Detox: what is it and how to do it?
The human body is exposed on a daily basis to internal toxins (free radicals or alcohol metabolites, among others) produced by the body itself and external toxins (heavy metals or pesticides) that damage our tissues. It is therefore essential that our body is properly "cleansed" in order to promote good health.
On a physiological level, the body undergoes various detox processes that help eliminate unwanted substances from our bodies. These involve the digestive, lymphatic, excretory and respiratory systems. Particularly important are organs such as the liver, kidneys and skin.
What is detox?
When we talk about detox we refer to detoxifying or cleansing our body from substances that may be harmful to our metabolism.
Some of the main detoxification systems of our body are:
- Digestive system: the digestive system contains our body's main "cleansing" organ, the liver. Among its most important functions is to transform harmful substances (such as heavy metals) into less toxic substances for the body by combining them with amino acids or antioxidants. They can then be safely removed from the blood. On the other hand, the liver also metabolises external toxins such as drugs or food additives. In addition, within the digestive system, the gastrointestinal tract is responsible for excreting toxins through our faeces.
- Excretory system: through our kidneys, we filter our blood and get rid of toxic substances and waste residues found in our blood through our urine. This is one of our body's most important detox processes, which is why we recommend that you drink water whenever you feel thirsty.
- Lymphatic system: through the lymph nodes, which contain immune cells and white blood cells that break down toxins, the body gets rid of impurities and fatty wastes.
- Respiratory system: here, the lungs remove toxic gases from our bodies when we exhale air.
- Skin: bacteria and viruses as well as heavy metals and chemical toxins are eliminated through perspiration from the skin, creating a barrier against substances that are harmful to our body.
Benefits of detox
Body detoxification provides the following benefits:
- It cleanses our organs.
- Improves digestion, therefore avoiding constipation.
- Helps to reduce body fat, resulting in weight loss.
- Helps to increase energy levels.
- Improves our concentration, mood and sleep quality.
- Protects our body from free radicals and slows down ageing, therefore giving the skin a healthier appearance.
- Strengthens our immune system.
How to perform a healthy detox
There are several things we can do to help improve our natural detox or "cleansing" systems. Removing impurities, waste and toxins from our bodies involves changing our lifestyle, diet or introducing the use of supplements into our daily lives. Here are some recommendations to help you make these changes:
1. Follow a detox diet
Due to their antioxidants and nutrients, fruits and vegetables will help you "cleanse" your body. Prioritise them. Avoid ultra-processed and salty foods. In addition, make sure you include foods like papaya, pineapple or fermented foods in your diet, as they are rich in enzymes that help the purifying function of the liver and improve digestion.
|Did you know…?
The catechins (antioxidants) found in green tea and matcha tea increase the activity of pepsin, a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins in our stomach, which help to improve digestion efficiency.
2. Hydrate to eliminate toxins
Water is an essential element that helps cleanse your body. It dilutes urine and increases its volume, which makes it easier to eliminate toxins through the kidneys and faeces. Drinking enough water keeps the skin hydrated, increases perspiration through sweating and promotes a healthy digestion.
|Did you know…?
Surely you have heard of the famous detox juices or smoothies and their capability to "cleanse" your body. Consuming them on a daily basis as a meal replacement is more than questionable due to the lack of nutrients for our body. So if you want to drink them, do it as a complement to your meals and not as a substitute for them.
3. Sweat it out with physical exercise
Physical exercise promotes our body's detoxification in several ways. On the one hand, it increases blood and lymph circulation and, on the other hand, it promotes perspiration, thereby helping to get rid of toxic substances and waste from our body through the kidneys, lungs and skin. It also strengthens the immune system and reduces stress, promoting the elimination of toxins. If you want to enjoy these benefits, it is important to exercise daily and in a variety of ways.
4. Get enough sleep
Good sleep promotes proper body detoxification. Good sleep is essential because when we sleep deeply, our brain activates a cleansing system through our lymphatic system. This consists of a series of ducts that carry lymph (a collection of proteins, white blood cells and other components) from the blood to the brain. In this process, the incoming lymph joins with the lymph that was already surrounding the brain cells and which contains residues, and finally expels the mixture back into the blood for its subsequent disposal.
5. Keep stress at bay
Chronic stress can interfere with the body's ability to detoxify itself effectively. The immune system is weakened and the production of cortisol, known as the "stress hormone", increases. These factors make it difficult for the body to process and eliminate toxic substances and wastes, accumulating toxins in our bodies. To reduce stress you can use techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
6. Avoid alcohol and tobacco toxins
These substances create toxins in our bodies, which means extra work for our detox systems in order to remove them from our bodies.
In the case of alcohol, excessive intake increases the risk of developing liver problems (such as alcoholic liver disease or cirrhosis), while smoking is directly related to a greater likelihood of suffering from respiratory diseases. It is therefore advisable to reduce, or preferably eliminate them from your routine.
7. Promote detox food supplements
We can improve toxin elimination by taking dietary supplements, also known as food supplements, that draw out toxins or trigger the body's cleansing mechanisms in order to eliminate toxins. Examples include:
- liver protectors (containing natural plants with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties).
- probiotics (live micro-organisms that balance the intestinal flora that can be damaged by toxins, therefore taking care of our digestive health).
- oregano oil (due to its antiseptic properties supporting digestive and respiratory health).
- antioxidants (which support the detox function by protecting cells against free radical damage).
In the table below we suggest some of our food supplements that can help your natural detox systems:
|Food Supplements||Antioxidant||Liver protector/stimulant||Digestive health|
|Vitamins C & E||X|
|Warnings and Interactions:
The milk thistle contained in Liver Detox can interact with other medications, which is why they should not be taken together. Examples include statins, antidepressants and sleeping medication.
Remember to always consult your doctor before taking any kind of dietary supplements to make sure they are safe and appropriate for you. Also, if you contact us, our doctors and pharmacists will be able to advise you.
In short, the best way to cleanse your body and improve your health is to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes a detox diet and regular physical exercise. Food supplements are only an aid to help detoxify your body.