Your skin, lungs, liver and kidneys are your body’s main detoxifying organs. Under normal circumstances and with the correct nutrition, they are perfectly capable of removing toxins from your body.
However, poor diets, unhealthy lifestyles and environmental conditions can put your body under undue stress and cause symptoms like mood swings, headaches, insomnia, skin problems (eczema, acne), bloating and brain fog. Symptoms like this may suggest that you’re in need of a cleansing/rejuvenating detox.
Just to be clear, a detox does not necessarily mean going on extended juice fasts, vegetable fasts or any other fad diet. These types of detox programmes may put your body under more stress if they are not warranted and if they are not done under the supervision of a qualified health professional
Detox simply means excluding processed and refined foods from your
Foods to Eliminate During a Detox
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
Avoid all types of sugar and artificial sweeteners including honey, molasses, white sugar, stevia, aspartame, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, agave, fizzy drinks, nectar and maple syrup. Sugar causes insulin surges that can lead to metabolic conditions like diabetes, it can also cause premature skin ageing and gut microbiome imbalances.
Some people are able to tolerate dairy in moderate quantities, but the vast majority of Africans are lactose intolerant. Some epidemiological studies suggest that dairy can cause hormonal imbalances, increase the risk of certain cancers and trigger acne. There are not enough randomised controlled studies to support these claims, but if you know that dairy negatively affects your digestive health or causes acne breakouts, it is a good idea to avoid it.
Refined grains and products made with white flour such as cakes, pastries, biscuits and cereals should be cut from your diet. These foods, when eaten in excess can also contribute to insulin spikes and in some cases, lead to inflammation.
Processed and cured meats such as frankfurters, corned beef, and deli meats should be eliminated. Most of these meats are preserved with chemicals or other additives that are best avoided. Opt for fresh cuts of organic meats and consume them in moderate amounts.
Alcohol has no nutritional benefits and may leach nutrients from the foods you eat. It is also very dehydrating and can promote premature skin ageing.
Foods to Eat During a Detox
Once you eliminate processed foods from your diet, include fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and pulses, wholegrain, healthy oils and fats (olive oil, coconut oil), fermented foods, oily fish (especially mackerel or Titus, salmon), nuts and seeds and herbs and spices. You should also ensure that you drink adequate amounts of water to keep your body hydrated and to flush out toxins.
During your detox, you may experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, irritability and even skin breakouts. This is normal, particularly if your diet was very poor prior to starting. It is a good idea to gently ease into your detox, by eliminating one food at a time or gradually cutting down on the number of unhealthy choices you make to give your body enough time to adjust.
It may take up to two weeks before you start to notice the beneficial effects of a cleaner diet. If you stick with it, you’ll eventually start to experience better digestion, mental clarity, better sleep and clearer skin.