Most of us are worried when we put on that little extra weight. Recently, a one of my pals came to me cribbing “Hey! I have put on oodles of weight. I tried every possible diet… but nothing seems to work! Do something!”
Amidst listening to her cribs and complaints, I noticed that she looked absolutely dull and was feeling terribly lethargic. It seemed like someone’s sucked all the energy out of her. A detailed conversation with her led me to discover that she was over-exerting herself at work and ending up binge-eating to counter stress.
This in turn was followed by unreasonable crash diets and excessive exercise to burn up the excess calories. Little was she aware that her body was actually in dire need of some essential nutrients which could make her healthy for the better.
Today, most of us lead a very fast paced lifestyle. And this lifestyle is associated with certain inevitable factors such as stress, pollution, physical exertion, few negative habits such as drinking alcohol and smoking etc. As one’s body gets continuously exposed to these factors, there comes a point wherein the body gives up. The body gets weighed down by huge amounts of toxins which essentially needs to be flushed out.
These toxins includes waste products that result from normal cell activity, such as ammonia, and also the chemicals that we consume almost daily through air, water and food like flavoured enhancers, food colours, pesticides, and preservatives. A cumulative load of these toxins is known to slow down the body metabolism which in turn results in weight gain and other health-related issues such as indigestion, impaired immune function, low energy levels, lethargy, fatigue, poor concentration, headache, dull skin and so on.
Body has its own ways of detoxifying itself. Liver is the main organ which has detoxification as its primary function. The other organs like intestine, kidneys, lungs, skin and blood work together with the liver to ensure that toxins are transformed into less harmful substances and excreted from the body via urine, stools, sweat or breath.
Just as your car engine needs servicing so that it runs better, your body organs also need to be cleansed at regular intervals so that they perform their functions well and at a faster rate. One way to cleanse your body is through food by including various detox foods into your diet.
Detox foods include the ones that are power packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and water. The antioxidants neutralize the toxic free radicals that are generated due to stress, excessive exercise, air pollution, etc. whereas fibre and water draw out and eliminate toxins by increasing the frequency of bowel movements and urination.
While detox dieting is a great way of cleaning your body internally, it can be beneficial to lose weight as well.
How is that possible? As detox foods cleanse the liver by flushing out the toxins, it actually gives relief to the liver by reducing its workload. This gives liver a chance to focus on its next important function which is fat metabolism. Thus, many of whom I know have found that detox dieting is a wonderful way to kick off those extra kilos or to get over a weight loss plateau. Apart from weight loss, the other benefits of detox foods include improved digestion, regular bowel movements, and improved energy levels, lowered levels of fatigue, improved concentration and glowing skin.
Now the next big question is how often should you detoxify yourself? According to me, at least once a week and preferably choose a day which is followed by what you call “a cheat day”. So after having an exhaustive week and a fun-filled Sunday where you break free and grab that cup-cake or a pan pizza, Monday is a perfect day to detoxify yourself. A detox food menu would ideally include colourful fruits, all kinds of veggies – either stir-fried or in the form of soup/juice/salad, beans and lentils, nuts and dry fruits, oats, beverages such as green tea, coconut water, aloe Vera juice and many more.
Remember, we are keeping the proteins at bay just to avoid burdening our digestive system and kidneys with extra work as proteins are heavy to metabolize. Thus, milk, cheese, butter, cream, eggs, meat and meat products are out of the list. Other foods to keep away during detox include wheat products, excessive sugar, unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats), processed foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and alcohol- that goes without saying!
Detox diet will therefore rejuvenate your system, re-energize you and gear you up for all the meetings and assignments lined up for the week. A word of caution here –Pregnant and nursing women shouldn’t go for Detox diet. Otherwise, it’s an amazing experience. So get started with it and feel the difference.