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Brand New You

"After detoxing, I immediately felt a surge in energy and did not feel as tired as before. In three days, I had also lost about 1.5kg, and I felt lighter and more confident." Jane 33. Housewife.

Why Do It?

"Everyone can benefit from a detox programme,"" says Dr Sundardas DA, a naturopathic physician and clinical director of Natural Therapies Centre. All of us are toxic to a certain extent. Poor diet, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, stress, tension and pollution - all these contribute to a build-up of toxins or poisonous substances in the body, which over time, can be detrimental to your health.

The body has a natural defense mechanism against these toxins, and "the younger and healthier you are, the better your body will be at getting rid of these poisons", he explains. "But the older or less healthy you are, the poorer this protective response, and the greater the possibility of damage occurring to your body." Going on a detox programme helps accelerate the elimination of toxic substances in our system.

The Subsequent Benefits?

  • Renewed energy
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced dependency on caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
  • The stomach feels less bloated and returns to its normal size
  • Your intestinal tracts and major organs are able to function much more effectively
  • An overall improvement of health through better follow-up nutrition

The frequency of detoxing depends on the type of programme. Simple ones could be done perhaps two to four times a year. More complex, intense ones can be scheduled annually.

Just Hype?

Not everyone believes that detox programmes work, though. Sense about Science, a British charitable trust that works to ensure accurate scientific and medical information for the public, said in January that one's liver and kidneys are natural chemical factories that get rid of harmful chemicals. 

Tracey Brown, director of the trust, had said, "The body thus detoxifies itself. The body is rehydrated with ordinary tap water. It is refreshed with a good night's sleep. These processes do not occur more effectively as a result of taking `detox' tablets, wearing `detox' socks, having a `detox' body wrap, eating nettle root extract, drinking herbal infusions or `oxygenated' water, following a special `detox' diet, or using any of the other products and rituals that are promoted.

Do It At Home

So the bottom line is really to watch what you eat. But if expense account lunches and takeaway dinnerat-your-desk are the norm, you may still want to try detox to kickstart a healthier regime. Marketing hype aside, detox doesn't have to mean signing up at a wellness centre. You can also do it at home. It can be as simple as starting with a diet of salad and vegetable soup with lots of potassium, but no rice, noodles and glutinous food for a few days, suggests expert.

Or reduce meat to once a week for a month, says expert. These gentle purifying methods are good for novices unused to going three days straight without solid food. On a more regular basis, try to eat organic food, he adds. Non-organic foods are full chemicals since they are routinely grown with the use of pesticides and fertilizers. With organic food, you'll be eliminating these toxins from your diet.

Eat more fruits and vegetables - they're obviously good for you. Even more so if you take your greens steamed, or better yet, raw to fully absorb all their natural vitamins. Fruits are an excellent source of fibre and naturally perfect for cleansing the system!

Do It Safely

Note that you may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, loose bowels, increased perspiration or bad breath. These are some symptoms of detoxification and may last from a few hours to one to two days. But they are merely signs that your body is healing and successfully eliminating the toxins.


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