What is a Cleansing Diet?
Cleansing diet, sometimes known as detoxification diet, is the body’s natural, ongoing process of neutralizing or eliminating toxins from the body. Toxins are anything that can potentially harm your health, including waste products that result from normal organ activity, the liver, colon, kidneys, lungs, skin, blood and lymphatic systems work together to ensure that toxins are transformed chemically to less harmful compounds and excreted from the body. A cleansing diet helps to accelerate this process.
Why is a Cleansing Diet Important?
Although cleansing is immediate thought of as a treatment for alcohol or drug dependency, the term is also used to refer to a program of diet, herbs, and other methods of removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body.
There are many different types of cleansing diets. Generally, a cleansing diet is a short-term diet that:
Minimizes the amount of chemicals ingested for example, by eating organic food.
Emphasizes foods that provide the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that the body needs for cleansing
Reducing or eliminating foods that clog the digestive system. Foods like animal fat.
Contains foods, such as high fiber foods and water, that draw out and eliminate toxins by increasing the frequency of bowel movements and urination.
Why do people go on a cleansing diet?
A growing body of research suggests that many of the chemicals we ingest daily through food, water, and air can become deposited in fat cells in our bodies. Toxins include pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in food, chemicals from food packaging, household cleaners, detergents, food additives, heavy metals, pollution, drugs, and cigarette smoke. A diet that lacks certain nutrients may also impair our natural ability to detoxify chemicals, which further leads to their build-up in the body.
The cumulative load, called the “body burden”, is thought to lead to disease and has been linked to hormonal imbalance, impaired immune function, nutritional deficiency, and an inefficient metabolism. Signs are thought to include indigestion, poor sleep, poor concentration and sluggishness, headaches, body odor, bad breath, fatigue, poor skin, and muscle pain.
Benefits of a Cleansing Diet?
People often report improved energy, clearer skin, regular bowel movements, improved digestion, and increased concentration and clarity and in may cases reversal of chronic diseases after a cleansing diet.
Who Shouldn’t Try a cleansing Diet?
Anyone considering a cleansing diet should consult a qualified health professional first.
Pregnant or nursing women or children should not go on a cleansing diet. It is not intended for alcohol or drug detoxification.
The good news is that there is a lot we can do right now to assist our body’s cleansing process by choosing more cleansing foods. The following are five common, inexpensive foods that are most effective for daily cleansing.
- Water. Since our bodies are about 70 percent water, adequate hydration is foundational to anything else we do. The bottom line is that if you are not drinking enough water, your cleansing attempts will be limited. The most important time to drink water is first thing in the morning, since the body has essentially been “fasting” throughout the night and is ready to get rid of toxins. Thus, I recommend drinking two glasses of water upon arising, following it with another glass about 30 minutes later preferably before breakfast. Be sure to drink water that has been filtered of contaminants. Kangen water is the best drinking water I have found for its cleansing and super hydrating properties.
- Dark leafy green vegetables. All dark, leafy green vegetables are packed with chlorophyll, which helps to eliminate toxins (especially heavy metals) and supports the liver. Be sure to choose organic greens – especially spinach, kale, collards, bok choy, beet tops – and eat them raw or lightly steamed. Greens such as watercress and arugula are slightly diuretic and work with the kidneys and liver to flush out toxins. All dark leafy greens are also rich in minerals that will strengthen the internal organs and help the body cleanse more efficiently.
- Lemons and limes. In addition to being high in vitamin C, lemons and lime are excellent liver cleanser. Drinking lemon water helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form so they can be easily flushed from the body. According to Jethro Kloss, author of Back to Eden, lemon water liquefies the bile and helps control excess bile flow. Lemon provides a strengthening agent to liver enzymes and can help fix oxygen and calcium levels in the liver, which affects blood oxygen levels. Squeeze half a lemon into a large glass of water in the morning and drink up!
- Garlic. This versatile healing herb is a powerful antioxidant and one of nature’s most potent natural antibiotic. Garlic also activates liver enzymes that filter toxins and increases circulation. The sulfur and hydrogen compounds in garlic are powerful chelators of toxic heavy metals so that they can be safely excreted from the body. Eating raw garlic by chopping it up and putting it on top of your foods or in your water is the most effective way to get the benefits. If you are worried about garlic breath, you can choose an odorless and tasteless form of aged garlic extract, which contains a lot of the antioxidant properties of garlic. However, raw garlic will have more significant cleansing effects.
- Cayenne. Also called capsicum or red pepper, this herb aids digestion and improves circulation – both of which will significantly help the cleansing process. Cayenne also acts as a catalyst for other herbs, so it is a good complement when taking garlic. Cayenne is full of phytochemicals and nutrients which are especially good for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen and stomach. If you need some “get up and go,” put a half teaspoon of cayenne in a glass of water or add it to your lemon water.
In addition to the cleansing diet, you should further assist your body’s cleansing process, you may want to eliminate or at least reduce your intake of animal products, eat a higher percentage of raw foods each day, and consider fasting for one or more days. Herbal colon cleansing products, colon hydrotherapy, saunas, and stretching exercises and deep breathing practices will also aid the cleansing process.