Clean living has become something of a fad over the past decade, or rather an umbrella term for a whole list of different diets, habits, and actions that are designed to “clean your body” and “purge out impurities.” The idea of being a clean slate is an appealing one, so the fads using these idea of detoxing or cleansing tend to be very attractive. But is there any truth to the different ideas of clean living or is it all hype with no substance?
There are plenty of diet trends that come and go. Some of them have real benefits, some of those like “superfoods” are overblown, but mostly harmless. Some, like the Atkins diet, have had real negative consequences on the health of some individuals. The idea of a “juicing cleanse” is one of the most stubborn fads, but it’s also one that it has had little-to-no demonstrable benefits. The idea that fasting with juice alone can help cleanse the body of impurities has been shown to have no evidence to support its claims. In general, the ideas that foods can “flush” your systems is widely discredited.
Eliminating those impurities
Clean eating is another matter entirely and one that has a lot more scientific weight behind it. With the helpful acronym of “CRAP”, you can take a closer look at the four main sources of concern that clean eating is attempting to eliminate from your diet. It’s all about caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. There’s no denying that consuming too much of any of the above can have negative consequences. Caffeine can cause stress and sleep deprivation, refined sugar plays a huge role in obesity, and alcohol causes liver damage as well as lessening the efficiency of the brain over time. Limiting or eliminating your intake of any of the above can have positive effects on your health.
What’s the usual response to cutting all the “CRAP” out of your diet? A reliance on whole food ingredients, instead. Processed foods are considered to be one of the biggest dangers in the average modern diet. When you take ingredients like meat or vegetables and process them, whether it’s freezing them or adding preservatives, you are guaranteed to lose a significant portion of nutritional value that they might otherwise have. What’s more, they often contain more salt, more added sugar, and ingredients that might have long-term health consequences if you eat too much. By relying on whole foods, you know exactly what you are putting in your body. They don’t have any ingredients with lengthy names that you can’t pronounce.
The body’s natural detox process
So, can you body purify itself and can food have an impact in how, exactly, it does this? The answer is yes, but not in the same way that detox diets tend to work. Rather than consuming something that somehow works its way through your body and flushes out all the bad, it’s more about relying on and supporting the detoxification process the body is already in the middle of. We’re talking about organs like the liver and kidneys whose job it is to specifically make the waste process as efficient and effective as possible. You can simply eat foods to help improve the health of these organs. For instance, oatmeal improves liver health by ensuring it has enough fibre.
Detoxing against harmful substances
When people talk about using a detox to fight a dependency or an unhealthy coping mechanism using substances, they are talking about something entirely different. This is a process of abstinence and therapy that can help people who are dealing with serious alcohol or drug problems and has proven to be one of the most effective ways of treating it. Detox programs help flush the body of these harmful substances in the short-term while also providing long-term support so that the individual is much less likely to slip back into bad habits. It’s important that the idea of “going clean” and “detoxing” is never confused, but because we use the same language whether it’s talking about diet or other harmful substances, some people do get confused.
When you’re talking about “detoxing” in a diet sense, however, there is one aspect of a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t often get as much attention. We’re talking about the role that exercise can play in helping you better get rid of bodily waste. One of the most crucial ways that exercise helps, especially aerobic exercise, is that it improves the circulation of oxygen throughout the body, helping to increase the supply to your liver, kidneys, and digestive system. This helps each of them “detox” your body a little better. Drinking plenty of water is just as important, too. Water is used by the kidneys to filter impurities. Sweat is another way the body excretes waste, too, and you need to stay hydrated for that to happen.
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