The Most Common Detox Questions Answered
As we head into summer, many people are starting to consider a detox as part of their journey towards a “summer body”.
Everywhere you look there is a new juice cleanse, a new detox diet and a lot of conflicting information. It can be incredibly confusing. Are they really effective? Do they really help with weight loss? When is the best time to do them? How many days should you detox for? We’ve taken the most common detox questions and answered them for you here…
Q: How do I know if I need to detox?
A: You need to detox when your body is overloaded with toxins. These toxins present differently in everybody, but some common signs include bad skin, having problems with weight and constantly lacking energy.
Our bodies detoxify naturally, but after constant exposure to toxins, the process can become compromised and our body can struggle to cleanse our organs and tissues properly. Eating a diet that incorporates a lot of meat, dairy and processed or fatty foods can clog the system. Regardless of your diet choices, the state of your detoxification mechanisms and your exposure to toxins (not just food, but chemicals too), just about everyone can benefit from the occasional detox. Think of it as a way to reboot your system, and give your body a fresh start.
Q: What exactly does a detox involve?
A: Detoxes vary a lot and depend on the individual, their goals and level of health. Generally, they involve a combination of natural health products, dietary improvements and lifestyle changes. Detoxes are designed to encourage the removal of toxins from your body, improving your liver function and overall well-being.
Q: Do I have to eat differently during a detox?
A: Most of the time, a change in diet is necessary, but it depends on your usual diet and the detox programme you have chosen. It is best to eat foods that can be digested easily, and of course natural, wholesome food is always preferred. Steamed or raw vegetables, chicken, fish, soups, and broths are all good options. Try to eat what is in season too, as this will ensure you’re getting the appropriate nutrients for your body. At the end of the day, it really comes down to what works for you. While some people can survive quite happily on raw salads and grains, others need more variety.
Q: Do I have to give up coffee and wine?
A: Unfortunately, yes. Both coffee and alcohol are difficult for your liver to process. For the best result, it is important to give up both for the duration of your detox; you’ll feel better at the end of it. It is a good idea to start weaning yourself off caffeine and alcohol for a little while before you start your detox – it makes the adjustment a lot easier!
Q: How often should you detox?
A: While it is reasonably common practice to do two detoxes a year, it really depends on your lifestyle. There is no reason why you cannot do more if you feel you need them. If you are feeling sluggish or if you’ve been eating a lot of processed foods, it could be a good time for a cleanse.
Q: Will I lose weight by doing a cleanse or detox?
A: Often people will lose weight while detoxing, particularly around their face and stomach, but it is important to remember that the purpose of a detox is to cleanse your organs, not to shed kilograms. With that said, doing a cleanse before you start a weight loss program is a great way to condition your body for the journey.
The weight loss usually happens because you start to retain less water. Water retention can occur as a result of sugar consumption, food intolerances and excess carbs. Cutting these out of your diet also improves bloating.
Q: How will I know if the detox is working?
A: Everybody is different, and the effects of a detox vary. A cleanse works by releasing the toxins and as they work their way out of your body, they can cause a variety of side-effects along the way. It is quite normal to feel worse before you feel better. Sometimes people experience headaches, fatigue, nausea, and even flu-like symptoms. Others experience bad skin, stronger smelling sweat and urine or a coating on their tongue that causes bad breath. While these kinds of symptoms are all signs that your body is detoxifying, they can be quite overwhelming, even if they are temporary. If they continue, you should consult your healthcare professional.
Q: How long should I detox for?
A: It all comes down to the detox program you have chosen to do and how much it is impacting your body. Most people find seven days is long enough, but if it feels good, there is nothing to say you can’t continue detoxing for twenty or even thirty days.
Q: When is the best time to start a detox?
A: Spring is a really nice time of year for a little internal cleaning. A change in season in general is a great time to do a detox. It is during these times that our body’s requirements change, so doing a week or month-long detox can give you a boost of energy right when you need it. Otherwise, it is always a good idea to do a detox after a time of consistent overindulgence.
Q: Can I take my regular supplements and medication during a cleanse?
A: Often you can continue taking your medication or supplements while you are detoxing, but it depends what they are. It is always best to check with your healthcare professional before starting a cleanse, just to be sure.
Q: Can I exercise while I’m detoxing?
A: You can, but do not overdo it. Sweating can help your body to detoxify, but it is best to exercise caution. Your body needs rest during a detox and if your program includes fasting or a large decrease in calories, you may not have as much energy to burn.