The new year has come, and so has the tradition to improve one's health. Many individuals will be searching for a jumpstart to a healthier choice like a detox or cleanse. From the three-day juice cleanse to the Master Cleanse, many wellness seekers may be dismayed to learn that this might not help achieve improved health and may potentially be harmful.
Your body has a natural way to remove endogenous metabolic waste products and combat exogenous 'toxins.' Enzymes in the liver biotransform 'toxins' to products that can further be metabolized and excreted from the body. This process involves two phases that are in a delicate balance to cleave substances from the body and reduce toxin and carcinogenic effects. The kidneys, small and large intestine, brain, and lungs are vital in decreasing our toxic burden.
Fad health trends like juice cleanses could lead to blood sugar drops, electrolyte fluctuations and, if not from an organic source, may increase pesticide intake. Cleansing may cause interactions with medication that could be harmful. Reducing overall exposures to substances that do not promote health is preferred to so-called detoxing.
A much better plan to promote more efficient detoxification includes:
These foods can contribute to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer. Eating a diet with high amounts of processed and fried foods can also contribute to poor mental health with increases in depression and anxiety.
Following the EWG consumer guide, known as The Dirty Dozen may help to lessen your pesticide exposure. The Dirty Dozen guide goes through the top 12 fruits and vegetables that lead to the highest pesticide intake. Foods such as strawberries, spinach, kale, and grapes are recommended to always be purchased organic.
Practicing mindfulness meditation can be beneficial at improving anxiety and depression and can be added to a health improvement plan. But it is strongly encouraged to seek out a trained therapist or counselor that can assist you with managing your mental health. Your mental health can impact your overall health and should not be overlooked when making better health choices.
Regular eye, dental, and primary care exams can help prevent chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes and screen for common cancers. Your primary care physician can also assist with making lifestyle changes such as dietary habits or assist with smoking cessation.
If you decide that an internet cleanse might be something you would like to try, we strongly recommend discussing this with your physician before beginning. The providers at Be Well Medical Primary Care can assist you with all of your health goals and discuss ways to make long-term positive lifestyle changes. No detox is needed.