver and the kidneys are compromised, impurities don’t get filtered properly.
India Today spoke to Priyanka Sharma, Nutritionist, Cloudnine group of hospitals, Noida, who shared benefits, risks associated with detoxification, and the different types and phases of it.
According to Priyanka Sharma, “The process takes place in two phases. Phase I occurs in the liver and transforms lipid-soluble molecules into less harmful toxins which will be easier to eliminate. This process takes place with the help of a group of enzymes (cytochrome- p450) through various chemical processes like oxidation, reduction, hydration, dehalogenation and hydrolysis. This whole process requires nutrients like vitamin B, amino acids, vitamin C, zinc, vitamin A, and flavonoids to support enzymatic activity and neutralize free radicals formed as a byproduct.”
She adds that the byproduct in Phase II is made water-soluble and less harmful by the addition of chemical groups. It is easy to excrete water-soluble products through the kidneys and bowels like urine and faeces. The nutrients play a huge role in being absorbed by the gut as they further aid in the functioning of the detoxification process.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD ONE OPT FOR BODY DETOX?
“Listening to your body is the answer. There are a few signs through which one can be sure when it’s the right time to detox, such as bloating, low energy levels, sluggish bowels, puffy eyes, mental confusion, and unexplained fatigue,” says Ms Sharma.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF DETOXIFICATION?
1. Reduces Inflammation - Inflammation occurs when the body is exposed to bacteria, viruses or infection. To protect the body, white blood cells (WBCs) act as barriers.2. Boosts blood circulation.3. Quality of sleep - Sleep deprivation can lead to poor performance and chronic diseases.4. Blood purification5. Weight regulation - When the toxins are in excess in the body, metabolism slows down with interrupted weight loss.6. Boosts energy levels7. Leaves the skin glowing
TYPES OF DETOXIFICATION
Such a detox can last for 2-3 days or up to 12 days. This type of detox is followed for a short duration but, at the same, it is hard to follow as it is difficult to sustain. Fasting can mean adopting a no-carb diet, saying no to sugar or just consuming fruits and vegetables. Fasting helps in flushing out the toxins and let the body rest. However, this process is not advisable for diabetics and pregnant women.
The largest organ of the body is the liver. It helps in removing waste. It is a new trend in detoxifying that involves foods to support the body’s natural defence system against harmful substances.
Such a detox diet promotes healthy weight loss and restricts calorie intake. However, in the long run, it can cause a deficiency of vitamins and minerals or disrupt the electrolyte balance.
As per the Food and Drug Association, some products have not been tested adequately in clinical trials. However, products like milk thistle, ginger and herbal teas are healthy ways for to clean the liver.
It is the act of flushing out toxins from the large intestines. As per research, many teas, enzymes and colon irrigation are very popular these days. Colon cleansing can be done using liquid supplements. The idea is to expel the contents from the colon using supplements like enema, stimulant or non-stimulant laxatives and enzymes in the rectum, among others.
Due to the current lifestyle, in the post-pandemic era, people are surrounded by screens all day. Digital detox is a process that will reduce exposure to the screens of mobiles, laptops, televisions, etc. It is a process that will reduce stress and increase social interactions.
RISK FACTORS OF DETOXIFICATION
1. Some studies suggest that a detox diet helps liver function. Glutathione is an antioxidant that may eliminate toxins like heavy metals from the body.2. Body detox promotes one to drink 3-4 litres of water every day. A high intake of water helps in removing body waste through sweating, urination and healthy bowel movements.3. Weight loss is another benefit of body detox. However, calorie restrictions should be managed to avoid severe health issues.4. Sugar and caffeine are foods that can deprive the body energy. Detoxifying helps in refuelling those energies.5. Toxins can leave your hair brittle, dull and dry as they avoid essential nutrients to reach the follicles. But healthy detoxification revives the quality and makes the hair shiny and strong.6. Apart from physical benefits, detox makes the memory strong, calms the brain, clears the thought process and keeps the mind positive.
The body has its own effective detoxification system, which can be enhanced by following a healthy and balanced detox diet. One way to do so is by following an antioxidant-rich diet including seasonal fruits and vegetables and lean clean protein.
Staying active, adequate hydration and consuming less preservative-laden and packaged food items are other ways of detoxification.
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