Monday, March 22, 2010

Why Detox

Detoxification is about utilizing simple, noninvasive methods to transform inner toxins left behind by pollution or natural functions such as protein metabolism. Clearing out excess waste and dead cells can revitalize your body's healing capacities while increasing energy and improving both daily routines and fitness performance.

A toxin is any element the body doesn't have a use for, like lead and mercury and hydrocarbons, and more mundane things like food colorings and hydrogenated fats. These toxins are in just about everything we come into contact with: polluted air and water, pesticides in foods, and chemicals in shampoos and medications. We store them in fat cells, in the brain and in the nervous system.

Accumulating these inner poisons can lead to a wide range of symptoms such as sluggishness, fatigue, slow metabolism, poor digestion, skin disorders, headache or persistent coughing. (All of which, of course, do nothing to enhance your fitness regimen.) It may also increase your risk of arthritis, heart disease or cancer.

The quickest, safest means of minimizing your toxin load is to reduce your junk intake. With a healthy diet, the proficiency of the organs directly involved in detoxification the liver, the intestinal tract and the kidneys is a given. Avoiding tobacco and excessive caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, dairy products and refined sugars helps maintain your body's filtering system. And increasing your fiber consumption with grains, fruits and vegetables promotes more regular elimination.

Inner cleansing can also be facilitated by avoiding food, at least for short periods of time with the proper precautions. During a fast, solid foods are abandoned for one to three days or more in favor of fruit juice, herbal tea and vegetable broth. Proponents argue that fasting reduces the stress of digestion, better enabling the body to heal itself. Consult your physician before beginning any fast.

Use supplements during a prolonged juice fast. Miso, a paste of fermented soybean, replenishes essential nutrients while supporting colon function and intestinal bacteria, both important in detoxification. Spirulina, an algae powder, provides additional protein and may aid those who experience fatigue during fasting.

There are more extreme forms of cleansing, of course. Colonic irrigations rinse out the intestines using vast amounts of water, and some perform regular enemas using water, herbs or even diluted coffee.

A problem with artificially inducing natural functions is that your body will get lazy and stop doing the work on its own.

Massage, particularly lymphatic massages offered by certified therapists, increases the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid, both of which transport toxins away from cells. In addition to massage, spas offer various body scrubs that remove dead skin and unclog pores, making it easier to sweat out toxins.

And sweating, it turns out, is one of the best ways to detoxify. A good workout stimulates perspiration, a great means of elimination through the skin. And any regular exercise regimen also improves metabolism. Because exercise does boost the production of natural toxins, he adds, it's important to stay properly hydrated during and after a workout.

Water is always a primary part of any type of detox program, because it helps dilute and eliminate accumulated toxins. Drink eight to 10 glasses per day of clean, filtered water during any cleansing cycle. If an injury keeps you from exercising, you can still stimulate your sweat glands with daily saunas (unless you have high blood pressure), but you'll need twice as much water and some mineral supplements after steam-cleaning yourself.

Too much detoxing can do more harm than good. Some people overdo it with fasting, laxatives, enemas, colonics, diuretics and even exercise, which can result in a loss of essential nutrients. You end up creating a protein or vitamin deficiency. Even sanctioned forms of detoxing can bring on side effects such as fatigue, headaches or irritability, though they tend to be temporary. Three or four detox treatments per year planned with medical guidance are enough to clean out most anyone's system.

Hundreds of herbs detoxify the blood and tissues and help strengthen the functioning of specific organs. Here are some of the most beneficial examples. Add them to foods or teas, or utilize supplements according to manufacturer instructions.

* Garlic is a natural antibiotic that cleanses and lowers the fat content in blood. Consider supplementing with the kind that doesn't disperse garlic odor throughout your system.

* Echinacea is a lymph cleanser that improves lymphocyte and phagocyte performance, though most recent research indicates that it doesn't do much for preventing colds.

* Dandelion root filters toxins and helps purify the liver and blood.

* Cayenne pepper increases fluid elimination and sweat production.

* Burdock root is a skin cleanser with great antibacterial and antifungal properties that can improve liver function.

* Licorice root is a mild laxative that detoxifies and promotes biochemical balance.

* Yellow dock root contains vitamin C and helps flush out a sluggish liver.

* Sarsaparilla root contains saponins, which reduce microbes and toxins.

* Oregon grape root stimulates and cleanses the colon.

* Parsley leaf is a diuretic that flushes the kidneys.

* Goldenseal root stimulates detoxification and helps cleanse the blood, liver and kidneys.

* Ginger root stimulates circulation and sweating.

About the Author
Independent Watkins Associate Douglas Adams I.D. 376968 "Everyday choices effect the health of our families and our environment. Household products are one of the largest contributors of health problems in our homes. Cleaners containing ammonia, chlorine and other chemical ingredients have been known to cause respiratory irritation. Minimize your family's exposure to these harmful toxins with Watkins Premium Natural Cleaning Line!"

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