With the popularity of detoxing growing in recent years, there seems to be an equal amount of recommendations and warnings, both for and against the process. Here at Health and Fitness Travel we are all for detoxing which, far from another fad-diet; is simply the encouragement of a natural bodily process that if approached correctly can lead to a number of healthy benefits.
With the pressures and practices of modern day living leading to increased exposure to toxins, we can often be left feeling lethargic, bloated and irritable, making one of our rejuvenating detox holidays the ideal solution. Poor diets full of saturated fats, too much animal protein, excess alcohol and caffeine, as well as increased stress levels and lack of exercise; can all hinder the body’s ability to maintain its natural process of detoxification.
Often mistakenly confused with counter-productive fasting (which can in fact deprive the body of essential nutrients which are key to the detoxification process) an efficient detox works to cleanse the body of harmful toxins and replace this with nutrient and vitamin rich foods. Revitalising your entire system, including liver, kidneys, colon, skin, brain, heart and lungs, detox kick-starts a series of health and well-being affects, from weight loss, to clearer skin and improved mental clarity. Detoxing has also been known to improve hormonal balance, as well as reducing headaches and allergy symptoms.
We can see when it’s time to clean out our overloaded closet, bursting with clothes we no longer wear, but we can’t see our organs. As we take a look at why detoxing is so good for you, listen to your body, and you will be able to tell whether it is time for some spring cleansing.
6 reasons why detoxing is so good for you:
1. Healthier Eating Habits
Change what you put in to your body, and you will change what you get out of it. Whether founded around a specialised juice, raw food or macrobiotic diet, there are a number of approaches to detoxing, yet all share the principal of replacing bad foods with good.
During detox you are encouraged to decrease your intake of ‘bad foods’ such as alcohol, coffee, sugar, meat and dairy, and replace these with nutrient-rich ‘good foods’, including fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, green tea, and water to ensure optimum nutrition.
Whilst the choice of gradually reintroducing ‘bad foods’ post-detox is left up to the individual, most detox participants will find that this initial intensive boost helps to rid themselves of unhealthy habits and establish long-term healthy eating habits.
2. Weight loss
In combination with a healthier diet, detoxification can also help to stimulate weight loss. However, there is much more going on in our bodies than just a reduction in calorie intake.
As a result of unhealthy lifestyles and diets, our bodies become overloaded with an excess of toxins and unwanted impurities, which they then begin to harbour. In an attempt to protect us, our bodies surround this unwanted material with fat and mucous, so as not to cause an imbalance. Some people carry as much as 15 extra pounds of mucous, purely there to harbour waste.
Through an appropriate nutrient-rich diet; detoxing cleanses and purifies the body of these unwanted toxins, eliminating the body’s need to build stores of fat and mucous. Helping to repair a healthier digestive system, other benefits include a boost to metabolism and reduced bloating.
3. Stronger Immune System
Through revitalising your system and restoring internal balance, detoxing provides a boost to the immune system, increasing your ability to fight off illness and infection.
When detoxing the body, cleansing and clearing your internal organs of unwanted impurities frees your organs to perform in the way that they should naturally. No longer preoccupied with warding off toxins, your organs are then better equipped to absorb the key nutrients you feed it (such as Vitamin C) which in turn helps to improve the immune system.
A backed up colon, for example, can cause toxins to be reintroduced to the body and can interrupt the body’s capacity to absorb the beneficial key nutrients and vitamins. Therefore, a number of wellness programmes will recommend treatments such as colon hydrotherapy, in order to enhance your detox.
4. Clearer Skin and Healthier Hair
When cleansing your body and internal organs of harmful toxins, it is no surprise that this purification will begin to reflect on your outside. By the time the majority of these impurities are flushed from your system you will see a number of noticeable differences, including clearer skin and healthier hair.
In conjunction with a healthy diet, certain activities and remedies can assist in a further final-push cleanse. Gentle exercise, or a visit to the sauna or steam room, are often encouraged to help the body sweat out any additional toxins, whilst healthy weight loss drinks such as herbal teas, including green tea and oolong tea, are known to help flush out impurities.
When your hair is able to grow uninhibited by these internal toxins it will soon begin to appear shinier, grow stronger and feel softer, as your skin simultaneously clears and glows.
5. Increased Energy Levels & Mental Clarity
If you find yourself prone to mood swings and low energy levels, it may be time to clean out, reset and recharge. With participants frequently feeling revitalised and more energetic, a detox could be just what you need to regain control of your mental energy.
Increasing demands at work, high-pressure roles and long office hours see many people instinctively reach for caffeine-rich drinks like coffee, or sugary treats for that quick-fix energy boost. However, a healthy change in diet can provide a longer lasting natural energy boost, without the resultant crash.
Whilst sugar-rich foods can cause you to feel lethargic, detox inclusive foods such as nuts, berries and grains are known to provide the nutrients and vitamins necessary to increase long-term mental agility and vitality.
6. Stress Reduction & Improved Sense of Well-being
With emotions and stress both capable of affecting your liver, it is equally important to cleanse your mind, as well as your body.
Letting go of stress is a great way to support the process and is often aided by combining your detox with a variety of relaxing classes, such as yoga and meditation. Although intense physical workouts are discouraged, 20-30 mins of low intensity cardio is recommended to get the blood circulating through the organs and encourage the purging of harmful toxins. Pranayama breathing and meditation classes have been found to aid in lowering fatty acid levels and cholesterol in the bloodstream.
You will find that your body is better equipped to cope with the daily stresses of modern life, leaving you feeling increasingly confident and optimistic.
Inspired to explore the benefits of a healthy detox but not sure where to begin? Grab the opportunity for a spring cleanse and find the support you need on one of our learn how to detox holidays. Through combining juice, macrobiotic & raw food diets, health therapies and low intensity fitness classes, you will return home ready to take on the world. If you are planning to go a detox retreat, then read our top tips for surviving a detox holiday to help you prepare.