Spring is a good time to clean up – not only to sweep up the dust and wash the windows, but also to take care of the body: for a healthy lifestyle, activity and immunity. Some people recommend to start this process with a revolution for the whole body, i.e. with a spring detox!
Body detox, or cleansing diet, is a popular and promoted health method in recent years. However, before you impose on yourself a strict diet regime, find out if you really need it and if it will affect your health, appearance and form.
What are toxins?
Toxins are, strictly speaking, poisons produced by living organisms. However, we commonly understand the word more broadly, extending its meaning to substances of other origin, for example, those resulting from environmental pollution. These can be poisonous substances present in car exhaust or chemical compounds from industrial pollution that accumulate in fish meat. Generally speaking, when we talk about toxins, we mean substances that poison our tissues, which will get into our body.
We are exposed to the toxins every day. They penetrate our organisms with food, inhaled air and through our skin. In addition, bacteria and other microorganisms, which have entrapped themselves in human bodies and on the surface of the skin cozy nests, produce other harmful compounds. And if that is not enough, we also produce toxins ourselves.
How does the body detoxify itself?
The liver and kidneys play a key role in cleaning the body of harmful substances. Secondly, the skin and organ systems are important: urinary and digestive respiration (some of the toxins are exhaled). All systems and their organs need constant supply of essential nutrients. This basic mechanism makes detoxes so controversial.
What is a detox?
Sometimes such radical behaviour can be justified: restrictive diets are part of the treatment of certain diseases. For example, in coeliac disease, the elimination of gluten is necessary. A low-protein diet is used in case of kidney failure. People with lactose intolerance or allergies to cow’s milk proteins should avoid dairy products.
Is the cleansing diet healthy?
However, such diets are not a good idea for healthy people. Not because milk proteins, lactose or gluten are essential for health – they are not. A different mechanism works here. By eliminating foods containing gluten, e.g. bread, you also exclude other important ingredients from the diet, such as fibre and B vitamins.
If you do not balance these deficiencies, and this requires some effort, you may harm yourself. In the case of starving, it is difficult to talk about balancing anything at all: the supply of nutrients to the body is stopped. In the case of low-calorie diets, the supply of nutrients is very limited.
Figuratively speaking, in the case of restrictive purifying diets, your body has to function on a limited supply of fuel or on a fuel that is devoid of some valuable ingredients. This also applies to your personal toxin filters, that is, your kidneys and liver.
Is spring a good time for detox?
A restrictive diet or hunger strike in spring can have a double negative effect. All this is due to the spring solstice, which has a great impact on the body. Temporary weakness appearing in this period is not an invention of people who are looking for an excuse for not wanting to work. The actual strength of this phenomenon can be seen in the number of flu and other seasonal infections.
They are becoming aware of their vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. The hormones go crazy, hardly adapting to the rapid change of the day and night cycle.That’s why you need a full-fledged fuel in early spring. That’s why a restrictive diet and radical detox doesn’t make much sense. All the more so because it’s usually not the toxins that are responsible for the bad mood at the end of the winter.
Do cleansing diets work?
A healthy body can easily remove harmful substances. Although not all. There are elements and chemical compounds that accumulate in the body, especially if we take large doses of them for a long time. These are mainly heavy metals, such as cadmium, mercury, lead or arsenic. If you suspect this type of poisoning, your diet will not cure it. It’s serious poisoning that a doctor should take care of.
The poisoning effect of a diet should be treated rather conventionally. The beneficial effect of such a diet lies in a dose of vitamins, minerals and nutrients supplied in vegetables and fruits. The elimination of highly processed food also has a significant impact. However, this is not detoxification in the strict sense.
Many products included in these diets contain substances that clearly support the removal of toxins from the body. Preliminary studies have shown that acids contained in citrus, grapes or apples accelerate the excretion of aluminium. Chlorella contains substances that bind many heavy metals. However, we do not yet have enough knowledge to attribute similar and equally effective effects in humans.
Above all, detoxification in the medical sense probably doesn’t need you at all to be able to poison heavy metals in winter. But it could have done other harm. After long winter evenings, when we happened to get a little tingling, a portion of healthy food and physical activity will surely be useful. It is best not to treat her as a disposable antidote, but as a year-round routine.