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3 Natural Ways to Detox and Save Money

After another year of stress eating due to covid and all the hysteria and having difficulty maintaining your routine of healthy eating and exercise, the promise of a reboot via a cleanse or detox looks enticing. Whether it's activated charcoal, supplements, green juice, apple cider vinegar, or an herbal tea, there are many "detox" tinctures to fit even the most demanding, health-conscious consumer.

The detox industry is big business on the internet, making over 52 billion dollars in 2021. The idea isn't new. Since the second century, detoxing your body through various means has been around, with enemas and vomiting being the method of choice back then. Detox diets, supplements, and drinks are supposed to cleanse your body of toxins that accumulate from the diet, stress, and your environment. Some detox sellers even claim that it helps to promote weight loss.

The word "detox" itself indicates that hazardous toxins must be removed for the body to function correctly. According to the sellers, dangerous substances from everyday foods may cause cancer, damage organs, or lead to death. What they don't tell you is that you already have a fantastic system within your body that does an excellent job of ridding your body of "toxins" all by itself. It's called your liver, kidneys, and lungs. If they're functioning correctly (if they weren't, you'd know), your body is already maintaining the healthy balance it needs to perform the function of detoxing.

There's no objective evidence that the detoxes sold by many health gurus even rid the body of any toxins. While most may be ineffective, they are usually not harmful but come with their fair share of risk.

Using fear of "toxins" is how these products are marketed. But what exactly are the "toxins" they're referring to? The ambiguity is partially why they succeed because it all sounds so scary, and indeed, no one wants them in their body. To my knowledge, the "toxins" have never been identified by a reliable scientific study. Consuming juice for a few days is not a balanced approach but most likely won't cause harm to your body. However, if you have a history of kidney or digestive issues, it definitely may not be something you attempt without a licensed medical doctor's consent. You do have to weigh whether or not you want to be running to the bathroom, feel exhausted and hungry for a few days, especially if you plan on exercising.

Additionally, there's some evidence that it may affect mental health. If one has a history of an eating disorder, purging disorder, or Orthorexia Nervosa, a detox is not the best choice. The risk to mental health may be much more harmful than any physiological impact a detox regimen may have.

When people relay to me that they desire a detox, they often want to hit the reset button on their health. You can do that naturally with good nutrition and develop long-term healthy habits. Frankly, cleanses, charcoals, and detox drinks take your money and don't deliver on their promises and are a bit of a scam.

Here's what you can do instead:

Sleep Well, Sleep Enough

Try to get at least 7 hours a night. Your brain and regulatory systems in the body undergo a natural detoxifying process when you are sleeping. Removing waste products that contribute to Alzheimer's is one of the many functions. Not to mention helping the body maintain a healthy metabolism and fight chronic disease. It is a well-known fact that inadequate sleep may contribute to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

Consistent inadequate sleep may also contribute to weight gain. Research tells us that those who don't sleep well tend to crave high in added sugar carbohydrates. It may be the body's way of trying to get an extra boost of energy to combat fatigue.

Sleep also helps the body maintain a thriving immune system. When you're at rest, the body can repair and replace where it needs to fight viruses and infections that it may have acquired throughout the day.

Drink Water

Water is critical for more than feeling hydrated. Bodily fluids flow with water to work with the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Waste is released via all physical processes. Having enough water is critical to keep blood vessels open—those byproducts flowing to the liver and kidneys where they can be filtered out. Kidneys need enough water so that waste products can diffuse from the blood into the kidney and leave your body as urine. When you're not sufficiently hydrated, your kidneys try to conserve water by concentrating your urine. The higher concentration of waste products in your urine means you lose less water, but it may increase your risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

There is no scientific consensus on how much water to drink. We have all probably heard at some point that adults should be drinking eight 8 ounce glasses a day. This is a hypothetical number. I tell clients to get a reusable water bottle and carry it with them or have it on their desk while working or at school. This increases the chances of them sipping on it periodically throughout the day. As a side note, you're also going to be using the restroom more often, so keep that in mind.

Ironically, some detox methods—like colon cleansing, which can cause cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea—may work against you by dehydrating you. You lose fluids by excessively urinating or defecating, making it more difficult for your liver and kidneys to work properly. With some health conditions, this can wreak havoc on your digestive health.

Keep Moving

One point worth mentioning is the importance of movement in how it aids your intestines, keep you regular, and rids your body of waste products. Excessive sitting or a sedentary lifestyle contributes to a poorly functioning digestive system and will work against intestinal motility, causing constipation.

Microorganisms lining the gut wall are referred to as the gut microbiota. Keeping it healthy and functioning correctly is one of the most important things you can do for health due to its role in detoxification and digestion. As we continue to learn more about this critical system, we know that imbalances in the gut may lead to obesity, Irritable Bowel Disease, and possibly contribute to mental health.

Diet, antibiotic use, hypertension, and excessive weight gain or loss all affect our gut microbiota, and exercise impacts all of these factors and alters the gut lining composition. Exercise might be essential as a therapeutic factor for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Moderate exercise like walking or biking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes five times per week is all it takes. Walking during your lunch hour or after dinner is a simple way to improve digestion and help detoxify your organs.

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