Whether it’s overindulging in food or consuming too much alcohol, there are many reasons why people choose to look for a detox. But are you choosing the right detox for you?
With an abundance of health advice, choosing the right detox can seem overwhelming, but according to Matt Legge, Research and Development Director at ATP Science, it needn't be.
Matt says that while every body should be considered individually, the detoxing process should be simple and natural by getting your diet back to basics.
Here, Matt provides simple tips to give your body the detox it needs:
Know your body
"The more you know about your body the better," Matt says. "The best way to know is to approach your healthcare practitioner and work out a test that will indicate what relevant nutrients will be of benefit."
For a general starting point, Matt suggests an organic acid test. "It's a urine test that measures all types of waste that can give a snapshot of many systems all at once, showing toxins that may be from your gut or brain chemistry. It can also show waste that indicate liver and kidney deficiencies or environmental toxic exposure."
The general cleanse
For a general clean-up, Matt says to first look at your lifestyle and find out what toxins are coming in, then try to eliminate as much as possible.
"Start your detox with herbs, spices, and vegetables, like broccoli, brussels sprouts, radishes, kale, rosemary and coriander," he says.
"Opt for foods containing protein such as free-range or organic meat, eggs and fish. If you're a vegetarian, cereals, legumes and grains are good sources of protein," he adds.
The final word will have to go to the bowel and bladder, so help everything to flush out by eating lots of vitamins and minerals found in nutrient-dense plants, fruits and vegetables.
Ensure you are consuming plenty of water and fibre to keep those pathways moving and complete the elimination during your detox.
To clarify skin
Our skin goes through a lot in our life, so if it's looking a bit drab and could do with some R&R, Matt suggests packing it with antioxidants and spices.
Tomatoes contain a powerful amount of antioxidants and along with agents that protect the skin from any damage. Matt even suggests that a daily tablespoon of tomato paste will provide the same amount of antixoidants found in many skin supplements.
"Consuming herbs like turmeric, saw palmetto, fenugreek and nettle root will be of great benefit to the skin, as well as nuts and seeds which contain zinc and selenium," he says. "Three or four brazil nuts daily will cover your zinc and selenium requirements for healthy skin."
You need extra protein during a detox, so it's important to be mindful of what foods are iron-rich and can absorb iron well.
While avoiding meat is the most common cause for low iron and fatigue, Matt shares some tips that will help a vegetarian diet remain healthy and balanced:
"Focus on plant-based vegetables like broccoli, silverbeet and spinach that are rich in iron and will be absorbed well in the body," he says.
Green tea, black tea and cranberry are poor in absorbing iron, so it's best to consume these separately to when you consume iron-rich foods so the iron has time to benefit the body.
After drinking alcohol
After a solid session of alcohol intake, our bodies need rehydrating. So along with drinking plenty of water, Matt recommends implementing electrolytes into our bodies, such as magnesium, sodium, calcium and potassium.
As alcohol is a toxin, the liver will be quickly trying to remove the toxins and will need to be replenished. Reboot your liver after bingeing with watercress, Schisandra berries, milk thistle, green tea, rosemary and turmeric.
For gut health
Our intestines have a hard job disgesting everything we consume, so our gut can greatly benefit from a detox.
Matt recommends focusing your diet on the fibre of the peels, skins, seeds and pulp of our foods and avoiding starch.
"Most gut bugs live in the large intestine and feed on sugars," Matt says.
"Spending some time avoiding complex sugar molecules like starch while supplementing with the will make a fast change to the gut flora."