So what does “detoxing” mean?
Simply put, detoxification is what your body does naturally to neutralize, transform or get rid of unwanted materials or toxins. It’s a primary function of the body, constantly working and interacting with all the other functions of the body. Whenever you read about me talking about detoxification, it’s about improving and optimizing the function of your body’s own detoxification systems.
Ok, if the body does it, why should I do anything extra?
As a culture, we are very aware of our external cleanliness. We brush our teeth daily, we bathe and wash our hair daily or every other day and we like to look and smell clean because it generally makes us feel better. Whereas all of that is for outside the body, think of detoxifying as cleaning the inside of the body. The problem is however, that it’s often hard to know when our internal cleansing mechanisms aren’t functioning as well as we need them to. Unlike other parts of your body, it’s very hard to know how well our liver is working, and our liver is the main detoxification organ. The liver basically acts as a filter for toxins and bacteria in the blood, and chemically neutralizes toxins, converting them into substances that can be eliminated by the kidneys.
The detoxification system is a key component of our body’s functioning, even though it’s mostly ignored by our current medical system. We need hundreds of enzymes, vitamins and other molecules to help rid the body of unwanted waste products and chemicals…and we do take in a lot of them. We need to manufacture these molecules to help take the good from what we ingest and get rid of the unwanted. Over the last 20 plus years, I’ve repeatedly seen what a good detoxification program can do for the body, and what a regular good internal cleanse can bring.
What can I do to improve how my body detoxifies itself?
Consider this, with the amount of toxins your body absorbs through breathing, eating, and drinking; and having only one organ to process it all, these toxins are stored in tissues and cells all over the body, including your brain and often they’re stored for years. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cardio-pulmonary disease, and others are influenced by the toxicity levels in your body. The more you have, the longer it takes for the body to process them and remove them. Toss in any disease that affects the liver, like liver disease or hepatitis, and that detox system is handicapped further.
A good detox program should consist of consistently feeding your body the nutritional elements it needs to keep your liver healthy, reduce the amount of toxins ingested, and adding things like probiotics to help your stomach’s good bacteria fight-the-good-fight and get more out of the foods you eat. Try eating less fast-food, Wendy, Ronald and the B-King might not like it as much, but your body will immediately thank you.
What about detox/cleansing products?
Yes of course. There are many products out there that “can” help your detoxification system and give it a boost, and dieting alone can become quite expensive. The trick is to know what constitutes a good detox/cleanse product, and what’s simply store-shelf decoration.
One of the best products I’ve both found and personally used, is Greens by It Works.
From a nutritional standpoint, it’s packed with 8 servings of fruits and vegetables, so the nutritional value is there. It also has antioxidants which helps to prevent damage to your cells by these things called “free radicals”. No, you won’t see them on CNN. These type of radicals are responsible for creating chain reactions when they come in contact with cell membranes or cell DNA, and cause them to either function poorly, or die. Antioxidants also are shown to help lower cancer rates in people with higher levels of antioxidants in the body, and ongoing research suggests there’s a relationship between antioxidants and slowing the aging process. This makes sense considering how they prevent cellular damage from free radicals.
If you’re an avid gym-goer, exercise-freak or play sports, you’re at an even higher risk for damage, because the more oxygen you use, you increase the generation of free radicals in your body, leading to damage to muscles and other tissues.
Finally, Greens by It Works also has probiotics in it, and as I’ve previously written, these little critters are essential to good gut health, and help prevent a whole whack of issues.
The company also just launched a new product called “Cleanse“, which as you may have guessed, is aimed at helping the body reset and rebalance itself through detoxing over 4 days using by blasting it with essential nutrients and vitamins. It delivers a 1-2 punch to your toxicity levels by supporting your liver’s detoxing function, while packing your system with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients to promote cellular health in your colon – a very good thing considering the toxins that are always present. It also delivers prebiotics to your body to help feed those probiotic wonder bacteria. I highly recommend this at least once-a-month to once-every-two-months.
So what are the benefits to Detoxing my body?
I’m glad you asked….
- It removes toxins from the body. As I’ve already stated, removing these toxins helps your body be proactive in preventing certain diseases, and gives it a better chance at resisting others.
- It enhances the immune system’s functioning. Keeping your immune system functioning at optimum levels, reduces your risk for getting simple things like the cold or flu, and helps fight off infection so if you do catch something, your body can fight back harder, and reduce your ‘down time’.
- This is a biggie…it’ll help you lose weight! That’s right, toxins in the body affect your body’s natural ability to burn off those calories which leads to weight gain. By removing these toxins, you improve your body’s metabolism. Oh, and remember when I said these toxins are stored in tissues and cells in the body, the longer you suffer from this, the more at risk for heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure you become. If you’re already at risk because of a family member, then detoxing should be a must-do!
- It’ll help you look and feel younger! Everyone likes that part. Through helping your body remove free-radicals and repairing the damage already done, you’ve reduced the stress on the body and increased it’s ability to benefit from the nutritional boost it’ll get.
- It’ll improve your quality of life. The more toxic your body becomes, the more you’ll experience things like joint pain, headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, and a general lack of energy. You’ll also be able to address things like depression and memory issues because of the reduction in toxic free radicals throughout the body.
- Power Up! Yep, your energy levels will increase. You’ll be more mentally alert and you’ll have more physical and emotional energy…you may even find yourself sleeping better and eating less junk because of it.
- It’ll give you better skin. I know it may not seem like much, but if you’ve got eczema, rosacea, or bad acne, it’ll definitely interest you. Reducing the bad bacteria, free radicals and toxins that your skin has to address daily, you’ll be helping your body fight back and improve all of these things. It’ll also strengthen your hair and nails, which can also be a good thing right?
- It’s going to help you mentally clear things up. Through restoring the body’s balance and reducing the damage those toxins are doing, you’ll also notice that you’re able to focus better and deal with things emotionally more soundly. This allows us to make better decisions, analyze more clearly, and generally see things much differently.
- It’ll restore balance. We’re not talking about the balance in the Force© here, we’re talking about your digestive, nervous and hormonal systems. We get more from the foods we eat, feel a heightened sense of calm about us, and live life with a renewed spring in our proverbial step.
As a Nutritionist, and someone who’s worked with patients in physical rehab, I know and have seen the benefits of a good detox program, and in my opinion, Greens by It Works and Cleanse are a must have combo. Take Greens every day, and Cleanse once a month. I recommend Greens to my clients for years, now by adding in Cleanse, they’re really able to give their body the resources it needs to fight back and WIN!