Detox Diet: 8 Natural Plans

1 of
  • The Risks of Detox Diets

    The Risks of Detox Diets

    Detox diets, such as juice cleanses or raw food diets, have become increasingly popular in the last few years. With promises like significant weight loss, reduced bloating, and increased energy, it’s easy to see why people are eager to try these diets. Unfortunately, the risks are often overlooked. Many detox diets involve fasting and severely limiting food intake, which, according to Mayo Clinic, can result in “vitamin and mineral deficiencies.” Many detox plans also recommend colon cleansing, which can cause intestinal distress, to put it mildly.

    While detox diets claim to flush toxins out of your body, your body is already doing that on its own; your intestinal tract, kidneys, and liver all work to eliminate toxins through bodily waste. Additionally, there is little evidence that these diets actually help remove toxins from your body.

    Detox diets are often not recommended for people with diabetes, heart disease, or other chronic medical conditions. Pregnant women, teenagers, and people with eating disorders should also avoid these kinds of diets.

    Find out which foods have the most vitamins »

  • Potential Benefits of Detox Diets

    Potential Benefits of Detox Diets

    Advocates of detox diets claim that they have numerous benefits: improved complexion, weight loss, decreased bloating, and better digestive functioning. Many people claim to feel more focused and energized during and after the diet.

    Weight loss is a popular and often welcomed side effect of detox diets. While these diets are never a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet, the potential benefits are appealing, even if they are only temporary.

  • Beat the Bloat

    Beat the Bloat

    Advocates often claim that detox diets reduce bloating.  A much easier and healthier long-term solution is to reduce the amount of salt you eat. The average American consumes almost 1.5 times more sodium than the recommended guidelines! Packaged (and sometimes fresh) foods may be high in sodium or have sodium added, so it is important to check the nutrition facts and labels of the foods you are buying. 

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises choosing foods whose nutrition facts say they have 5 percent daily value (DV) or less of sodium. Foods with more than 20 percent DV are considered high.

  • Fiber

    Fiber

    Detox diets that instruct you to eat lots of fruits and vegetables are on the right track, because we all need a healthy amount of fiber. According to Mayo Clinic, women should aim to consume 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams per day. 

    Here’s an example of a fiber-rich breakfast suitable for both men and women:

    • ½ cup raspberries
    • 10 almonds
    • 1 cup instant oatmeal 

  • Natural Energy

    Natural Energy

    Looking for an energy boost? You don’t need a detox diet. One tasty way to increase your energy is to have a piece of chocolate. In addition to caffeine, chocolate contains flavonoids, which have been found to boost cognitive skills and improve your mood.

    Another way to combat drowsiness is to drink plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can make you feel sleepy. Next time you’re feeling fatigued, drink a glass or two of water. Stay ahead of the game by keeping a large water bottle with you so you can stay hydrated by sipping throughout the day. Lemon is considered a stimulating scent, so you can also add a wedge or two to your water and enjoy the taste as well as the benefits!

  • Improve Your Complexion

    Improve Your Complexion

    If you want your skin to “glow,” head to the produce aisle. Antioxidant-rich foods contain vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta carotene, and help fight free radicals. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, free radicals can cause “oxidative stress,” which causes cell damage and has been linked to conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and eye diseases.

    Aim for five to nine servings per day of foods like citrus fruits, berries, mango, sweet potatoes, onion, broccoli, and spinach to keep your skin looking healthy.

  • Improve Your Breath

    Improve Your Breath

    Some detox diets like juice cleanses claim to improve your breath. If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your breath that doesn’t involve a purely liquid diet, make yourself some green tea.

    Green tea has antibacterial properties and has been shown to help control the amount of bacteria in your mouth. A study found that using green tea as a mouthwash helped improve breath and inhibit gingivitis-causing bacteria. 

  • Strategic Eating

    Strategic Eating

    Losing weight can be a frustrating and uncomfortable process. Anyone who has tried to significantly reduce the amount of food they eat per meal knows that constant hunger is pretty awful. While portion control is a very important part of losing and managing weight, feeling hungry all the time doesn’t have to be.

    Get the most out of your meals by including high-fiber foods and foods high in water content, like grapefruits or carrots. These will help you feel full for longer periods of time.

  • Keep Your Liver Functioning Properly

    Keep Your Liver Functioning Properly

    Many detox diets claim to support liver function, but your body, including your liver, is designed to purify itself.

    By eating a healthy and balanced diet, you can ensure that all of your organs can function properly. The American Liver Foundation recommends that you avoid fried food, and foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.

    Instead of ordering fried food, prepare your meal at home by grilling your meat and veggies. Another healthier alternative to fried food is to oven-bake it. 

  • Boost Your Immune System

    Boost Your Immune System

    It’s not easy to strengthen your immune system without going on an extreme diet. Try incorporating the following foods to make sure your immune system stays strong:

    • fresh fruits and vegetables
    • grains
    • mushrooms
    • herbs
    • teas
    • omega-3 fatty acids (found in freshwater fish like salmon)
    • complex carbohydrates
    • yogurt and seaweed

    These foods are thought to increase production of antibodies and cells that fight infection.

References:

  • Basic report: 20481, wheat flour, white, all-purpose, unenriched. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6509?fg=Cereal+Grains+and+Pasta&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=wheat
  • Basic report: 20649, wheat flour, whole-grain, soft wheat. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6532?fg=Cereal+Grains+and+Pasta&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=wheat
  • Diepvens, K., Westerterp, K. R., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2007). Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 292, R77-R85. Doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00832.2005
  • Din, J. N., Newby, D. E., & Flapan, A. D. (2004). Omega 3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease—fishing for a natural treatment. BMJ, 328(3), 30-35. Doi: 10.1136/bmj.328.7430.30
  • Dow, C. A., Going, S. B., Chow, H. S., Patil, B. S., & Thomson, C. A. (2012). The effects of daily consumption of grapefruit on body weight, lipids, and blood pressure in healthy, overweight adults. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, 61(7), 1026-1035. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2011.12.004
  • Esmaillzadeh, A., Mirmiran, P., & Azizi, F. (2005). Whole-grain consumption and the metabolic syndrome: A favorable association in Tehranian adults. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 59(3), 353-362. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15536473?dopt=Abstract
  • Fujioka, K., Greenway, F., Sheard, J., & Ying, Y. (2006). The effect of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: Relationship to metabolic syndrome. Journal of Medicinal Food, 9(1), 49-54. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2006.9.49
  • Heckman, M. A., Weil, J., & De Mejia, E. G. (2010). Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) in foods: A comprehensive review on consumption, functionality, safety, and regulatory matters. Journal of Food Science, 75(3), R77-R87. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01561.x
  • How to fuel your workout. (2013, April). Retrieved from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442471759 
  • Johnston, C. S. (2005). Strategies for healthy weight loss: From vitamin C to the glycemic response. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 24(3), 158-165. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2005.10719460
Advertisement
Advertisement