A Full-Body Cleanse Detox: Is It Necessary?
Full-body cleanse detox is a practice that is frequently advertised on TV, social media, and in magazines. This practice is believed to help remove toxins from your body, promote weight loss, and improve your overall health. But is this really so?
In this article, we’ll talk about what a full-body cleanse detox is, some common misconceptions about it, the potential risks, and how you can improve the natural detoxification system of your body.
What is A Full-Body Cleanse Detox?
This practice usually involves following a strict diet or using specific supplements which are believed to help your body get rid of toxins, such as tobacco, heavy metals, alcohol, and all kinds of chemicals that we get from the food we eat or the air we breathe.
The practice of whole-body detox typically requires you to:
- Be on a specific and restricted diet
- Take supplements
- Increase your intake of water and juices
- Use laxatives, enemas, or diuretics
- Undergo colonic irrigation
- Decrease exposure to toxins in your environment
- Use a sauna
Common Misconceptions About Full-Body Cleanse Detox
Proponents of full-body detox diets claim that such diets remove toxins from your body and help you shed weight. But, rarely do they explain what specific toxins these diets eliminate or how they do this.
Moreover, limited research proves the effectiveness of detox diets in humans. Detoxification diets can help you shed pounds since they require you to lower your calorie intake for a limited period of time, but they lead to weight gain when you get back to your regular eating habits. (1, 2).
In addition, your body has a detox system, meaning it can get rid of toxins by itself.
Your skin, lungs, kidneys, intestines, and liver are all organs that naturally detox your body. For instance, your skin eliminates toxins and bacteria through sweat. Your lungs release carbon dioxide. Your kidneys remove toxins from your body through the urine they produce. Your intestines also clear toxins from your body through bowel movements. And your liver detoxifies your body by filtering the blood that comes from your digestive system.
Risks Of A Full-Body Cleanse Detox
The practice of total body detox requires you to consume less food, which may lower your nutrient intake. Some detox diets require you to drink more tea and juice, which can lead to electrolyte imbalance in your body. And other detox diets require you to drink juice high in oxalates, which can harm your kidneys over time.
Additionally, using some detox products that contain laxatives can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. Moreover, if you suddenly start following a strict diet, this can also increase your risk of developing diabetes.
So, the main question raised here is: How can you detox your body completely in a healthy and safe way?
Here are 8 ways you can improve the natural detoxification system of your body:
1. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep optimizes your body’s detox system and improves your overall health.
When you sleep, your brain eliminates toxic waste byproducts that have built up during the day. (3)
When you don’t get enough sleep, neurotoxic waste products can build up in your central nervous system. (4)
In addition, lack of sleep or sleep disruption has been associated with various health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, emotional distress, depression, colorectal cancer, obesity, and dyslipidemia. (5,6)
In one study, sleeping for 6 hours a night or less was associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome. (7)
In order for the natural detoxification system of your body to function properly, you need to get 7- to 8-hour of sleep every night.
If you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep, you might consider changing your sleeping habits, such as going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day and not eating two hours before sleeping. Getting rid of all distractions before you go to bed, such as turning off your phone and the TV, can also help you fall asleep faster.
2. Limit Your Intake Of Processed Foods And Sugar
In one study, increased consumption of fried food was associated with an elevated risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. (8)
Additionally, consuming ultra-processed foods was linked with an increased risk of cancer. (9)
And when it comes to sugars containing fructose, in one study, consuming sugar-sweetened drinks has been associated with a risk of diabetes, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease. (10)
These diseases impair the function of your body’s detox system by adversely affecting the organs which play a crucial role in the detoxification process, such as your kidneys and liver.
3. Get More Physically Active
Regular physical exercise is linked to a number of health benefits and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. (11,12)
Physical inactivity leads to inflammation in the body and has adverse effects on both physical and mental health. On the other hand, regular physical activity/ exercise reduces excessive inflammation and protects against different chronic inflammation-related diseases. (13)
By minimizing inflammation, doing exercises regularly can help your body’s detoxification system function optimally as well.
4. Drink Less Alcohol
Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which is an enzyme in your liver, metabolizes alcohol to acetaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. (14,15)
In addition, one study has shown that alcohol use disorder is associated with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease. And in another study, a high average intake of alcohol was associated with mortality. (16,17)
Moreover, excessive and chronic consumption of alcohol leads to liver injury and a number of liver diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fibrosis. (18,19)
5. Drink More Water
In addition to keeping your body hydrated, water also helps improve your digestive system, regulate your body temperature, improve your skin health, and clear toxins from your body.
Water helps the cells in your body function properly and break down vitamins and minerals so that your body can use them as energy. But, those processes lead to waste products, such as carbon dioxide and urea, which can adversely affect your health if they accumulate in your blood.
Water transports carbon dioxide and urea and eliminates them from your body through breathing, urination, or sweating. That is why your body needs to stay constantly hydrated. (20)
The recommended daily water intake is 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men a day. Your water intake depends on your eating habits, where you live, and how much physically active you are. Due to these factors, your daily water intake may be lower or higher than the recommended one.
6. Consume Foods High In Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that prevent cell damage by neutralizing free radicals in the body.
Excessive exposure to pollutants, tobacco smoke, alcohol, and inadequate diet can increase the production of free radicals in your body. And when the number of free radicals is higher than that of antioxidants, this results in a condition known as oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is known to contribute to a number of conditions, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and neurological disorders. (21)
Consuming foods that are packed with antioxidants can enable your body to reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals and toxins.
Examples of antioxidants include vitamins C, A, and E, lutein, beta-carotene, selenium, and lycopene.
Foods that are a rich source of antioxidants include blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, raspberries, beans, artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, beets, kale, nuts, cocoa, and dark chocolate. Green tea and coffee contain antioxidants as well.
7. Lower Your Salt Intake
One way to detoxify your body is to remove excess water from your body.
Eating too many salty foods can lead to fluid retention in your body, particularly if you don’t drink enough water or if the function of your kidneys or liver is impaired.
It may sound paradoxical, but the best way to remove excess water from your body from eating too much salt is to drink more water. This is because when you don’t drink enough water and eat too many salty foods, an antidiuretic hormone is produced in your body, which stops you from urinating, preventing you from detoxifying.
When you drink more water, the production of this hormone is decreased, which means you can urinate, thereby clearing waste products and excess water from your body.
A good way to counterbalance some of the adverse effects of sodium is to increase your intake of foods high in potassium. Foods that are a good source of potassium include soybeans, potatoes, fish, nuts, poultry, and brown rice. Tea, milk, and coffee are also rich sources of potassium. (22)
8. Consume Foods Rich In Prebiotics
For your body’s detox system to function optimally, you need to maintain good gut health. You can do this by consuming foods rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics are fibers that promote healthy bacteria growth in your intestines.
Poor diet and dental hygiene and the use of antibiotics can disturb the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your intestines, which, in turn, can weaken your detox system and immunity as well as increase your risk of inflammation and disease. (23)
Foods that are rich in prebiotics include bananas, berries, tomatoes, legumes, wheat, oats, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, and onions. (24)
Full-Body Cleanse Detox Recipes
Here are two simple full-body cleanse detox recipes that you can make at home.
1. Cucumber Mint Detox Drink
- One cucumber
- 7-10 mint leaves
- One cup of water
- Ice cubes
- Two tablespoons lemon juice
- A couple of mint leaves and lemon rings
- Peel and chop the cucumber. Then, add it to 1 cup of water, and blend the mixture.
- Add mint leaves to the mixture.
- Add the lemon juice and more water if needed.
- Pour the drink into glasses, add a couple of ice cubes, and decorate with lemon rings.
2. Power Detox Green Smoothie
- ½ cup spinach and beet greens
- One celery stalk
- ½ banana
- One teaspoon spirulina
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- One cucumber
- ½ cup almond milk
- One lemon (juiced)
- Peel and chop the banana and cucumber.
- Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the smoothie into a glass and drink it right away.