When spring rolls around, people often clean their bodies just as they would clean their homes. For thousands of years people have detoxified as a way to remove harmful substances from the body. Today, detox diets are one of the cornerstones of alternative health, and for some, a quick way to lose weight.
But are detox diets effective? Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett says detox diets are designed for rejuvenation, not weight loss. Detox “diets” throw your body into starvation mode, and within 24 hours, you can begin to lose muscle mass and water, not fat.
Sweet and Sour
The popular maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper detox, is effective at shedding pounds, but not in the most healthy way. The diet lacks key nutrients and calories. Cardiothoracic surgeon and alternative healing advocate, Dr. Mehmet Oz says when the body doesn’t get enough calories it goes into starvation mode, and uses muscle mass as fuel. Muscle burns calories, and once you go off, the reduction in lean muscle tissue burns less calories, causing weight gain.
All Juice Cleanse
While key nutrients are provided in freshly made juice drinks, they typically don’t contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for brain functioning. These drinks contain a lot of sugar, but often lack fiber to regulate blood sugar levels. Instead of providing sustained stamina, they can create jagged shifts in energy and mood.
Herbs and Supplements
Some detox diets advocate using expensive herbal blends or supplements to aid in the removal of harmful substances. You may want to consider saving your money. Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., says there is little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body, and that the body is naturally effective at removing most of them on its own.
If you want to skip diets altogether, here are some ways to detox naturally:
Love Your Liver
The liver is the body’s biggest organ. It prevents incoming toxins from penetrating the system by filtering them out. To keep your filtration system clean, include berries and hot peppers in your diet. Berries enable your liver to eliminate more toxins, and chili peppers stimulate enzymes that are responsible for detoxifying the liver.
Flush Your Tubes
The intestinal tract produces more toxins than any other organ. Good and bad bacteria live in the colon, and it needs to be flushed daily. Plenty of water and a diet rich in fiber are the most effective ways to clear the path to a toxin-free body. The phosphorus in whole grains acts as a natural laxative, and water keeps things moving.
Kidneys are hard working blood cleansers. Every 40 minutes they filter all the blood in your body. To boost kidney function and detoxify your blood, include soy and cruciferous vegetables in your diet. Soy acts as a diuretic, and helps the kidneys flush liquid. Vegetables such as broccoli, kale and mustard greens are the most powerful food when it comes to detoxification.
Zeratsky warns that detox diets can cause dehydration, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Dr. Oz advises to keep it short, no more than two days. Be sure to include whole grains such as quinoa, and plenty of vegetables. Cabbage, ginger, pineapple, celery, radish, cucumber, lemon, and bananas are especially beneficial, as are beans, nuts and flax seeds.
Your body has its own finely tuned detoxification system, and by fueling it with foods such as fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein, and whole grains, on a daily basis, you’ll always be feeling your best.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.