Detox diets are short term changes in eating habits which seek to remove excess toxins present in the body through the consumption of juices, fruits, and vegetables. They usually span across 3 to 7 days.
These diets aim to improve circulation, boost immunity, clear your skin, and increase energy. The juices involved in a detox diet are generally blends of many different kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Detox diets have a good number of benefits. The most important one is that such a diet will definitely improve your idea of food and your eating habits for the better; regardless of whether you receive the other benefits.
Detox diets are said to bring about changes not just physically, but also mentally by bringing about focus and clarity.
What is a detox diet?
This hustle culture of today may bring in a lot of excitement and rush into a person’s life. However; one cannot neglect the poor lifestyle choices that one might make due to this, such as drinking a lot of coffee or eating outside. This fast-paced life can sometimes lead to the negligence of one’s health and well-being.
It is said that over time, due to poor food choices, exposure to harmful chemicals, and various forms of pollution, several toxins accumulate within the body.
A detox diet aims to remove unwanted substances present in the body and also the increase absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Such a diet generally consists of drinking a lot of fluids, eating whole foods, or even fasting for a few days or sometimes even a week.
Types of detox diets
Detox diets vary significantly from each other in terms of practice as well as intensity.
1. Master Cleanse
The most intense of all is the Master Cleanse which involves making a concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water which is consumed for at least ten days.
2. Juice Diet
Perhaps one of the most popular detox diets is the juice cleanse wherein one consumes only fruit or vegetable juices through the duration of the diet.
Liver cleansing diets are also followed, which essentially involve drinking a lot of water, vegetable/fruit juices as well as controlling potassium consumption.
Why should I do a detox diet?
A detox diet has several advantages, physically and mentally.
In addition to cleansing the body of toxins, a detox diet also has positive effects on mental health. According to the experiences shared by a number of people who followed this diet, a detox brings about a sense of calm, freshness, and peace within the body. Others have also reported feeling rejuvenated and energized.
On a closer look, one can also find instances of fasting in many cultures which are said to bring about this feeling of serenity but also build discipline.
Hence, the idea of fasting or limiting diet for specific kinds of food at specific times of the day is not completely alien.
These detox diets are mainly used for weight-loss, to decrease consumption of substances like alcohol, tobacco or coffee, to overcome ailments such as headaches or joint pain and even to just improve one’s eating habits.
Detox Diet Benefits
Indeed, there are several tangible benefits that one can supposedly get from such a diet apart from just mental peace. These include:
1. Promoting healthy skin and hair
Removing toxins leads to healthy, glowing skin. It may also decrease acne and clear your skin, making detox diets good for the skin.
These diets are said to make hair shinier and also make them grow longer. This is due to the removal of toxins at the follicles, which could have been hampering the hair growth, leading to brittle, lifeless hair.
2. Supporting the digestive system and weight loss
The removal of toxins aids the absorption of vitamins and other nutrients. Furthermore, detox diets are said to alter metabolism leading to long term weight management
3. Boost in the immune system
Since greater amounts of vitamins and minerals are absorbed, and vital organs begin to get healthier, a boost in immunity results.
4. Improved mental state
Detox diets are also to aid in sleep, focus, and clarity. Thus, they play a role in improving any individual’s mental state. In addition to that, these diets also help in delaying or decrease the visible signs of aging.
5. Antioxidant content
Fruits contain a lot of antioxidant-rich substances such as Vitamins A, C, E, etc. Hence, a detox diet increases the antioxidant content in the body. These antioxidants further improve blood circulation.
6. Promotes mindful eating
Whether a detox diet works in your favor or not, your relationship with food will certainly improve for the better. This is because you become extremely aware of what you are putting inside your body.
Therefore, the idea of a detox builds a healthier lifestyle. You begin to appreciate your body more than ever. You become cautious about what you eat as you know what effect it has on your body. Moreover, it brings balance into your life.
How to begin a detox diet?
We’ve worked across why one should take on such a diet. The following steps might help in beginning your detox diet:
- The first thing to do before starting is to consult a nutritionist or a doctor. Ensure that following this diet will not cause any detrimental effects on your health.
- Prepare to give up stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco. Replace them with lemon water, infused or herbal tea, or simply water.
- Choose a type of detox diet that suits you the best. The diet varies from person to person based on their physique and general calorie intake.
- Removal of toxins can cause symptoms like nausea, headaches, and vomiting, which are temporary and occur in the initial stages. Prepare yourself for such situations.
- Plan your detox such that you don’t completely stop eating solid food. This is because; a pure detox diet does not contain carbohydrates or proteins which your body needs. So, make sure that you are getting enough nutrition but in a healthier way.
- Prepare for headaches, tiredness, and nausea, which usually occur in the initial stages.
- Avoid exercise during a detox. Your body has a decreased calorie intake, so, exercising is not beneficial during the course of this diet. It can cause tiredness and fatigue.
- It is possible that during this diet, your tongue may get coated. Use a tongue scraper to remove this layer of bacteria.
- You can definitely consume fruit and vegetables if you are looking to improve gut health as such foods contain fiber.
- After the detox is over, and if you have not consumed solid foods during the course, ensure that you re-introduce it slowly but surely. If you suddenly begin eating solid food, your system will be disturbed.
For a juice diet:
- Try to use organic fruits and vegetables.
- Try to make your juices at home rather than buying packaged ones as they may contain preservatives and excess sugar, which goes against the purpose of your diet.
- Try to use the whole fruit, including the peel while juicing. This is because; the peel also contains a lot of nutrients and minerals which are beneficial for the body.
- Try to consume all your juice immediately after you have made them. Storing juices is not recommended.
- Furthermore, consume fruits that are low on the glycemic index, i.e., use low sugar fruits. Although you may not like the taste of some green vegetables, those contain the most nutrients.
- You can certainly try to improve the taste of your juices by adding flavorsome herbs or other spices.
- Moreover, try your best to use locally grown produce to enjoy good taste and even better nutrition.
- Ensure that you are hydrated throughout your diet. It is absolutely necessary to drink lots of water as it flushes out toxins.
Detox Diet Plan
Anyone looking to follow a detox diet plan must consult a nutritionist before getting started on it. The following plan is an example of what can be followed on the first day of a 3-day diet plan.
|6:00 AM||Wheat Grass Powder (1 teaspoon)
Lukewarm Lemon water (1 glass)
|9:00 AM||Moong And Chana Sprouts (1 bowl)
Cucumber Tomato Lemon Juice Salad (1 bowl)
|11:00 AM||Tomato carrot amla juice (1 glass)
Almond (5 almond)
|1:00 PM||Oats Moong Dal Vegetable Khichdi (1 bowl)|
|2:00 PM||Cucumber Lemon Detox Water with Mint (1 glass)|
|4:00 PM||Mixed Fruit Bowl (1 bowl)|
|5:30 PM||Mixed nuts(20 grams)
Green Tea without Milk and Sugar (1 tea cup)
|8:00 PM||Boiled Kidney Bean Vegetable Salad (1 bowl)|
|10:00 PM||Lemon Ginger Mint Tea (1 teacup)|
While a detox diet can prove to be extremely useful for one’s health, it is ideal to follow a balanced diet. You can find the best Indian diet plan for weight loss here.
Detox Diet Recipes
1. Cucumber and Ginger Detox Smoothie
This smoothie with ginger and cucumber is great for your digestive system! It also contains oranges which is a great source of vitamin C.
- 30g spinach
- 1 cucumber
- 1 orange
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 inch ginger
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup ice
- Chop the cucumbers and the ginger.
- Peel the oranges
- Cut the avocado in half and scoop it out.
- Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and roughly chop them
- Add all the ingredients into a blender along with water
- Blend the ingredients together until there are no lumps. Serve
Yellow Turmeric Ginger Smoothie
This smoothie has the detoxifying properties of both turmeric and ginger! This also contains squash which is a great source of iron, magnesium, and folate!
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 orange
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 inch ginger
- 1 tbsp hemp seed
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup ice
- Chop the squash into small pieces.
- Peel the orange and chop the ginger
- Add all the ingredients into a blender
- Add water and blend until smooth. Serve.
Juices and smoothies are great during a detox. Apart from this, salads and soups are also recommended. However, the best way to achieve a detox is to eat food whole. Eat fruits whole, including the peel! (Eat the peel only for some fruit like sapota or mango, not all fruit)
Detox Diet Side Effects
The apparent benefits of a detox diet do seem to be plentiful and desirable. However, these are just theoretical, and no empirical scientific evidence exists to support the science behind these benefits.
1. Natural detox mechanisms
The body itself has numerous ways of removing toxins on its own. The body eliminates its toxins through urine, through sweat, through the kidneys, the liver, the immune system, and the respiratory system.
Therefore, these mechanisms of the body render the idea of detoxification to be completely redundant. The body does not allow toxins to get accumulated, so there is nothing to “de-toxify,” which the diet claims to do.
2. Weight loss results
The weight loss that people report could mainly be just due to a decrease in calorie intake and also due to fluid loss resulting from the intake of laxatives.
Hence, after the duration of the diet is complete, you are likely to gain all the weight back leading to no actual progress. During the course of the diet, metabolism rates come down and hence, when a normal diet is resumed, rapid weight gain results.
3. Toxin removal
The body might accumulate toxins such as heavy metals or organic solvents which cannot be removed by natural metabolism, but, these cannot be removed by a detox diet either.
Therefore, if the body does have accumulated toxins, detoxing may not the way to solve the issue.
A word of caution
Anybody who wants to take such a diet up must consult a dietician before starting. This diet involves a massive change in eating habits and must not be done without appropriate guidance. If you are diabetic or pregnant or have an eating disorder, do not follow this diet. It may cause harm to your body.
Anybody who wishes to follow this diet must note that it may not always work in the way that it is theorized. You may experience nausea, giddiness, or feel drained out due to a decrease in calorie intake. Never take on this diet without consultation.