As busy women, we don’t always get time to sit down and digest all the facts we need to make important decisions about our health. From the Science world, we hear words like detox, probiotics, and prebiotics, and we start to think: Do I really need to detox?
I will explain the importance of Medical, Sugar, and Diet detoxes and then maybe you will be able to make healthy decisions for yourself.
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A Medical Detox is necessary when people are addicted to, or physically depend on, a substance and want to stop taking it. Stopping “cold turkey” leads to consequences from withdrawal, and result in anxiety attacks, tremors, or even life-threatening seizures. Regardless of the dependency, it is always best to go through your medical practitioner for a proper medical detox. Medical detoxes give your body time to gradually minimize the effects of withdrawal from a substance.
Sugar Detox. Although sugar is not a drug it is absorbed quickly. How it affects the reward center in your brain makes it act similarly to addictive drugs. Sugar withdrawal could include symptoms of irritability or sadness. To break the cycle of sugar cravings, you could try drinking smoothies to retrain your taste buds. Adding protein to smoothies helps to make you feel fuller and satisfied longer without craving sugar. Highly refined grains, like white bread and white rice, have a similar effect. Like any process of detoxing, ridding your body of the substance (you crave) must be gradual so you don’t have an extreme reaction.
Diet Detox is probably one of the biggest trends these days. There are many approaches to cleanse the body, yet some work and some don’t. In fact, there’s no real scientific basis for having a certain diet that detoxifies the liver from the foods you eat.
Your liver IS your main detoxification organ in the body. One of its jobs is to break down and eliminate substances from your body. Your kidneys perform a similar job. If, for example, your liver becomes overworked and inflamed by ingesting excessive amounts of acetaminophen or alcohol, a juice cleanse diet will not fix the problem. The best solution is to give your liver a break by eliminating the substance(s) that caused the toxicity.
Restrictive diets may include things like green juices, apple cider, and cayenne pepper combinations or even special supplements. A problem with certain detox diets is restricting your body of calories for too long, then your body breaks down fat to activate the needed sugar for the brain. Fat metabolism produces an acidic substance called ketone bodies, which, at high levels, are toxic to the body. Try not to get too caught up in a special diet or buying a ton of supplements for the purpose of cleansing or detoxing your liver.
Lastly, we need to discuss gut health. Having the wrong kind of bacteria in your gut can make the difference in your digestion, weight, skin and immunity. Sugar and processed food with hydrogenated oils promote the growth of bad bacteria.
So how do you get more good bacteria in your gut?
Prebiotics are indigestible foods that promote the growth of good bacteria, like greens, garlic and bananas. These foods are not completely digested by the body and they pass through to the intestines for them to finish the job. Probiotics are fermented foods like yogurt (low sugar), pickles, and kimchee, which contain good bacteria for your gut. You need both prebiotics and probiotics to keep your gut in balance.
As you can see, Detox is one of those broadly used terms that addresses addiction, cravings, or diets/processes that are marketed to remove toxins from the body. So, should you detox your body? Sure, but the best thing you can do is think of detox as cleaning up your diet and ridding your body of unhealthy foods. Increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut by eating more prebiotics and probiotics. You can start today because only you can change your eating habits.