Detox the right way – a Dietitian’s perspective

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Detox diets and cleanses seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, especially with so many of us over indulging during the Christmas and New Year period. Whilst indulging was fun at the time, it leaves many wanting a quick fix – exactly what detox diets and cleanses promise.

But are they really all they are cracked up to be? The short answer is NO! Let me explain why.

Cleanses and detoxes vary widely, but the one thing that most have in common is that they are restrictive and cut out whole food groups like dairy products and carbohydrates. Some even go as far as promoting the use of pills, powders or juices.

Besides the obvious claims of reducing weight loss and bloating detox diets and cleanses also lead people to believe that they enable users to be better able to flush out toxins and increase energy, metabolism and immunity. Nice if it was true but there is no scientific evidence to support any of these claims, and instead you are more likely to be left feeling fatigued, be in a bad mood, have an upset stomach and have bad breath! Sound like hard work for no reward? Yes, it is and for some people, these diets can even pose a serious health threat.

So how do we get rid of these nasty toxins? It’s actually quite simple. Our bodies have an inbuilt detoxification system that is better than any other. Our lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and immune system are designed to remove or neutralize toxins and they do a great job of it. So instead of worrying about the toxins we have ingested over the Christmas period, focus on the now.

Start following a healthy well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water and your body will do all the detox work for you without the need for restrictive detox diets or cleanses.

The key to supporting your own inbuilt detox system and improving your health is to make small but sustainable diet changes – a great diet goal for the New Year.
My top 6 tips for improving health in the New Year are:
  1. Choose a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables to ensure a diet rich in antioxidants
  2. Include healthy fats eg. nuts, seeds, oily fish in place of saturated fats found in foods like chips, chocolate and biscuits.
  3. Boost your fibre intake with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and wholegrain bread and cereals (eg. choose grainy bread in place of white bread)
  4. Drink plenty of water
  5. Limit or avoid alcohol intake

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