You will hear the term “detox” frequently and what does this actually mean? Well in simple terms it a process in which you promote your body’s tissues to release toxic build up that occurs over time.

Your liver is the major detox organ of the body and generally it does an excellent job in eliminating toxic waste that we accumulate from our own body’s metabolism, environmental substances, drugs, alcohol etc. However, sometimes our poor liver is overlooked and overworked and we begin to feel lethargic, bloated, our skin can show signs of poor health, lowered immunity and generally we do not feel like our body is running at an optimal level. Just like cars we need the odd service too.

Our immune system clears up a lot of the toxic waste that is metabolised by our liver and the kidneys, skin and bowels are major elimination pathways for us to clear unwanted waste from our bodies. There are many types of liver and body detox kits available, however make sure you get the right one for you. Some can be very hard on the body and make you feel quite unwell whilst doing them. The types of symptoms people complain about feeling are headache, nausea and muscle and joint pain that feels almost flu like. Now of course this is an indication that the toxins are being drawn out of the tissues and all signs are quite normal but for some people they are debilitating for a few days and that’s not easy when you have a family to take care of and possibly work too.

One the best kits I have experienced personally and also had great feedback on is the ultimate quick cleanse. This is available in most health stores and has a huge following. The kit lasts for 15 days and is extremely gentle but very effective.

Who needs to do a detox? Well some people do it every six months as a maintenance regime and now going into spring and summer is a great time to do it. Then again after summer. People who have busy lifestyles with a lot of stress involved and poor eating habits, people with digestive and bowel upsets, people who lack vitality and energy and people with sluggish liver symptoms, people with allergies and skin disorders such as eczema and psorasis, people who drink alcohol too regularly and sometimes people on medications that put extra pressure on the liver, people with high cholesterol problems and weight issues and people who feel they are bloated after eating and have digestion issues or constipation issues. Always however get sound advice before doing a detox from a health professional. Make sure you drink lots of water to assist the body in flushing out the accumulation of toxic material in the blood and replace minerals and vitamins after you have completed the detox. This is because there are always some nutrients lost during a detox. Eat as healthy as you can limited bread, pasta, coffee, alchohol etc and eat as much fruit, veggies and fibre as you can as this will give you optimal results.

The other way to detox is through your dietary intake. Two days of drinking lemon, ginger and hot water with a light vegetable broth or freshly juiced fruit and veggies will gently start the detox process also. Making sure you eat healthy, regularly and get enough protein through grains, seeds, eggs and fish will all help to give the liver a well earned rest and allow the goodness of the foods clear congestion in the body.

Never ignore any signs or symptoms you have had prior or after a detox and get anything checked out that you do not feel is normal for you as a precautionary method. There are hundreds of reasons for example you may feel tired or bloated so please make sure you do not ignore any long term symptoms the detox is a way to improve your health for sure but will not cure any more serious underlying conditions.

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Tracy Harris is a registered NZ naturopath and herbalist, and natural health writer, who has both a natural health shop and a natural mother & child store in Auckland.

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