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How to Detox

Learn how to detox your body naturally.

A liquid detox diet can help an individual lose weight and cleanse their body. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
A liquid detox diet can help an individual lose weight and cleanse their body.

Body detox, also known as detoxification, is the removal of toxic substances through methods that include fasting, drinking juices, taking herbal supplements or using laxatives. Learn how to detox via a number of different methods.

Detox Basics

Some detox methods involve fasting for several days, while others recommend a period of drinking juices only. Detox methods are often combined with special herbal supplements or teas, or other pills designed to remove toxins from the body. Taking laxatives to clean the colon is another detox method. One week before detoxing, it's helpful to eliminate caffeine, bread, meat, tobacco and alcohol from your diet. Try to eat fresh, organic produce prior to a fast, and be sure to remove any processed, sugary or fatty foods from the house beforehand to avoid temptation. Always consult your doctor before beginning any detox program.

Detox Safety

The safety of body detox methods is questionable. A body detox plan that requires one day of fasting is probably harmless, but those that require you to fast for a long period can cause side effects ranging from a headache to more serious health problems like anemia. The prolonged use of laxatives to clean the colon or to remove impurities from the body can cause gastrointestinal problems. Before starting any body detox process, check with your doctor to see if the method is safe.

Detox Resources

Impurities enter the body when we eat processed foods. But even with a healthy diet, most people are still exposed to impurities through harmful synthetic chemicals found in cosmetics and household products. Supporters of detox diets claim that a buildup of these toxic impurities can lead to fatigue, inability to focus, muscle and joint pain and skin conditions, yet there is currently no scientific evidence that proves these claims. However, if you're ready to detox, there are resources available. For starters, ask your doctor or alternative medicine practitioner for advice. Employees at health food and herbal supplement stores often can also provide information on the body detox products they sell.

Detox Plans

There are many natural detox plans. Some involve drinking only juices for a day or two and then slowly reintroducing solid foods. Natural fiber supplements, herbs or vitamins may be included in this type of detox. The natural detox process is different for everyone. As processed, sugary and fatty foods are replaced with natural juices, organic produce and water, your body will expel fat and toxins and gradually restore feelings of well-being. Switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet for a period of time is another way to naturally detox the body. Instead of a body detox, doctors often recommend avoiding toxins in the first place by eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and avoiding stress.

Rapid Detox

Detox diets vary greatly. But there are general guidelines that apply to most one-week detox plans. It's important to avoid fast foods, hydrogenated fats (like margarine or lard products), white sugar, salt and food additives. Incorporate lots of raw produce like leafy greens and bright-colored berries into your diet. And be sure to drink eight to ten glasses of water daily. Books are a great source for information on how to detox in a week. One example is "7-Day Detox Miracle," by Peter Bennett, Sara Faye and Stephen Barrie. You can also find one-week detox plans online. Michelle Schofro Cook, author of "The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan," provides a 7-Day Detox Plan on her Web site.

Blood Detox

Steps for how to detox your blood include taking digestive enzymes, vitamins or herbal supplements at regular intervals. Health food or herbal supplement stores, like eVitamins sell a variety of blood detox products. It's often recommended to take blood detox supplements with a meal or water. Always consult a healthcare professional before taking these types of products.

Liquid Diets

The best resource for how to do a liquid detox diet is your doctor or other healthcare practitioner. He or she can answer your questions and make informed suggestions based on your health. Books on liquid detox diets, such as "21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox," by Roni Deluz and James Hester or "The Complete Master Cleanse," by Tom Woloshyn, outline step-by-step programs for liquid detox. Also, creators of liquid diet programs like Optifast provide helpful information on their Web sites.

Juice Detox

A juice detox can alleviate several symptoms resulting from a buildup of impurities. Certain juice detox plans focus on boosting energy, while others promote rejuvenation or deep cleansing. Most juice detox plans last between one and seven days. For detailed information, consult one of the many juice diet books on the market. Examples are "The Juice Fasting Bible," by Sandra Cabot, and "The Complete Master Cleanse," by Tom Woloshyn.. You can also learn about juice detox plans at alternative health Web sites like Dr. Foster's Essentials. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any type of detox program. 

Detox Foot PatchThe safety of the detox foot patch is currently under investigation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into claims that the detox foot patch can remove toxins from the body. Also in question are the actual ingredients in the product, as the product's label lists "detox herbs" as an ingredient without listing the specific herbs.

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