Detox; When and Why Everybody Needs it According to a Registered Dietitian

Written by Temitope Alao-Sanni, RD and Omolade Abu

Buzzwords like “detox diet,” and “detox cleanse” have promoted the concept of detox in a way that leaves most people with unrealistic expectations of what detox really is, but in this article, you will find out what detox is, when you need it, and what to expect. Keep reading.

What is Detox?

In science, detoxification is referred to as biotransformation. Naturally, the liver, kidneys, skin, and lungs expel waste products or toxins acquired intracellularly (inside the body) or externally as urine, sweat, or faeces.

Main point: Detox is simply the process of eliminating materials from your body when it identifies them as useless, harmful, or poisonous.

Why everybody needs to detox

The reason everybody needs to detox is our society. Practically everyone is exposed to potentially dangerous “environmental toxins”. They are in our food, food wrappers, plastic containers and food packaging, pesticides, insecticides, and in fact, throughout our whole food system!

Main point: Toxins will enter the body system and the body will find out how to get them out. The only way is detox.

When to detox

Like our heart helps pump blood around the body through the circulatory system without having to help it; our  Lungs, Skin, Lymphatic System, Liver, Kidneys, GI Tract (microbiome) are key organs that also help the body detox. Toxins will build up in th body only if these organs fail to function properly.

Main point: There are organs that know when to rid the body of toxins. Just like the heart aids the circulation of blood. If these organs fail, toxins can build up and have negative consequences.

How to detox

Again, we all need to detox because of our environment, and our body is aware of this. Rather than attempting to detox ourselves through a specific diet, we should consider the big picture and eat foods that support our organs to stay healthy.

Main point: Engage in activities that do not impair the performance of your organs of detoxification including kidney, liver, lungs, and skin.

What is more important in the subject of detox is supporting the organs responsible for detoxification through a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Bottom line: Just as you cannot help your heart pump blood, you cannot help your kidneys take out toxins. However, a healthy lifestyle and nutrition can help these organs perform optimally.

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