Detoxification or detox is a popular buzzword these days. Detoxification generally means cleansing up your body while removing the impurities from blood. Toxins are the pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals which enter our body along with our regular food and affect our health negatively. Detoxification is the process of removing these toxins from our body. Our body is naturally equipped to remove toxins and doesn’t necessarily need any fancy diet or products to do so. The digestive system removes undigested food, the lungs give out carbon dioxide and the skin gets rid of waste in the form of sweat. Due to the changes in our food habits and lifestyle over a period of years, there is a pressing need to occasionally enhance this natural detoxification by following simple methods to detox. In simple terms, detoxification means following a particular diet or using special products to help the body get rid of toxins, thereby promoting health and general well being. A good detox or cleansing method helps the body in getting rid of old deposits in tissues and gives a good rest to the overworked organs of the body. It helps to recharge, rejuvenate and RENEW YOU.
How to detox your body?
Sound sleep cycle, consuming more water and fluids, fasting, reducing salt, sugar and generally all the processed foods, thereby increasing foods rich in antioxidants and probiotics are few of the methods to cleanse the body. Fasting is one of the most common and effective ways of detoxification. Fasting means willfully refraining yourself from eating or drinking for a specific period of time. Physiologically, numerous metabolic adjustments occur during fasting inside our body. It includes complete abstinence from food for twenty four hours or just having one meal a day. Fasting is a popular topic of research nowadays and it has been found to manage weight and prevent numerous diseases.
Fasting- Good Way to Detox
How can you use fasting to detox your body? What is the science behind fasting? Studies support the benefits of fasting as it has been found to cleanse the body at cellular level. When you fast, the body’s access to glucose (to make energy) is reduced, forcing the liver and muscles to start using the stored glucose in the body. After about 8 hours of fasting, once this stock of stored glucose is over, the body begins a natural process of gluconeogenesis in which the body produces its own glucose (for energy). The liver and kidney helps in this process by converting non-carbohydrate materials like lactate, amino acids and fats into glucose energy. Since our body conserves energy during fasting, our basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy the body burns while at rest) improves, resulting in lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Digestion is the most important system in our body. It takes a lot of work. When you are fasting, you allow your digestive system to take rest as well. Your body works on breaking down fat cells. It is the most efficient way to cleanse the body and this is how you can use fasting to detox your body.
Later in the fast cycle, the body burns the stored fat as its primary power source and this process is called ketosis. This stage aids in weight loss and balancing blood sugar levels. Much later in the cycle of fasting comes the starvation mode (not preferred!), where the body begins to break down muscle tissues for energy.
The changes that the body goes through during fasting makes the cells stronger and enhances their capability to cope. This process puts the cells under mild stress which results in their improved performance and adaptability, resulting in younger, active body cells. Fasting has the same effects on the cells as exercise has on muscles and cardiovascular systems and hence helps to make cells stronger.
Recently, intermittent fasting has gained popularity in the health and fitness world. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern which defines a strict fasting period and eating period. While there is no scientific study supporting the direct claims made by IF however dozens of clinical trials and animal studies do state the series of benefits fasting has shown on health. There is scope to perform long term studies.
What is the Religious significance of fasting?
Almost every religion has some type of fasting ritual. Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during day time for the entire month of Ramadan. Hindus observe fasting during festivals like navratri, shivratri and also specific days of the week or month. Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity also have some or the other form of fasting. In Chinese tradition, fasting is a part of preventive health care.
The foods that should be avoided to cleanse your body and the ones that you are not allowed to eat during religious fasting are almost the same and hence, fasting may work perfectly to detox the body.
What foods are best avoided (also during fasting) for cleansing the system?
Eggs and meats: Eggs and meats though are high in protein and other nutrients but can be a lot of task for the digestive system to breakdown. Avoiding these foods occasionally can give a good rest to your digestive system and make you feel lighter.
Salt: During fasting, the regular consumption of food goes down and hence it is necessary to cut down on the salt intake too. Too much salt in the body can cause hypertension and hence a break from salt reduces bloating and water retention. Sendha namak (rock salt) is usually preferred during fasting due to its added health benefits. It is low in sodium and high in potassium, therefore helps in keeping a balance of electrolytes in the body.(What are the benefits of Epsom salt?)
Wheat & Grains: Though wheat and grains are an important part of a balanced meal, but sometimes overconsumption may affect your digestive system and hence cause constipation or diarrhea. For this reason, gluten free flours like Kuttu (buckwheat flour) and Singhada (water chestnut flour) are preferred during fasting. They are easy to digest since they are not a grain, but seeds of a fruit. They are also low in calories, and good source of fiber. They contain high amount of antioxidants and are excellent source of vitamin B6 which helps in haemoglobin formation to supply energy to the body, and improves the mood during menstruation and depression. (Do kids need vitamin supplements?)
Sugar: Staying away from sugar helps to keep the blood sugar levels low and continue with the fasting period. It also enables reduced calorie intake and lesser inflammation. Cutting sugar from the diet also directly benefits calcium levels in the body. (How does sugar impact bones?)
Alcohol: Consuming alcohol frequently affects the liver by forming a fatty layer around it. Alcohol also combines with enzymes in the liver, producing a substance called acetaldehyde, which can become harmful in the long run. Alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body produce more urine and release more water. This can result in dehydration. It is a good idea to avoid alcohol during fasting to remain hydrated. (How to prevent fatty liver disease?)
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