With the eating and drinking of the holidays behind us, many people are looking for a fresh start. In Hollywood, cleanses and detox diets are all the rage. When we look at these beautiful stars, it's easy to believe they are doing something right. Fasting, juicing, vinegar, pills and powders all have their following. While this might sound like a good idea, does it really work?
Our bodies have their own built-in detox systems - the kidneys, liver, lungs, colon and lymphatic system. These systems are pretty efficient at getting rid of toxins introduced from our environments, as well as those created through normal metabolism. While it sounds magical, there is no scientific evidence to show that special diets, vitamins or herbs, help us eliminate more unwanted toxins.
Not only don't they work, some detoxing regimens could actually be dangerous. While a one day fast offers no benefit, and is probably harmless, longer fasts could be risky for some. As for the powders and pills, these are considered supplements and are not regulated. In the past, some supplements have been found to contain prescription drugs, as well as contaminants, like lead. If this is the case, you could actually be eating toxins as part of your detox.
What's the best way to detox? Start the year with a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain antioxidants, which neutralize the free radicals, or "toxins", created by normal metabolism. These same foods contain fiber which most of us need more of. And eating enough fiber will help move things through your digestive tract, naturally "cleansing" your colon. Avoid processed foods when possible, include some lean protein and low-fat soy milk or dairy, and you'll have a balanced diet. Now that's a "detox" plan for a healthy 2010!