You’ve heard all about detoxing, whether it’s in the form of a pricey juice cleanse, a super restrictive diet, or a tea regimen. Some people say a detox can help you slim down and get rid of toxins, while others are of the opinion that it’s one of the worst things you can do for your health. So what’s the truth? We went to Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., dietitian at B-Nutritious, to reveal the honest facts about the detoxing process.
RELATED: 3 Common Detox Myths
Sorry to Burst Your Bubble But…
The idea of being able to follow a certain eating/drinking plan for a day or a week and rid your body of toxins, all while kick-starting a new, healthier you, may sound appealing. But it’s actually complete bull. Toxins are real, but you don’t only get them from what you eat. “Your body absorbs toxins from things like pollution, pesticides, additives in your food, and chemicals in your cleaning and beauty products,” says Zeitlin. But here’s the thing: Your body is way better at detoxing than any juice or tea ever will be.
“Your body is designed with mechanisms to filter toxins out effectively,” says Zeitin. “You don’t need to do anything to detoxify because your body is constantly doing it for you.” This is all thanks to your gastrointestinal tract and GI-related organs like your liver. “Your kidneys and liver filter what you take in and get rid of waste when you go to the bathroom,” says Zeitlin. So things you eat, drink, and even inhale go through your body’s own personal cleaning system, which gets rid of the unnecessary stuff so you can flush it away.
The Healthy Way to Clean Up Your Diet and Feel Better
With all that said, there are things you can do to amp up your body’s detoxifying powers, says Zeitlin—but they don’t involve any self-proclaimed detoxing plans. “Research chemicals in your cleaning products, eat more organic foods, and pay attention to your personal care labels,” says Zeitlin. All of this can wind up being more expensive than before, but as the natural movement becomes more widespread, there are more budget-friendly options that are actually good for you (plus, it’s worth it). When it comes to your diet, there’s no harm in cutting back on things like alcohol and sugar for a few weeks at a time if you’ve been overindulging, says Zeitlin. And make sure to stay extra-hydrated (lemon water and green tea are great options if you’re sick of plain old H2O), so you can regularly eliminate waste.
But the most important point is to maintain a healthy diet so you don’t feel the need to scramble to lose weight or “get rid of toxins” ASAP. “Focus on eating a colorful variety of fruits and veggies,” says Zeitlin. “They’re loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to make sure your body has everything it needs to do what it own version of detoxifying.” Score one for your bod!