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The Benefits Of Detox Drinks
IN SEASON RECIPES

The Benefits Of Detox Drinks

Detoxification is a method of cleansing which has been practiced for centuries around the world, with traditional roots in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Native American medicine. Today, it has become popular, with many approaches including juicing, fasting, oil pulling, colonic irrigation, hydrotherapy, saunas, massage techniques and more.

The human body is fascinating with its inherent ability to heal itself, but did you know it also has its own self-regulating system of detoxification? A healthy body has the capability to restore itself and eliminate toxic waste from the body, which can be naturally occurring by-products of metabolic waste such as hormones, or acquired from the external environment such as synthetic chemicals.

More than ever, we are being exposed to toxic substances through an urban lifestyle. For example, we find our environment has polluted air; our diets are impact by some of the foods we consume that contain herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, artificial additives and preservatives, or even the excessive consumption of refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine; and our lifestyle habits are susceptible to toxins from cleaning products, skincare products, perfumes and also medications.

So What Exactly Is The Process Of Detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of the body naturally removing its waste products and toxins, mainly involving the liver, along with other channels of elimination such as the kidneys, digestive system, lymphatic system, skin and lungs. The detoxification process involves three phases, and of these, two are predominantly in the liver which is why it is commonly referred to as the primary detoxification organ.

Phase 1 is activated by the exposure to toxins which are converted into smaller molecules and during this, oxidative free radicals are formed which is where the importance of antioxidants come in. In phase 2, six different pathways are involved to transport the water-soluble substances for further filtration and then into phase 3, which involves the excretion of waste through our stools, urination and sweat.

Although the body can naturally detoxify itself, the exposure to toxins on a daily basis can create a burden on body systems and organs. If the organ function becomes impaired or the pathways are compromised, this can impact the filtration process, which limits the body's ability to efficiently excrete toxic waste. In-turn this causes toxic substances to accumulate and be stored within the body, making the body as a whole become vulnerable and adversely affecting our health. So by supporting the body with essential nutrients, you can optimise the process of detoxification. 

 What Are Some Signs That Your Body May Benefit From Doing A Detox?

Fatigue, headaches, poor sleep, digestive disturbances i.e. bloating, ‘sluggish’ bowels or poor bowel motions, cravings particularly of refined sugars or carbohydrates, over-indulging in food or substances, sensitivity to smell, strong body odour, bad breath, blemished or irritated skin, puffy eyes, allergies, low immunity, trouble concentrating, irritability and fluctuating weight, are all signs that your body may benefit from doing a detox.  

The inherent detoxification system maintains homeostasis of overall health with the excretion of toxins, a detox program will help support the digestive system and other organs of elimination.

What To Include In Your Detox Drinks

Detox drinks are high in fibre, antioxidants and make a great tasting addition to your detox program, they replenish the body with essential nutrients that are easily digested and highly absorbable.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to protect cells against the damaging effects of free radicals and provide a defence against harmful substances, often occurring during detoxification processes. Antioxidants can be found in berries, grapes, mangoes, apricots and grapefruit. An important antioxidant for liver health is glutathione, which can be found in vegetables including spinach, kale and watercress. Avocados also contain glutathione plus essential fatty acids which are great for maintaining radiant skin.

Antioxidant Smoothie

  • 1 cup of mixed berries
  • ½ cup of baby spinach
  • ½ cup of avocado
  • ½ cup of mango pieces
  • 300mL plant-based milk

Alkalising Greens

The cruciferous family of vegetables contain nutrients which are essential for detoxification such as sulphur compounds and can be found in broccoli, kale and beet greens – but they don’t always taste great in a smoothie. To increase your intake of natural phytonutrients, try chlorophyll rich foods such as spinach, celery, romaine lettuce, wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa leaf or sea kelp. Dark leafy green vegetables have an alkalising effect that may help reduce inflammation and stimulate digestive enzymes. For extra benefits, include dandelion greens to support liver health and function.

Alkalising Greens Smoothie

  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • ½ cup of kale
  • ½ cup of dandelion greens
  • ½ cup of beet greens, Swiss chard or baby spinach
  • Optional superfood powders: wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina
  • 300mL of coconut water

Fibre

When most people think of fibre they think of pre-mixed powders, but it can be found in many fruits and vegetables such as pears, strawberries, apples, raspberries, blackberries, bananas, carrots, avocados, beetroots and almonds. They are excellent sources of fibre and also contain antioxidants and prebiotics. Fibre facilitates the body's detoxification process by improving digestive function and supporting the natural elimination of waste. Natural prebiotics help to support the growth of friendly, or ‘good’ bacteria in the gut and further support bowel elimination of waste.

Fibre Smoothie

  • 1 cup of pear
  • ½ cup of chopped banana
  • ½ cup of chopped apple
  • ½ cup of berries
  • 300mL of almond milk

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are naturally high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, which is beneficial in supporting immune system health, brain function and skin health. They are a source of fibre which also aids in digestion. Citrus fruits include variations of oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, kumquat, mandarin and tangerine. For an extra kick, add root herbs such as ginger or turmeric – both have anti-inflammatory properties and ginger is great for digestion.

Citrus Fruit Juice

  • 1 ½ cups of orange segments
  • ½ cup of mandarin segments
  • ½ cup of lemon segments
  • A few slices of fresh ginger or turmeric
  • 250mL of water

If you are looking to support your body's natural detoxification process by practicing a clean lifestyle and consuming a healthy diet, try one of these yummy and nutritious detox drinks to complement

Erica Mirabilio
Author

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