What is detoxification?
The liver is the wonderful organ. Lot many processes are happening inside the life. One of the important processes is the detoxification. It’s a natural process to break down toxic substances. Every drug, artificial chemical, pesticide, and hormone, is broken down and ultimately removed from the body using different enzymes.
The need for detoxification
Nowadays due to sedentary work culture, lack of exercise and use of packed and processed foods will lead to stress and this will generate lots of free radicals inside the body. Intake of fruits and vegetables containing anti-oxidants is getting reduced than the recommended allowance. Fruits and vegetables that we are consuming are growing not only in size but also with a load of pesticides and chemicals. Stress is the major root cause of various diseases. Due to stress, people feel low in energy level, drowsy, headache, weakness, dullness, disturbed sleep, etc.
The percentage of people smoking and taking alcohol is growing and this will also increase the need for a specific detox diet. Lack of exercise due to the busy schedule will also lead to storage of free radicals in the body so the body needs to detoxify those using anti-oxidants and phytochemicals.
2. Gut flora
Research says that microbial flora is one of the important element involved in various body processes. Nourishing gut flora will help the body to recover fast from any reaction. Dietary sources of detox will definitely boost immunity and strengthen the digestive system. People are taking lots of drugs and supplements without need and prescription so the overload of certain elements can be toxic to the body. Using water and other nutrients that boost natural detoxication process is important to flush toxins out of the human body.
Pollution, low oxygen level in air, use of new technologies such microwaves, AC, exposure to various radiations will generate petrochemicals. So removal of these chemicals is necessary for our healthy living.
We commonly hear debate whether special detox diet will be helpful or really needed? So firstly it is important to understand the detoxification process. This process involves Phase 1 and Phase 2 reactions. These reactions need various enzymes and certain food elements will help to boost the process.
Phase 1 detoxification converts a toxic chemical into a less harmful chemical. This is achieved by various chemical reactions and is catalyzed by enzymes referred to as the cytochrome P450. During the process of Phase 1 free-radical are produced which, if excessive, can damage the liver cells. Natural antioxidants present in food can reduce the damage caused by these free radicals. Other Nutrients that help in boosting the reaction are B-complex vitamins, Vitamin A, C, D3, E, Calcium, etc. Food sources rich in these vitamins should be included in the diet.
Food sources are as follows: Milk and milk products, cereals, citrus fruits like orange, amla, sweet lime, lemon, and melon family. orange and red-colored vegetables like carrots, beetroot, tomato, etc. contain carotenoids. Also, meat, sprouts, vegetable oils, etc should be included in the regular diet.
In Phase 2 detoxification liver cells add another substance (cysteine, glycine or a sulphur molecule) to a toxic chemical or drug, to render it less harmful and water soluble. For efficient phase two detoxification, the liver cells require sulphur-containing amino acids such as taurine and cysteine and nutrients like glycine, glutamine, choline, and inositol. Glutathione (GSH) transferase is the key enzyme to catalyze the phase 2 detoxification process. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulphur so including those veggies in diet will help in boosting phase 2 detoxification. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and radish are cruciferous vegetables also other food sources which boost phase 2 detoxification process are as follows:
* Dried fruits
Role of curcumin:
Curcumin is a polyphenol commonly derived from turmeric and famous for its pharmacological and therapeutic properties. Curcumin has a role in detoxification as well. One study shows that dietary curcumin inhibited CYP enzyme-mediated reaction (Phase 1 detoxification) and up-regulated defense system including GST enzyme activity (Phase 2 detoxification). Front Pharmacol. 2018; 9: 554. It means that people with disturbed phase 1 detoxification should avoid excessive use of turmeric in their diet.
Detox water, also known as fruit-flavored water or fruit-infused water is essentially a combination of water and fruits, herbs, or both. Various companies promote ready-to-drink juices or water bottles but making them at home is the easy and the best way.
People usually forget to drink water in between meals. The use of infused water will help in hydration as well as keeps the individual fresh and energetic. Many people claim that detox water will result in weight loss but as every human body is different; everyone cannot get the same result. But it will surely hydrate and refresh every individual.
Another side of the Detox Diet
The daily diet we hardly eat 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables which need to be increased to 7-8 servings/day. Smoothies and vegetable juices will help to achieve recommendations. Smoothies consist of any available fruit and using the base as curd or yogurt or soy milk people can prepare smoothies. We can also make use of Dry fruits, oats, dates, etc. This diet also eliminates allergic foods. It is easy to prepare and saves time. Ingredients used in a detox diet are easy to digest so definitely after doing this diet people feel light.
Effects of detox diet:
Now a day’s everybody is aware of “Detox diets”. These are getting popular because of its results. Most people use this for weight loss purposes but no clinical evidence shows that the detox diet will lead to weight loss.
Actually, people are doing research for finding various other co-relations between the detox diet and its effects. One study supposes that the lemon detox program reduces body fat and insulin resistance through caloric restriction and might have a potentially beneficial effect on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It is shown that a successful reduction in circulating hs-CRP without hematological changes. ( Nutr Res. 2015 May;35(5):409-20.)
Another study claims that the use of cruciferous vegetables in a regular diet alters the detoxification process and thereby decreases the risk of lung cancer. Smoking and air pollution exposure lead to lung cancer. Air-borne carcinogenic compounds from smoking and air pollution are neutralized by a sulfur compound present in cruciferous vegetables. (Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Sep;62(18)
How many days should you detox?
There is nothing ruled as such but people try them for 3 days or 7 days or can extend it up to twenty to thirty days also. You can start with once a week and gradually can increase the time period as the body adapts to it.
A well-designed detoxification plan can be of your help. Understanding the importance of foods that helps in detoxification is essential. The right program can give your liver and overall health a helping hand to eliminate excess toxins. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake through raw salads, smoothies, and juices should b the main focus. Nourishing gut flora using probiotics like curd and plenty of fluids will help in overall living healthy. Diet is easy to prepare for the daily busy schedule. Unhealthy foods like processed foods, excess fats, excess sugar and sweets should be avoided in this diet.
Food provides nutrients that boost your body to naturally detoxify, but sometimes providing specific nutrients in the recommended dose will help in cleansing your liver and other detoxification organs.