Your Guide to Detox

Detox, in simple terms, means the removal of stored toxic products from the bowel, the blood, liver, the skin, and the kidneys

ExercisingDetox not only means the removal of toxic substances stored in body fat, it also relates to any change in diet - especially from a poor diet to a balanced, or healthy, diet. Such a diet will have a detoxifying effect in the body. This is especially intense in people who switch over from normal to a raw food diet. The change can bring about not just a dramatic effect, but also effective detoxification.

Such a diet plan is also primarily based on the consumption of fresh vegetable juices for a specific period. The duration of the therapy may vary from a couple of weeks to a month - but, the overall benefits, in either form, are immense.

It's everywhere

We are exposed to many toxic elements in the air, including pollutants, on a day-to-day basis. You would not even know - though you may know!

Our body is geared by Nature to attend to the natural process of eliminating or neutralising toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. But, constant exposure to pollutants is something we cannot avoid - it is inevitable.

This applies equally well to even some of our blessed friends who live in clean environments and eat organic food. Despite sylvan conditions, they are also prone to attract toxins in the system over a long period of time.

We tend to accumulate a host of unwanted elements — fats, mucous, faecal matter, mineral/toxic chemicals, and so on, too. These can lead to a build-up of toxic effects in our body systems, including the major organs and tissues, and affect the overall functioning of our body.

The problem gets compounded by the fact that toxic chemicals, over a period of time, cannot be easily eliminated from our body. They re-circulate and get stored in the liver, body fat, or other parts of the body. They are a major source of illness.

Symptoms

  • Frequent, inexplicable headaches
  • Chronic respiratory affections or sinusitis
  • Unusual body odour, bad breath, and coated tongue
  • Food allergies, poor digestion, or chronic constipation with gas.
  • Brittle nails and hair
  • Psoriasis, skin problems, including adult acne
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Abnormally poor memory, chronic insomnia, anxiety, depression, and irritability
  • Chronic fatigue, or environmental sensitivities, especially to smell.

It may also be mentioned that heart disease and cancer are two of the major toxicity-related illnesses. So are arthritis, allergies, obesity, and many skin problems. Add to this a variety of problems such as headaches, gastro-intestinal problems and immune disorders, and they present a big toxicity portrait - whether you live in a city, or natural surroundings.

Types of detox

There are specific detox treatments that can be taken by mouth. They provide for cleansing of the colon, the blood, and the kidneys. You also need to think of the lungs and the skin, which are major organs of elimination.

Exercise is one primary method of detox. Doing physical exercises in the fresh air and sunshine are recommended detox plans. They are as good as drinking water - which is a natural detox agent.

In the early part of the last century, for instance, it was not uncommon for medical practitioners to prescribe a coffee enema. Coffee enema was found to propel the liver into healthy function. It ain't a popular idea, today.

Remember - it is very vital for you to keep your liver function at its optimal health, because the liver is the "toxic waste depot" of the body. Only when the liver functions well would our body be able to perform the several complex chemical conversion activities needed to reduce toxins and also eliminate them from the body.

Simple cleansing methods

Even if you are eating a well-balanced diet, you may still be affected by toxic build-up in the body. Or, even if you feel you are healthy, it must be mentioned that a cleansing agent can re-establish body vitality in the wake of environmental toxins that are in the air and carry disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites.

It is not that you should resort to a major detox programme in the event. Just drinking an extra glass, or two, of water than you usually do, during the course of the day, could be more than useful to eliminate toxins from the body.

Fasts

You would do well to first adopt a fasting programme in consultation with a nutritionist/therapist, not by yourself or through a much-hyped self-help plan. A nutritionist can better understand your needs - and, also your ability to adapt to a fasting programme. Not all of us can withstand the rigours of a fasting programme. Some of us adjust slowly, some quickly. But, we won't know unless we undergo a fasting plan. This is where a nutritionist/therapist will be in a better position to adjust and recommend a programme that will do us good. Nutritionists/therapists can also plan a slower fasting plan, if required, and yet help you remain "in the zone" - to detoxify the body.

Remember that during the course of a juice fast, for instance, it is important to refrain from some foods. Just one serving of any restricted food can affect the detoxification process. This is one major reason why professional supervision is useful.

Easy detox plan

Do you know that simple dietary supplements have it in them to help your body eliminate toxins? If you embark on a diet rich in fibre, vitamin C, and other anti-oxidants such as vitamin E, licorice, or chlorophyll, and the amino acid, glutathione, you would do your body a world of good.

Better still - you can add herbs, such as garlic, red clover, echinacea, coriander, or cayenne [capsicum], including herbal/green tea, to your diet. Herbs promote detoxification.

It may also be mentioned that some alternative medical practitioners prescribe sauna, sweat, and niacin therapy, to cleanse the body and eliminate toxins.

At the same time, you may also practice a deeper level of detox by using fresh fruits and vegetables, raw or cooked, and whole grains — both cooked and sprouted. This diet works well because it keeps fibre and water intake high and promotes colon detoxification. Brown rice is a perennial favourite in the programme with most people.

However, you should make sure that you eat lots of sprouted greens, wheat, buckwheat, sunflower, alfalfa, and clover, sprouted beans, soaked or sprouted raw nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, on a regular basis.

The advantage? Most people can manage the above mentioned detox process well - without feeling physically, physiologically or psychologically, low.

Toxins in the Air

All of us are exposed to a wide variety of pollutants in the air we breathe - this is an inescapable hazard of modern life. This includes -

  1. Dust, in general - at home, surroundings, environment, or elsewhere
  2. Carbon monoxide and lead from fuel exhaust [This has been reduced in a few countries; but, it persists elsewhere]
  3. Hydrocarbons from industrial waste
  4. Burning of fossil fuels
  5. Radiation leakage from nuclear power plants and radon at home
  6. Contaminants found in tap water, including lead, cadmium, industrial chemicals, and pesticides
  7. Other chemicals that have seeped through the soil to contaminate water.

Toxins in the air can cause a host of problems - from respiratory illnesses and other allergies to lung and other diseases. The list is long.

Assess Toxic Exposure

Toxins and minerals in excess can strongly affect your wellbeing. Here's how you can effectively assess if you have had toxic exposure and/or nutritional imbalance.

If a "yes" corresponds to two or more of the following items, you may have imbalance, or excess toxins, in your system.

  • If you use anti-perspiration sprays, lotions etc., or antacids
  • If you have had metal tooth fillings
  • If you consume seafood regularly
  • If you live or work in an industrial setting
  • If you go through the daily grind of being stuck in traffic
  • If you have chronic symptoms of any known or unknown illness
  • If you suffer from chronic gastro-intestinal symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, or gas
  • If you do not take optimal amounts of vitamin C in your diet and/or supplement
  • If you have periodontal [dental] symptoms
  • If you have rough skin, or poor wound healing
  • If you suffer from allergies
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you are subject to moody blues
  • If you are not able to concentrate; and, feel that you have memory or learning problems
  • If you get infections at the drop of a "sneeze," and recover at a snail's pace
  • If you have a reduced sense of taste or smell, or poor night vision.

If you answer "yes" on most counts, it is time you took immediate stock, and thought of getting cleared of toxins - quickly.

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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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