Detoxification is the metabolic process by which the body eliminates toxins in the form of both foreign substances introduced into the body and waste products produced during the body’s normal metabolic processes. While there are many organs involved in the detox process, the liver in the main organ of detoxification. The liver performs detox on its own, but it is possible to support optimal detoxification through diet and specific nutrient supplementation (what is commonly referred to as a “cleanse” or “detox diet”). So, who would benefit from a detox diet?
The short answer is that pretty much everyone would benefit from a detox diet—if it is properly implemented. We are living in an increasingly toxic world, and everyone could use a bit of support to enhance the natural detoxification process in the form of reducing exposure to toxins and adopting a nutrient-dense, real food dietary approach. To be clear, this approach is notreferring to fad cleanse diets, such as the cabbage soup diet, a juice cleanse, or the detox diet packets sold at CVS Pharmacy. A nutrient dense, real food dietary approach includes consuming (preferably organic) vegetables, properly raised meat and poultry, wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds, and fruits, while eliminating processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugar, vegetable and seed oils, artificial fats, grains, soy, dairy, alcohol, and other foods that are known to be inflammatory.
There are some people who may benefit from a more targeted nutritional detox, but not until they first focus on the basics of reducing exposure to toxins and adopting a real food template for two or three months. If someone is still experiencing nagging symptoms after working on diet and lifestyle factors for a few months, then they may want to consider partnering with a qualified nutritionist or health care professional to implement a more specific, individualized detox protocol. The types of symptoms that indicate a need for specific liver support may include:
- Frequently congested sinuses, itchy eyes, or other allergy symptoms
- Bloating, gas, or other chronic digestive symptoms
- Acne, rashes, or other skin issues
- Joint pain
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Hormonal imbalances
- Weight loss resistance
- Chronic fatigue
- Frequent cravings
- Difficulty getting or staying asleep
- Chemical sensitivity, including sensitivity to fragrances and scents
- Past history of or ongoing exposure to toxins
Have you ever implemented a cleanse or detox diet? What did it consist of and how did it go for you? Share your story in the comments below!