Alternative medicine holds that a range of harmful chemicals known as toxins can build up in the body’s systems and impede our ability to heal, with results as diverse as weight gain, fibromyalgia, and cancer. Diets and herbal remedies to aid in detoxification abound. Here are the most common—and arguably most effective—diets and herbal remedies for detoxing the human system.
A range of diets and fasts purport to help the body remove toxic chemicals and waste products from the body more efficiently. The Master Cleanse lemonade fast, the Fruit Flush fruit cleanse, the Raw Food Detox Diet, and the Living Beauty Detox Diet are some of the most popular on the market. Some, like the Fruit Flush, include a balanced diet, which helps the body conserve muscle mass while burning fat. Others, like the Master Cleanse, limit the diet to one or two foods, which can rob your body of essential health-giving nutrients.
Detox diets by nature include calorie restriction paired with healthy foods. Those that may really help your body are comprised of natural fruits and vegetables and allow a continually balanced nutrient mix, like the Fruit Flush. Don’t expect to keep off all the weight you lose during a cleanse—most of it is water weight and will return with normal eating habits. The purpose of a detox diet is to help your body operate more effectively, not to lose unhealthy amounts of weight at once.
Herbal Remedies for Detoxification
There are many herbal methods for “detoxing” the body, most of them meant to cleanse the colon. From Senna tea to probiotics to saline flushes, a range of alternative options exist to help you return normal, healthy digestive function to a system clogged with fast food and other unhealthy processed foods.
Does It Work?
Frank Sacks, MD, an epidemiologist with Harvard’s school of Public Health, told WebMD “There is no basis in human biology that indicates we need fasting or any other detox formula.” According to Sacks, our internal organs and immune system naturally take care of excreting toxins.
But what happens when those natural systems become overwhelmed by the stress of our low-nutrition, high-stress lifestyles? In this case, modern medicine may not have all the answers. If you want to try a detox diet, choose one that offers a variety of healthy nutrients rather than a single food or expensive pills and potions. If it doesn’t seem healthy, it probably isn’t. Trust your own instincts over the words of a slick salesperson, and you’ll feel healthier for it.