Quick: What do you need for a “detox?”
You might think you need a really restrictive diet, a whole bunch of teas and juices, and an endless supply or closely regimented supplements. That’s what a lot of programs suggest, after all. But the truth is you need none of them.
In fact, by using a “detox” program, you’ll be denying your body the very things it needs to remove toxins and get healthy.
Research suggests that detox programs don’t actually remove potentially harmful toxins from your body to improve health. There is also evidence they can do harm. Even more, one study found that detox program makers could not identify what toxins were being eliminated and what “detox” even meant.
A realistic detox program is all about promoting liver health and getting the body the tools it needs to function optimally. When this is happening, toxins leave the body via various processes carried out by organs like your lungs, sweat glands, and liver.
One of the first things to do is limit your exposure to toxins. This means cleaning produce thoroughly before eating, peeling if required, and cooking if necessary. It also means avoiding foods that cause inflammation and promote weight gain.
Low-grade inflammation and weight gain can both create an internal environment that is not efficient for toxin removal. It can cause fat gain in the liver and make your cells and organs more susceptible to damage.
The next thing you can do improve your liver’s ability to metabolize toxins. Your liver is your body’s natural detoxifier, so the better it works, the healthier you’re likely to be. Eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that feature sulforaphane can help. This compound can help regulate the detox process and enhance antioxidant activity in your liver.
A healthy liver can’t do it alone. Eating a diet rich in fiber, particularly soluble/fermentable fiber, can enhance the detox process.
Soluble fiber found in oat bran, beans, legumes, nut, seeds, and different fruits and veggies binds to toxins to carry them through the digestive system for excretion. This type of fiber also feeds gut bacteria in the digestive tract to boost the power of the liver and kidneys to get toxins out.
You don’t really need anything special to do a detox—just a healthy liver. You can get that by making the right decisions at the grocery store and eating a healthful high-fiber diet that’s high in various fruits, vegetables, and minimally processed plant-based foods.