Home cures for detoxification

Ever thought of help from your kitchen to cleanse your body of toxins and promote a healthier you?

CilantroIn the process of our day-to-day life we tend to accumulate a good, nay bad, deal of toxins and other wastes, including pollutants, in our body. Toxins, in the short or long-run, do our body no good - they only cause health problems including clogging in the arteries, to highlight one major example.

It is imperative that we purge toxins from the inside-out.

The process of cleansing we are now going to talk about is natural flushing. You could think of the process as something we often do to clear our drainage system. When a drain is clogged, we add a compound. The substance dissolves the blockage. Soon after, the resulting compound is also removed from the drain through the plumbing system.

The natural flushing process, we are going to discuss, works in the same manner in our body. But, don't be alarmed - it is safe and its health effects are immense.

To help you understand the technique better, let's think of a common example. Our digestive system, an excellent natural process. Think of digestion and assimilation of food. Or, the natural action of amino acids, or proteins, and minerals - to which blood cells fasten to obtain iron. Iron is fundamental for the transportation of nutrients within the body.

To use another illustration. Green vegetables contain iron. When we consume them, our digestive process releases the iron to which it is bound. Iron is now combined with amino acids and carried through the intestinal membranes into the bloodstream.

You get the point. The whole flushing, or detox, process is, therefore, dependent on our nutritional intake, especially foods rich in vitamin C - or, supplements - or, iron. Put simply, vitamin C combines with iron. It now boosts and quickens the absorption of iron. And, once iron enters the bloodstream, it is freed from the proteins to which it was bound.

Why detox

You know about the many toxins that we ingest from the air and elsewhere. This is one part. Ever thought of the tiny pieces of metal, the mainstay of dental treatment, for instance, which are actually toxic, albeit they are still used in practice? It is an established fact that they can cause heart disease and cancer.

When a disease-causing free radical wallops into one of these tiny pieces of toxic metal, it could cause a deluge of free radicals - a dangerous outcome.

Free radicals

Free radicals are a large number of harmful compounds released during any inflammatory/infection process. Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if anti-oxidants are unavailable, or, if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur.

Major anti-oxidants such as vitamins C and E are evidenced to protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals. These anti-oxidant nutrients don't transform free radicals, but they actually act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage that can lead to cellular damage and disease, including heart disorders, diabetes, and cancer.

There are a host of natural chemicals and substances found in nature that have anti-oxidant properties and beneficial effects. Experts advise that the best way to ensure adequate intake of anti-oxidant nutrients is through a balanced diet consisting of 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. If not, a supplement with the right proportion of vitamins and minerals is obligatory.

Flush, naturally

Do you know there are a handful of easy-to-do home detox programmes that you could do to catch the free radical phantom by its neck?

  • Drink good, clean, pure water - at least 10 glasses everyday. Water is a great detox agent [See box]
  • Sustain at least two bowel movements everyday. If you can't get it going, you may add psyllium, or isapgol [from the genus, plantago] to your diet plan. Take a tablespoon of isapgol in a glass of water, last thing before bed-time
  • You may also use chlorella to remove toxic substances from the connective tissues, likewise.

Chlorella is a protein-rich algae with high levels of chlorophyll. It is one of the purest, most potent forms of food on Earth. Only thing is - it may not be tolerated by some people.

You can use garlic and MSM [methyl-sulphonyl-methane], a natural form of organic sulphur - an essential nutrient available in capsule/pill form - to remove the toxic effects of mercury, to highlight another example. Garlic and MSM are rich in sulphur - sulphur, as you know, is a good anti-mercury agent. It is always good to use garlic in food. Garlic improves the body's sulphur reserves, which are vital for good health.

Clove is another good flushing agent; try to eat 2-3 cloves everyday.

You may also introduce cilantro [a member of the carrot family; also referred to as Chinese parsley and coriander] to your diet. Cilantro helps "muster" mercury, and other toxins, and flushes them out of the body through excretion. Cilantro, which is readily available, is an indispensable part of our diet. Which is good!

You may also take a multi-purpose vitamin supplement on a daily basis — to bring about the detox process. However, make sure that it contains all the essential minerals.

Natural garlic

Natural garlic, or garlic detox pills, available at certain health food stores, are useful for your natural detox plan. They -

  • Prevent and reduce plaque build-up in arteries
  • Lower elevated blood pressure; and, thin the blood by inhibiting platelet aggregation
  • Reduce blood clots
  • Restore blood flow, and provide oxygen, and nutrients to tissues and cells
  • Improve heart, brain, kidney, lung and all organ functions
  • Make bones stronger
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles.

Note: Experts suggest that garlic capsules should be supplemented with a good multivitamin/multimineral formulation that also includes sufficient amounts of magnesium and zinc.

Last, but not the least, consult a therapist before you begin a natural flush treatment programme, and find out what suits you and your individual needs best.

Water Detox Plan

Water is the foundation of good health and wellbeing. It also holds the key to removing toxins - the body's detoxifying and cleansing efforts.

All of us need to drink at least one-and-a-half to two litres of good, pure, filtered water every day.

If you drink hard water, you need to take a little bit more, because the surface tension of water is high, unlike carrot juice, for instance. Also, if you are the "dry" type, you need to consume more water.

This is not all. The more warm/hot the weather, the more water you will need, because large amounts of water are lost by sweating. It is best you regulate your water intake, in humid climes, in such a way that it meets your individual requirements.

Listen to your body's signals - drink good, clean and filtered water the moment your body tells you to hydrate.

It is not uncommon for many of us to think of consuming an extra glass of water quite a task, even when we are thirsty. It is also a routine we have neglected to balance, due to our many preoccupations and/or lack of time.

It would be no exaggeration to say that depletion of water can lead to an emergency. Just think of it - when we are dehydrated, our entire body, most importantly our physiological parameters, are put on high alert. This is nature's way of maintaining balance. When our body does not have enough water to sustain, it closes all our natural outlets and prevents water loss. Result: the body's signal to stop water loss can limit metabolism and elimination of wastes.

It is good to set a time for drinking water. Take at least two glasses of water soon after you wake up in the morning. This will not only hydrate your body, but it will also prevent acidity, bloating, or gas. Taking a glass of water one hour before lunch is another good idea. You may also include a glass of water at 5.00 pm, and at bed-time.

The bottom line: it takes more than just patience and perseverance to cultivate the idea of drinking water adequately. When you do this, you will realise how good you feel.

In addition, think also of one major, supplementary benefit. Your skin will glow and you will have more vitality and energy!

Simple tricks

  • Write a diary or journal, and make an entry every time you drink water during the course of the day, or wakeful hours
  • In the event you find it difficult to keep a tab, remember to use pointers to drink water. Have tags - when you brush your teeth, eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. Or, use prompts such as drinking a glass of water, before you leave for work, or one hour before lunch
  • Keep in "touch" with water always. Carry a bottle of water wherever you are — at work, or home. Also, make sure you have an additional bottle with you, which is always full.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

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Rajgopal Nidamboor
Rajgopal Nidamboor, a trained physician, is a writer, commentator, and author. In a career spanning 25 years, Nidamboor has published over 2,000 articles, on a variety of subjects, two coffee table books, an E-book, and a primer on therapeutics, aside from an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy.

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