Detox Myths Uncovered
by Michele Carelse
With so many detox products on the market offering instant perks with very little effort, it’s no wonder you may find yourself tempted to rush out and start detoxing on the double! But could you be doing more harm than good?
Drastic detox programs
Many of these products offer instant results, and even promise quick weight loss. Drastic detox programs often restrict certain foods and lead to an unhealthy regimen of liquid-only diets or a drastic reduction in regular meals for far too long.
These behaviors may lead to water loss, and even weight loss in the short-term, but may actually end up slowing the metabolism in the long run, so that when a regular diet is resumed, weight gain is the result. Furthermore, restricting certain foods also increases the chance of cravings and unstable blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling lousy when you should be feeling revitalized!
So what is the answer?
Experts suggest the best option may be to consult a registered dietitian for a customized diet plan that will help you accomplish your personal goals in a safe and effective manner. The best way to “detox” the body is simply to help your body do its natural job.
The liver and kidneys are the body’s best-kept secret because they eliminate toxins and waste from the bloodstream and system daily. The best plan of action is to assist these organs in doing what they are designed to do. For instance, be smart about food choices – eat all of the food groups, and concentrate on wise choices. Drink plenty of fluids, and avoid excess medications and alcohol.
If you want to promote water loss naturally, choose the following foods: cranberries, celery, asparagus, and herbal teas. Limit your salt intake, which can exacerbate water retention.
Natural remedies for kidney and liver health
Help your liver and kidneys to do their jobs, respectively, by using herbs known to support these organs. Here are the top 3 supporting herbs for the kidneys and liver:
- Taraxacum officinalis (Dandelion): Dandelion contains bitter principles that have a beneficial effect on the liver and digestive system. Dandelion is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, D, C, various B vitamins, iron, lecithin, silicon, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese. It enhances liver and gallbladder functioning and may decrease high blood pressure due to its diuretic properties.
- Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel): Fennel has been used since ancient times as an appetite suppressant and was traditionally used to prevent “growling stomachs” during church services. Apart from its diuretic properties, Fennel also promotes the functioning of the liver, kidneys and spleen and is useful for acidic stomachs.
- Pelargonium reniforme: Pelargonium reniforme is a medicinal plant known to generations of Khoi/San descendants and Xhosa traditional healers for its health-giving properties. Also known as ‘Umckaloabo’, it is traditionally used for a range of therapeutic functions and is well known for its beneficial effect on liver functioning and as a digestive tonic. This species of pelargonium is indigenous to the Eastern Cape of South Africa and grows wild, sending out long bulbous roots deep into the ground. The medicinally active ingredients are found in the bitter tasting root of the plant.
Remember, if you suffer with a chronic medical condition, we advise that you consult your healthcare professional before embarking on any detox program. Fennel and Dandelion should not be used in conjunction with any other diuretic medication such as Lasix or hydro-chlorothiazide.
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