Our body encounters toxins every day; it’s important to ensure those toxins are naturally flushed by our organs so we can achieve optimal health and wellness. However, while you may think you need to follow a special diet or try out a million products in order to give your body a good detox, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, the healthiest way to detox your body is to sit back and let your organs do the work—any other method may actually be harmful.
To learn more, we spoke to nutritionist Paula Doebrich, MPH, RDN, of Happea Nutrition. She told us all about the importance of letting your body detox itself, as well as the possible dangers of harmful detox products.
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Take care of your body and let it handle things
As it turns out, Doebrich says you don’t need to rely on any special foods or magical supplements to flush your body of toxins—you just need to have a healthy, well-functioning body. “The best way to detox is by allowing your body to do its job,” she says.
Doebrich explains that our bodies are naturally well-equipped to remove toxins as necessary. “We have several organs that work to detox us,” she says. “The liver, the kidneys, the lungs, our digestive systems, and even the skin all work to protect us from harmful substances.” Isn’t that great to hear?! We’re already protected without having to spend loads of money on “detox” products.
So, how can you ensure your body is able to detox itself when necessary? Doebrich says maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is key. “The best way to support this process is by taking care of your body,” she says. “Eating a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables that provide antioxidants is one way.”
Additionally, focus on your gut by ensuring you’re consuming prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods. “Poor gut health may increase inflammation, which will reduce your ability to detox naturally,” Doebrich warns.
Of course, it’s important to limit your consumption of harmful products and substances as much as possible. Doebrich says you should especially be careful about how much alcohol you drink if you want to ensure your organs can carry out their detoxifying processes.
What exactly are those detoxifying organs and processes, though? Doebrich notes that your body detoxifies itself in a few different ways, starting with the liver. “Detox is one of the liver’s main functions,” she says. “It filters out toxins that are produced either as a byproduct of normal metabolism or that enter the body from the outside.”
Next up is the kidneys. “They act as a filter and help eliminate harmful substances,” Doebrich explains.
Additionally, your lungs and respiratory system provide a great deal of protection from toxins. “The lungs will get rid of toxins through respiration as they help you excrete mucus with toxins (aka coughing),” Deobrich notes. Amazing!
Our body also provides protection from toxins by preventing them from getting in to begin with. “For example, the hair inside our nose acts as a barrier that can catch tiny particles and prevent them from entering the body,” Doebrich says. The skin is another great organ; Doebrich says it’s the most important barrier.
Don’t fall for “detox” products
So, there you have it: you don’t need to drop big bucks on miracle detox products or bend over backwards to try out a special technique. In fact, Doebrich warns against it, as many of these “detox” methods are potentially harmful. “Many detox diets are based on fasting, which is counterproductive,” she says.
You should be especially wary of any laxative-based detox product. “If laxatives are recommended for detox it is important to keep in mind the risks of laxative abuse,” Doebrich warns. She says this can lead to serious issues like dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. “Both of these side effects may actually decrease how efficiently your body rids itself of toxins due to reduced kidney function.” Yikes! It’s best not to take that risk.
Above all, take any detox advice with a grain of salt, and always consult your doctor about these things. This is especially crucial when you consider the fact that detox products aren’t regulated. In fact, Doebrich says both the FDA and FTC have taken legal action regarding many detox products due to the fact that they contained illegal and harmful ingredients, made false claims, and more. “Detox programs and products are usually not based on science and are mostly a way to sell useless or dangerous products,” she says.
At the end of the day, the best method is to trust your body; it knows what it’s doing! “As long as you are healthy, your body will detox you—that’s what it is supposed to be doing,” Doebrich concludes.
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