The detox diet has rapidly become a huge trend in many health and fitness circles over the last few years. This rise in popularity has come from a surge in testimonials from those who have tried the diet, praising the effectiveness of their detox for improving their health, appearance, and performance.
However, despite the newfound popularity that these diets have gained, many people are still confused about what exactly a detox is, and how a detox diet works. While many sources on the internet would make it sound like a very complicated process, it’s actually really simple.
Through breaking down food, defending the body from infections, and recovering from stress and exercise, the body accumulates a number of chemicals that, if left unregulated, could build up to toxic levels and cause serious harm to the body.
The body has two main organs that help in regulating these chemicals so that this doesn’t happen: the liver and the kidneys. (1) These both act to break down and clear these chemicals from your body.
The purpose of a detox diet is to help improve the efficiency of these organs as well as helping protect these organs and promote their recovery. (2 )This is because, as with any organ, its continuous use causes a breakdown of its cells.
This can help you boost your health as well as help recovery from exercise to aid fitness and fat loss as well as support a range of bodily functions.
These benefits have been a key reason behind why so many people give rave reviews when they do a detox. But, there are a number of steps you can take that often go overlooked when doing a detox to maximize its effectiveness.
How to Prepare for Your First Detox
As mentioned above, there are a few extra things you can do before a detox to ensure it goes as well as possible and that you get the most benefit out of it.
Step 1: Assess Current Nutrition Practices of the Dieter
You should examine your current diet. The reason for this is that many individuals can be taking in a diet that is deficient in most nutrients without knowing. (3) This can even be the case with many athletes who are trying their best to eat a wholesome diet.
By making sure that you’re taking in foods that are rich in nutrients before, during, and after your detox, this will help you stay healthy, allowing you to reap the maximum benefit from your detox. It will also help you maintain these benefits long after your detox is finished.
Step 2: Make Time for Any Physical Activity of Your Choices
Part of detoxing is purging your body of toxins and other waste materials that may have built up. To expedite the process, regular physical activity like running or resistance training can help. This is because physical activity promotes cell turnover, blood circulation and sweating, all of which help get rid of toxins in various ways.
Many people who do a detox often reduce or stop their activity completely. This can often be due to low energy levels, or because they were recommended to do this by others who have tried a detox.
But, this will do more harm than good, as your fitness levels can drop if you don’t keep up your training. With this, your health benefits from your exercise program can deteriorate as well. So, keeping your exercise program constant is another important factor when undergoing a detox.
During a detox, a good weight training program would be particularly beneficial, as the low amount of calories can be very detrimental to muscle mass. So, a good amount of strength training should be applied to encourage muscle retention and make sure as much weight loss comes from fat as possible.
In a nutshell, if you follow a good diet and keep your exercise program regular, or start one during your detox, you can get a lot more bang for your buck.
Who Should Start A Detox Diet?
Another reason why these detox diets have been so popular is that they can be attempted by almost anybody who is healthy. For those who are looking to lose weight or improve their overall health and well-being, a detox may prove useful.
It may also be a good way to boost your focus and productivity at work or at home for better performance on projects or household errands. (6) It may be particularly useful for obese or overweight individuals who need to lose weight quickly as your detox will have a particularly low amount of calories.
Any of these individuals can start off a detox as quickly as they want. However, if you’re new to doing a detox, you can always gradually get used to the diet by starting with a regular diet, or you can try intermittent fasting.
This is where you keep eating to a specific set of hours during the day and fast for the remaining hours, and can be a great way of acclimatizing to the lower calorie detox diet, along with other benefits.
The Top 10 Biggest Detox Diet Health Benefits
As stated in the previous sections, there are a number of different and diverse benefits to carrying out a detox.
But, while weight loss to improve appearance or detoxing to help performance and mental clarity are all popular reasons for people doing a detox, the most common reason that people do a detox is usually to try to improve their health.
We’ve put together a quick list of the top 10 most beneficial effects of doing a detox to help you in considering whether to start one.
1. A Detox May Result in Noticeable Weight Loss
This is one of the most obvious benefits of a detox, and one that’s been talked about a lot. (7) However, this doesn’t make it any less beneficial. Lowering your weight can help improve your health and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
This huge perk of detoxing remains as important now, with obesity levels rising and poor nutrition choices prevailing all over the world, most especially in the United States.
2. A Detox Promotes Faster Recovery from External Stressors
Along with helping rid the body of potentially harmful chemicals, the liver is also used in helping create energy for the body and storing nutrients. (8)
By helping this organ function more efficiently, you are also helping your body recover from the psychological or physical stress it can deal with daily. Not many people realize the amount of strain they already live with on a daily basis due to poor sleep quality, too many stressors, and detrimental lifestyle habits such as excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. With regular detoxing, you can provide relief to your body’s natural filtration system so that it can recover more fully.
3. A Detox May Help Prevent Impaired Liver Function
Touched on above, a more direct benefit from a detox is that it can help protect your liver from the strain caused by breaking down chemicals such as alcohol.
In fact, one study actually found that there are some herbal nutrients that can be used to shorten the length of a hangover. (9)
This was done by preserving certain chemicals in the liver which help it function optimally. This is the heart of any detox diet and is a benefit they should all offer.
4. A Detox May Boost Liver and Kidney Function
As hinted at above, by preserving the health of the liver and kidneys, this allows the organs to operate faster at functions like clearing toxins and excreting waste. Some evidence of this is in the faster rate of alcohol metabolism that was seen in the study mentioned above. If you are a habitual drinker and smoker, detoxes should be a part of your lifestyle, along with a diet that is rich in whole foods that contain antioxidants and phytochemicals.
By keeping your organs healthy, you’re also ensuring that they can do a better job in keeping you healthy.
5. A Detox May Help Lower Bad Cholesterol and Raise Good Cholesterol
Another organ that a detox might indirectly help is the heart. By lowering body weight and limiting saturated fat intake, a detox can help reduce cholesterol levels. This can help prevent plaque build up in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. (9)
This could also help in lowering blood pressure to help reduce the risk of cardiac events and further limit stress on the body.
6. A Detox May Help Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Another benefit of the lower calorie detox diets is that they can help improve insulin sensitivity. This is a term used to describe how well the cells absorb and use blood sugar. So, an improved insulin sensitivity means more blood sugar is used by the body and not stored as fat.
This also means that a detox diet can help reduce email the risk of diabetes by directly lowering the amount of insulin needed to transport sugar into your cells.
7. A Detox Provides Support to the Immune System
Lower calorie diets, such as a detox diet, may also help protect you from nasty colds and flus. This is because they can increase the activity of the immune system, which is used to fight and kill viral and bacterial infections. (10)
Going on a detox diet may help stop an infection, particularly during colder months, where they are more common.
8. A Detox May Slow Down the Signs of Aging
Creating a caloric deficit, or taking in less energy than you use during the day, has been linked to a number of processes in the body which can help fight aging. This adds another reason that you can use a detox for both health and aesthetic improvement. (11)
Many people who overeat tend to do so with the wrong types of foods such as those that have been heavily processed or are laden with harmful preservatives and additives. By reducing your intake of these foods that contain free radicals that cause cellular degradation, you can help preserve your youthful looks.
9. A Detox May Be Good for Your Mental Health
Another benefit of following a lower calorie detox diet is that it can trigger a release of certain hormones in the brain which encourage the growth of new brain cells. These can help brain functioning, as well as prevent mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. (12)
Due to repeated exposure to environmental toxins that can cause cell death in the brain, it is never a bad idea to bolster brain health to prevent potential mental health and brain damage.
10. A Detox May Boost Energy Levels Better Than a Cup of Coffee
Another benefit of a detox which was mentioned earlier was it’s ability to improve focus and mental clarity. This is due to a number of hormones released by calorie restriction which increase awareness and focus. (13)
This can help you be more active and improve quality of life if you’re finding fatigue to be a common problem in your daily routine. Studies show that many Americans drink up to 3 cups of coffee a day just to stay awake and active. While caffeine in small doses is not inherently harmful, dependence on stimulants is a sign that you are not getting the energy you need through natural means.
How to Make Detox Water
Detox water is water that has been infused with a number of herbal preparations that give it the healthy properties of a detox diet. Detox water ingredients can vary. This means that you can get lemon detox water, strawberry detox water, or a whole range of flavours.
One of the best things about detox water is that you can either buy it ready made or you can create your own. This makes it easy and affordable to start off a detox water cleanse.
You can create a detox water mixture by simply leaving a combination of your selected herbs in a jar or container of water and leaving them to steep overnight. You can also buy a mixture that can be added to water to save you time.
The detox water benefits should be the same as all of the benefits listed above, but may vary depending on the herbs you use.
Popular Homemade Detox Water Recipes
Another big benefit of detox water is that it can easily be mixed into, or taken with, any type of meal or in any diet. You can also use it for boiling or cooking different foods.
With this in mind, we put together a few detox water recipes to help make your detox a more enjoyable experience.
1. Lemon, Lime and Orange
This simple recipe is tasty and can be made in an instant. The high levels of Vitamin C it contains will also help fight inflammation and aid the immune system.
2. Mango and Pineapple
This more exotic choice is also packed with Vitamin C. But. it also has some B Vitamins and bromelain, which can also be beneficial for energy levels and the immune system.
3. Mint, Cucumber and Watermelon
This is a slightly sharper tasting recipe for the summer. The electrolytes in the cucumber and watermelon will help keep you hydrated while the nutrients in the mint will help a range of bodily functions.
4. Strawberry and Mint
This fruity mixture is a great combination of the vitamins in the strawberries and the phytonutrients in the mint, both of which will deliver a powerful health hit, while tasting delicious.
Detoxes are a growing trend in health and fitness circles due to their rapid effects and wide range of health benefits. These can include a positive impact on everything from exercise and fitness, to physical and mental health.
These benefits can be easily and cheaply obtained by using detox water. If you don’t want to buy it ready-made, homemade detox water is a great option.
You can carry out a detox water cleanse to get a flat belly or just to boost your health, by including it in your cooking or by drinking it as a beverage.
By following our recipes such as those mentioned above, you can enjoy a varied and tasty detox while obtaining all of their benefits.
P.S. Have you signed up for my free 24 Hour Detox Challenge yet? If not, you can download the free meal plan and sign up here (includes my favorite raspberry and peach morning detox water, avocado and blueberry salad in a jar, ginger lemon tea and 4 other detox recipes for weight loss).