The medical community is often divided on the concept of detoxes and whether or not they produce desired results. Alternative medicine may seem to work but only to a certain extent. Some ayurvedic texts recommend various methods, from fasting to cleanse the digestive system to neti pots for sinuses.
A detox can be done either through food, fluids, massages, or cleanses. But, before you follow any detox routine, make sure you check for preexisting medical conditions that may interfere with the detox and make it dangerous. For example, people recovering from jaundice should not undergo a liver detox.
Detoxes can target the body in general or particular systems. Here, let’s discuss 4 specific detox plans for 4 different systems in your body — the digestive system, the kidneys and excretory system, the liver, and the lymphatic system.
1. Kidney Detox
Being our body’s natural detox filter, the kidneys receive their fair share of toxic chemicals. Alcohol and certain heavy metals are harmful to the kidneys. Thus, it is good to go for a detox as often as possible.1 2
There are different types of kidney detoxes and most work by removing toxic chemicals and flushing it out through urine. Here’s a sample detox with the hydrangea root, which can be found in natural health product stores.3
- Mix 8 ounces of apple juice with 20 drops of an extract of the hydrangea root.
- Start off your day with this drink to cleanse your kidneys.
- Also, eat watermelon as often as you can.
Note: Be sure to do this on a holiday because the high water content in the fruit can make frequent trips to the bathroom necessary. Also, due to the sugar content in fruits and high levels of water output via urine, insulin overload or shock may occur. So, diabetics and those with high blood pressure should avoid this detox.
2. Liver Detox
After the kidneys, the liver bears a major chunk of all the chemicals in the foods you eat. Fast-food culture promotes fatty liver syndrome as more fats begin to accumulate in the liver. Additionally, the liver also serves as a filter for all the bacteria absorbed in the gut before they can enter the bloodstream. Thus, detoxing the liver once in a while may not be a bad idea but one that you need often.4 5
- Eat glutathione-rich foods like dairy products, eggs, and meat that act as a natural liver protector.
- Go for antioxidant-rich foods like oranges, berries, and crucifers to give the liver an antioxidant boost.
3. Lymphatic System Detox
The lymphatic system has a key role to play in the body as it removes harmful wastes from the tissues and eliminates them from the body. It localizes infections and prevents bacteria from spreading throughout the body. In fact, any boils you get are often the work of the lymph nodes.6
Detoxing the lymphatic system can help flush out any residual microbes and toxic chemicals that your body may have accumulated over time. With an improved circulation in the lymphatic system, your immune system will get a boost, making you feel energized.
Manual lymphatic drainage is a massage therapy invented in the 1930s to help improve circulation in this system. You can do a variation of this massage right at home. Here’s how:7 8
- Place your fingers under your ear and massage downward until you reach the shoulders.
- Repeat this action about 10 times.
- If you want a full body lymphatic detox, go for Swedish massages or other deep tissue massages.
4. Gut Detox
We’ve only just begun to understand the connection between the gut and conditions such as allergies, immunity, and even our mood. Detoxing the gut restores a healthy flora balance, reduces bloating, and makes you feel energized.9 10
- Eat fiber-rich foods as they help eliminate wastes from your colon effectively.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal in a tall glass of water and drink it. Activated charcoal is often used in the emergency room to remove toxins and, sometimes, even poison.
- Bone broth can be made at home by simmering leftover bones for 12 hours or more. It contains gelatine and collagen, which repairs and heals the gut lining from within.
Healthy eating habits coupled with limited exposure to pollutants can go a long way in keeping you fit and fine. A detox once every few weeks can reset the systems, but the best way to maintain them over the long term is to eat well, rest, and work out enough to naturally flush out toxins.
|↑1, ↑2||Hawk, Tiffany. Detox Diets Guide. Lulu Press, Inc., 2015.|
|↑3||Diabetic Kidney Disease. National Institute Of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Diseases.|
|↑4||Tepperman, Jay, and Helen M. Tepperman. “Effects of antecedent food intake pattern on hepatic lipogenesis.” American Journal of Physiology–Legacy Content 193, no. 1 (1958): 55-64.|
|↑5||Owen, Ethan. Detox Cleanse. Speedy Publishing LLC, 2014.|
|↑6||Swartz, Melody A. “The physiology of the lymphatic system.” Advanced drug delivery reviews 50, no. 1 (2001): 3-20.|
|↑7||Evrard-Bras, M., M. Coupe, J. P. Laroche, and C. Janbon. “Manual lymphatic drainage.” La Revue du praticien 50, no. 11 (2000): 1199-1203.|
|↑8||Rockridge Press Staff. The Beauty Detox Diet. Callisto Media Inc., 2013.|
|↑9||Neuvonen, P. J., and E. Elonen. “Effect of activated charcoal on absorption and elimination of phenobarbitone, carbamazepine, and phenylbutazone in man.” European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 17, no. 1 (1980): 51-57.|
|↑10||Siebecker, Allison. “Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease.” Ph.D. diss., NCNM, 2004.|