You have probably heard of or even tried a “detox diet”. It’s currently a popular trend in the world of nutrition. “Detoxing” describes a process that removes toxins from your body. Toxins is a pretty general term; it can mean byproducts of metabolism such as urea, the breakdown of medications, or you may even hear someone say they had a wild weekend and they need to “detox”. The human body is fascinating because it has entire processes and organs dedicated to the removal of toxins. These organs and processes are at work all the time. Even so, your body can never remove 100% of all toxins in your body, but rather keeps them at a healthy and manageable level.
In recent years, there has been an influx of diets and cleanses focusing on detoxing that has flooded the consumer market. These cleanses often focus on consuming nothing but juices for a certain period of time; this could be problematic for your body. These juices often contain no protein or fiber, and very little caloric content. Protein is necessary to perform a wide variety of metabolic processes and plays a large role in muscle health. Fiber helps maintain proper gastrointestinal health, lowering cholesterol, and managing blood sugar levels. And calories? We need quality calories to give us energy, and without enough calories it could lead to unhealthy weight loss.
While juice cleanses aren’t the healthiest options, there are steps you can take to help your body along with its natural detoxing processes:
- Stay well hydrated and aim for consuming between 5 and 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Consume an adequate amount of fiber
- Eat a nice balance of cruciferous vegetables, berries, artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks, turmeric, and green tea. These foods have been suggested to support the body’s natural detoxification pathways
- Consume adequate protein to maintain optimum glutathione levels. This enzyme is critical to detoxification processes
- Consult your physician about taking a multivitamin. Certain vitamin and minerals enable metabolic processes that enhance detoxification
- Include some fermented foods in your well-balanced diet. Foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi, or sauerkraut help to manage toxins that flourish in gut bacteria
For more information on detox and fad diets, please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website: