The debate around detoxing
The conversations that happen around the water cooler or the coffee machine after the Christmas and holiday festivities quite often involve a couple of key topics: food (too much of it), exercise (a little on the low side) and weight (where did that come from?).
Enter the practice of ‘detoxing’. Detoxifying the body is not new, but every new year, detox diets are really quite fashionable. Apparently, if you are feeling a bit low and lacking in energy, a spot of detox will do the trick.
These detox diets – often celebrity driven – promise to flush poisons from your body, purge kilos of excess fat, produce a flawless complexion, and boost your immune system.
Funnily enough, so called ‘detoxes’ are not needed to gain such benefits, healthy eating and regular exercise will do it!
The idea of detoxifying your body of so-called harmful substances has been around for centuries and like most fad diets, come and go with fashion.
At Healthier Workplace WA, we know that the human body is very clever. So clever, that it rids itself of toxins whenever they come by, using helpful organs like the lungs, liver, kidneys, also aided by our gastrointestinal tract and our immune system.
The liver plays a leading role, as most of the end products of digestion of food and drinks are transported directly to the liver. Poisons and drugs are also metabolised and detoxified in the liver, so it’s an important organ to look after.
The great news is that you do not need to externally detox your body by going on a fad diet. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that detox diets actually work.
There are many detox diets around and all fit into the ‘fad diet’ category. These diets often recommend avoiding whole food groups or relying on liquids only (e.g. juice diet), and if followed for any length of time can be dangerous to health. Fad or detox diets are particularly dangerous for children, teenagers, pregnant or breastfeeding women and the elderly.
A very popular detoxing practice is to have a wheatgrass shot when strolling past the local juice bar. It’s the beautiful looking green grass on the counter. You will love it if you have the appetite of a cow and don’t mind the flavour of grass. There are many touted benefits of wheatgrass and the only thing it supposedly can not do is wash your clothes. Of course, none of the wheatgrass health claims have ever been proven.
To gain energy, support your immune system and feel revitalised, it is easier and more effective to avoid cigarettes and reduce your intake of alcohol, saturated and trans fats, salt and foods and drinks high in added sugar. For even better results, combine this with a diet high in fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and, of course, get your body moving.
If you want to improve your health, My Healthy Balance is a free online program designed by health professionals including dietitians, diabetes educators, nutritionists and health promotion professionals.
Until next time...
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