Nurturing your digestive system and “cleaning the gut” is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Gut health is the crux of our general physical and mental health. The term detox by definition is a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.
Our modern lifestyle has taken its toll on our digestive and elimination organs. Refined, processed, low-fibre foods, excessive animal fats, a lack of exercise and an ever increasing level of stress all contribute to our current gastrointestinal health crisis. Often, the real cause behind sickness and disease is this retention and reabsorption of built-up toxic waste.
Signs you need to detox:
- White or yellow-coated tongue and/or bad breath
- Fluid retentionand/or congested sinuses
- Increased bellyor visceral fat
- Cravingsfor sweet or sugary food
- Overheating/excess sweating
- Weight loss resistance
- Acne, rosacea, itchy skin
- Fatigue unrelievedby more sleep, especially in the morning
- Insomnia– especially early morning awakenings such as 1-4 a.m.
The longer digested food stays in your intestines, the more it rots and ferments, causing long-term disruptions and toxicity. In addition, the colon is the main elimination channel of the body. After a meal, the body diverts energy to your gut in order to facilitate digestion. Therefore, if your gut is less efficient than it should be, you waste a lot of available energy on digestion alone, leaving you fatigued.
In addition, your gut has to get rid of all the toxins produced as byproducts of your metabolism by circulating food components to your liver. If your liver or gut is not functioning properly, your body becomes toxic. Giving your gut a break can reduce inflammation, shed water weight and reduce bloating. The liver filters out dangerous drug residues, poisons and excess cholesterol from the blood and passes them out of the body through the colon.
3/4 of your immune system is in your digestive tract. And that entire immune system is protected from the external environment by a thin, fragile lining that is only one cell-thick layer and the innermost layer which is the intestinal flora. It is this layer of bacteria that serves as the first line of defence that eliminates toxins from your food and helps to break down the food you eat. You need healthy flora in your gut for healthy digestion. Antibiotics, preservatives and chemicals can disrupt your intestinal flora. By promoting healthy gut flora, you lower the amount of energy needed to digest your food, making it harder for bad bacteria to cause disease.
Detoxifying Effects of Probiotics
Over 500 species of bacteria in your digestive tract form a giant ecosystem that helps you to digest food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins, and produce vitamins and other healing compounds that keep your gut and your body healthy. Probiotics are crucial for a healthy gut and a happy life.
Certain strains of beneficial bacteria (like Lactobacillus) have the ability to bind and detoxify heavy metals that can accumulate in the body, like lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium.
- Breaking down pesticides.Research shows that Lactobacillus plantarum and other strains in fermented kimchi can break down and degrade pesticides commonly used in the environment and on crops like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and soy.
- Excreting BPA.Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical often present in plastics (like water bottles) and resins that can leak into our foods and drinks and cause issues. The good news is that probiotics work to reduce absorption and facilitate excretion of BPA, so it doesn’t build up in the body and negatively affect your health.
During any cleanse, you should avoid gluten, dairy, processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol. This will allow your body to heal itself so you can get your energy back. Depending on the type of cleanse it is ideal to fast. This means eliminating all solids.
Getting adequate sleep—more than eight hours a night—helps overall physical and neurological health and has a significant impact on stress levels, which will give your body the rest it needs to heal and reset your gut.
Note: Before starting any cleanse, make sure to consult your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition like diabetes. Also, don’t participate if you’re pregnant or nursing. Detoxes are also not a substitute for medical diagnoses or treatment.