Do You Need a Detox Diet?

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Detox diets continue to make headlines.  Indeed, the women who come to Green Mountain frequently ask about whether a detox diet is something they should consider.  I always answer that what we’re feeding them at Green Mountain provides the best support for helping your body eliminate toxins.  This article I wrote for Spry Living tells more.

leafy greens salad vegetable

Leafy greens are powerhouses of nutrients needed for detoxing.

Experts claim we’re exposed to more toxins today than ever before in human history.  Pesticides, heavy metals, petrochemicals, molds, medications and more may be mucking up our systems, leading to problems such as fibromyalgia, depression, food allergies, bloating,  headaches and, yes, difficulty achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

So should we all periodically fast, or follow some master plan for detoxing, to cleanse our bodies?  Not so fast….

The fact is that our bodies are very efficient at detoxing themselves.  We’re built to identify and eliminate toxic substances that we eat, breathe or manufacture internally. Today’s problem is that at the same time we’re overloading with toxins, we’re not supplying our bodies with the nutrients we need to get rid of them.

Support your body’s natural ability to protect your health and achieve a healthy weight with a plan that reduces exposure to toxins while at the same time ramping up your ability to eliminate them.  Here’s how.

Eat plenty of vegetables.  Colorful vegetables power up your natural detoxing ability. Remember the plate model? The biggest space is meant for vegetables! Choose plenty of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts.  Garlic and onions provide sulfur, an important mineral for detoxing.

Choose wisely.  Selecting organically-produced food – both plant and animal — is considered the most recognized way to reduce exposure to toxins.  According to the Environmental Working Group, you can significantly reduce your overall exposure to pesticides by buying organic when you choose items listed in the Dirty Dozen.  But some experts say the Dirty Dozen is too simplistic but others say we don’t have good research on what’s safe and what’s not so the Dirty Dozen gives a quick, easy guide to reducing exposure. That said, the biggest boost might be the first point above, just because you’re getting the nutrients needed to get rid of toxins. Also minimize use of over-the-counter medications, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol.

Drink plenty of clean water.  It helps flush toxins from your body.  Know whether your water supply measures up; use water filters if it doesn’t.

Stay active.  Exercise gets everything moving, including your blood and lymphatic system, which transports nutrients and helps eliminate toxins.  Think cardiovascular, strength and stretching exercises at least five days a week.

Sweat.  Our skin is our largest organ, and it’s also one of the best routes for eliminating toxins.  Chances are you’ll work up a sweat with exercise, but try adding saunas and steam rooms to your routine.

Keep your gi track moving.  Daily bowel movements are important to get rid of wastes of all kinds, including toxins.  If you’re falling short there, try adding ground flax seed and/or probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt and kefir to your daily routine.

Relax.  Stress produces significant amounts of toxins, too. That makes learning how to relax and otherwise take care of ourselves just as important as everything listed above.


One response to “Do You Need a Detox Diet?”

  1. Candy Dish: Healthy Candy : CollegeCandy says:

    […] Do or don’t: the detox diet […]

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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