Do we need to detox?

The word detox is mentioned a lot with the onset of a new year. The adverts for detox teas or juice cleanses are plastered everywhere, promising to rid the body of the ‘toxins’ we accumulated over the festive period. Celery juice now seems to be the cleansing drink of choice, overtaking charcoal coffees and turmeric lattes. But does your body actually need to detox? Well yes, the body does need to detox. But we already have in our bodies the perfect machinery for it, the liver.

The liver is the primary detoxifying organ within the body and is thought to have over 500 functions. It carries out some magical processes including neutralising toxins, clearing the blood of particles and infections, and controlling the levels of fat and glucose in the blood. But the liver isn’t the only organ that helps to remove toxins flowing around the body. The kidneys, lungs, and skin all play a role in detoxifying our bodies. The kidneys help filter out toxins from the blood, the skin acts as a barrier to toxins, and the lungs reduce infections via the production of mucus.

The market is currently littered with products claiming to make you the healthiest you have ever been. These products range from fasting detox teas such as skinny tea (the clue to its appeal is in the name), detox water, IV drips of supplements, and coffee enemas. None of these have scientific backing for their benefits, with most of the statistics coming from studies run by the company themselves. Some of these detox fads could potentially cause serious harm. For example, detox teas are essentially a laxative, causing many users to become severely dehydrated and removing some constant users’ ability to ‘relieve’ themselves altogether without the use of the tea. Furthermore, coffee enemas can cause tearing, altered bowel movements, and infections. All these risks come to you at the price tag of £80, a lot more than your average cup of joe. So, for the sake of your wallet and your health, its probably best to keep enjoying your coffee orally… (lol)

If toxins were really accumulating in your body as detox companies would have you believe, you would not be feeling bright and breezy. You would feel lethargic, dehydrated, irritable, weak, and nauseous. The irony is that doing some of these cleanses where you reduce food intake can actually cause toxins to build up. This is because when you reduce the intake of calories to severely low levels there is a build up of chemicals in the body known as ketones. These ketones can poison the body as they occur when fat is being broken down for energy instead of carbohydrates.

So, what is the best way for you to detox? Quite simply, it is not to. Your body is already working hard to rid the nasties from your body and doing a cleanse or a detox can actually hinder those processes. The best thing to do is to just eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, even though that may sound cliché, it is the best method for keeping your body ticking over.

By Laura Krusin

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