With January upon us we find ourselves once more at the beginning of a new year. For many this can mean a resolution or resolve to improve their fitness and diets. January is rife with adverts guaranteeing quick fixes in a limited, often unrealistic, period of time.
The current trend for detoxing has caused a true divide amongst many, those who don\'t believe they are needed and those who love them or want to give them a try based upon their claims of rejuvenation, and toxin removal. Along with these come the often expected promise of loosing the excess pounds that have been gained as a result of buying it to an earlier deluge of marketing; eat and drink like there’s no tomorrow, its christmas!
But what exactly are toxins?
Toxins are many and varied, anything that has potential to cause harm to your body can thus be classified as a toxin. Anything from too much Vitamin D and for some people things like perfumes on one end of the spectrum to Class A drugs on the other. To complicate things further we don\'t all react to the same potential toxins in the same way - One mans medicine is another mans poison! Further still, the body makes toxins from the food that we eat and as a result of chemical processes.
So what happens to toxins in the body?
In order to stay healthy the body removes toxins. This is a continuous process that happens daily. There are five channels of elimination by which the body gets rid of waste products: the colon, kidneys, liver, skin and lungs. Waste products from cells are taken by the lymphatic system into the blood stream where they are then transported to the liver. The liver is the most important detoxifying organ in the body, It metabolises or breaks down waste products, making them harmless so that they can be released back into the blood stream to be transported to the eliminatory organs for removal.
If one of these channels of elimination is not working efficiently e.g.it\'s a sluggish colon (think constipation), or dehydration, the removal of toxins slows down and the body can begin to reabsorb some of the toxins it\'s trying to remove. This can result in feelings such as low energy and irritability. The other eliminatory channels try to compensate e.g. the skin will try and push the toxins out which can result in skin issues such as rashes and eczema.
A similar scenario occurs if the level of toxins being dealt with by the liver exceeds its capacity to do so effectively. This is usually a result of lifestyle choices : alcohol, smoking, poor diet, a lack of exercise which contributes to a sluggish lymphatic system can all be factors in increasing the work on the liver.
So do we need to detox?
Theoretically we should not need to go on detox regimes if we are giving our bodies the attention that it needs. However quick fixes that rely on specific products should be viewed with scepticism. They can get some limited results, but this is of course because they encourage a healthier lifestyle and limit or disallow potentially harmful foods and drinks such as alcohol, refined carbohydrate such as cakes and sweets, whilst often supplying the body with a hit of vitamins and minerals that it has not been receiving. Although this sounds like a good deal ironically most detox products contain potentially harmful substances themselves in the form of fillers and binders! They can severely limit calories, which is detrimental in many ways, but not least because when the body is naturally detoxifying and trying to repair itself it needs a constant supply of energy, vitamins, minerals, good fats and protein.
So what is the answer?
Unfortunately there are no quick fixes! In some instances the body can “lock” toxins away in safe areas, such as fat, that prevent them circulating in the blood stream causing more damage. Trying to loose weight rapidly, without adequate nutrient support can lead to a sudden influx of toxins which can give some unwanted symptoms such as fatigue, inability to concentrate, low mood.
Limiting trans fats from fried foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol, whilst drinking plenty of water to help flush out the kidneys, eating nourishing food consisting of good fats, protein, complex carbohydrates from plants, exercising gently to stimulate the lymphatic system and getting plenty of fresh air are healthy long term ways to ensure that your body is detoxing as it should.
For help and advice about your diet and nutrition, please contact us. Happy New Year, Happy New You!