Spring is here, and along with cleaning our homes, we tend to look for programs or diets that will help to cleanse our bodies, too. With that comes a slew of “special” programs and diets that are meant to promote detoxification. With so many options out there, who’s to know what’s safe and effective?
With these tips in mind, here’s a breakdown of some trends to try, and others to skip this spring.
Spring detox trends to try
Chlorophyll is the green substance in plants that allow them to make food from carbon dioxide and water. Chlorophyll supplements are extremely popular because of their potential ability to support weight loss and healthy digestion. And using green powders or supplements containing chlorophyll is a popular method of detoxification.
Chlorophyll has shown to support what are called “phase II biotransformation enzymes,” which promote the elimination of harmful toxins and support liver health.†
The best way to bring chlorophyll into your diet is by eating leafy green vegetables and raw (or lightly cooked) green veggies. Juicing these foods is also an easy way to boost your chlorophyll intake. Supplements can also be taken orally and a few drops of liquid chlorophyll can be added to a glass of water 1-2 times daily.
2. Detox teas
Some excellent detox tea options include:
You can also find ready-to-serve “detox teas” in your local health food store. They usually contain a combination of detoxifying herbs, like ginger, burdock, dandelion, chicory root and more. These are also great options for a natural detox.
3. Tongue scraping
Tongue scraping is a practice in Ayurvedic medicine that’s meant to remove dead skin cells, bacteria, debris and toxins from the tongue. In Ayurvedic medicine, stimulating the tongue is known to improve the flow of energy, promote detoxification and stimulate digestion. It’s really a simple way to cleanse potential toxins from the body, and it improves your breath too.
To do it properly, you’ll need a tongue scraper. Then simply touch the scraper toward the back of your tongue and move it forward to the tip of your tongue. Then use a washcloth or tissue to remove the buildup and repeat from the back of tongue again, until you’ve hit the entire surface area. Do this 1-2 times daily.
4. Infrared sauna
Heat treatments have been used for thousands of years to promote detoxification and healing. Infrared sauna uses heat and light to detoxify the body. The light waves omitted in the sauna create heat in the body, causing you to sweat and release toxins.
Infrared lamp saunas are also available and can be used right in your home. The light waves penetrate the skin, producing internal heat, but they don’t cause heat around the room.
Research shows that heat therapy can also help to improve chronic pain and improve heart function.
5. Chelation therapy
Chelation therapy is meant to remove heavy metals and toxins from the body. A chemical solution, called EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), is administered into the body, where it binds to toxins. Once EDTA, which is a synthetic amino acid, attaches to the heavy metals, they move to the kidneys together and are eliminated through urine.
Although it was first discovered to treat metal poisoning, research suggests that chelation therapy reduces the risk of cardiac events, such as heart attacks and stroke.
To undergo chelation therapy, it’s important that you use a trained, trusted professional.
Spring detox trends to avoid
1. Over-the-Counter Laxatives
If you search how to detox, you’ll likely come across programs that involve taking over-the-counter laxatives and limiting calorie intake.
While natural laxatives (like probiotic foods, chia seeds and aloe vera) can help to relieve digestive issues like constipation and bloating, it is not a solution for a week-long detox program, for instance. That will only tax your body, and leave you feeling sick and tired.
Like detoxing with laxatives, there are plenty of trendy programs out there that involve ingesting over-the-counter diuretics in order to get rid of toxins and lose weight. When used in excess, diuretics can be dangerous because it can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
When taken for multiple days for detoxing, diuretics can lead to excessive urine loss, low potassium and sodium levels, headaches and dizziness.
3. Extreme Fasting
Although there are many benefits to fasting, the healthiest forms of fasting are when you change your daily eating pattern, not when you refrain from eating altogether. Any detox trend that involves a serious restriction of calories for several days isn’t healthy, unless you are doing it under the guidance of a doctor and for medical reasons.
Your body is fueled by healthy foods, so skip extreme fasting and try intermittent fasting or time-restricted fasting instead. These methods involve eating during a specific time-period every day, which gives your body time to breakdown foods and detox the body.
4. Long-term cleanses
Any detox program or diet that involves severely restricting calories, for an extended period of time, should be avoided. Some people choose this method because it has the biggest “impact,” possibly leading to weight-loss too. But long-term cleanses don’t provide lasting weight loss and it’s easy for you to become nutrient deficient on these extreme plans.
If you’re not eating solids or seriously restricting calories for 5-7 days or more, skip this trend and go for something that’s healthier and more sustainable.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.