Detoxify Yourself for Longevity and Health
If you’re often tired or struggle with ongoing aches or digestive issues, you might benefit from a detoxification diet. A detoxification diet has been a time-honored way to restore energy and well-being. Just like scheduling regular oil changes for your car, feeding your body a periodic detoxification diet can help it to run more smoothly so that it supports you in accomplishing your goals. By encouraging the body to release substances that it normally doesn’t release, a detoxification diet can help relieve poor digestion, fatigue, headaches, rashes, eczema, acne, bad breath, or joint pain.
The concept of improving your health through an inner-body cleansing is not new. The idea originates from ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian medicine. In the United States, cleansing was first practiced by Native Americans in their ritual sweating ceremonies during the change of seasons. The detoxification programs that naturopathic medicine professionals have developed, however, are quite different than fasting and should be done under the supervision of a naturopathic physician in order to ensure appropriate detoxification stimulation and support.
Symptoms which can indicate the need for a detoxification diet can include bad breath, allergies, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, digestive symptoms, joint pain, headaches, and skin symptoms including rashes, itching, or strong body odor. Even if you eat well, many toxins from the air, water, and normal life stressors can accumulate in your body and compromise your health.
Detox diets involve limiting one’s diet for a defined period of time to whole, unrefined, non-allergenic foods. Specific recommendations vary for each individual. Often coffee, alcohol and sugar are eliminated. A typical detoxification diet lasts for two to four weeks. It starts with dietary changes and often incorporates supplementation with nutrients and botanicals, and sometimes physical medicine treatments as well. At the beginning of a detoxification cleanse, some people may experience headaches, poor concentration, and fatigue. Often referred to as a “detox reaction” or the “detox blahs,” these symptoms occur as toxins are released from the body. These symptoms usually diminish by the fourth or fifth day and most people begin to notice improved mental clarity, increased energy, and most importantly, the absence of their initial symptoms.
For a variety of reasons, it’s important to conduct a detoxification diet only under a clinician’s care. A practitioner can recommend lifestyle measures that will help facilitate the detoxification process and also help you assess whether to remove certain foods or environmental toxins from your diet long-term. Phoebe Yin, ND, a resident physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, emphasizes that exercise may be important for detoxification because it increases circulation and increases movement of metabolic waste. She also recommends certain foods that are especially beneficial for cleansing the liver—the primary organ for detoxification—which include ground milk thistle seeds, dandelion root, artichoke leaves, garlic, onions, and brassica vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Call (206) 834-4100 if you would like to make an appointment to discuss a detoxification plan with a Bastyr practitioner.
Writer: Sydney Maupin, Staff Writer
Contributors: Phoebe Yin, ND