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Detox your body this winter

This time of the year when you can wipe that slate clean and start afresh. And that includes your resolve to stay healthy, eat right and exercise. But first, let’s tackle the wipe-the-slate bit. Sharaddha Gadit tells how a detox helps cleanse the body from within.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 16, 2013 11:44 IST
Petrina D’Souza

This time of the year when you can wipe that slate clean and start afresh. And that includes your resolve to stay healthy, eat right and exercise. But first, let’s tackle the wipe-the-slate bit.

There’s no better way to go about it than with a detox diet plan. Detoxification is a process that decreases the negative impact of xenobiotics, or toxins, on the body. A detox helps cleanse the body from within, says nutritionist Nupur Krishnan.

The basis of a good detox diet is to maximise the body’s ability to flush out toxins that have accumulated over time,says Shraddha Gadit, a nutritionist at Gold’s Gym.A good detox plan should contain 60 per cent liquids and 40 per cent solids — foods that contain enough phyto chemicals, such as indoles, flavonoids and organo-sulphuric compound, nutrients and enzymes. For example, pineapple contains bromalain, a digestive enzyme; while papaya contains papain, a colon cleanser. Detox diets may involve periods of fasting, consuming only fluids and eliminating certain foods.

Master-cleanse diet

10 days it takes: Involves drinking six to 12 glasses a day of a lemonade concoction containing lemon juice, maple syrup, water and a little cayenne pepper. The daily intake is roughly equivalent to the juice of three to six lemons per day and three-fourth to one-and-a-half cups of maple syrup a day.

How it works: Maple syrup provides energy that can be easily absorbed. It also cleanses the body of toxins and obliterates cravings for junk food, alcohol and tobacco.

Raw food diet

Period: A week to almost a month.

What it takes: It involves going back to a natural way of eating and avoiding processed foods, preservatives and additives. Raw foods like sprouts, dried fruits and nuts, raw milk, sweet potatoes, carrots and fruits like mangoes and bananas should be consumed.

How it works: Eating foods in raw form preserves constituents, such as vitamins, fibre, chlorophyll and organic forms of essential minerals. They contain antioxidants and substances that strengthen your immune system.

Juice fast diet

Period: Two days to two months. A two-three day fast for those trying a detox diet for the first time.

What it takes: Living on juices extracted from fruits, vegetables or a combination of both. Vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, sprouts, celery and cabbage, and fruits like apples, oranges and melons work best.

How it works: This diet supplies enzymes that aid the cleansing process. Juices are high in vitamins, minerals and enzyme content that support the rejuvenating process Mono fruit diet

Period: Can be done for extended periods

What it takes: This diet involves eating only one type of fruit. Apple, grapefruit, bananas and melons are the preferred varieties.

How it works:The fruit supplies organic water that helps in cleansing. The idea is consuming just one fruit that can be easily digested, thus giving the body the ability to repair the internal system. This is a good first-time detox diet to try.

Detox dos

Hydrate your body:
Drink lots of water and fresh, seasonal fruit juices like watermelon, cucumber and orange.

Control salt intake: Try to control the sodium intake (salt) in your diet as it retards the detox process. Avoid pickles, cheese, condiments or food rich in sodium.

Consume fruits and vegetables: Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables like carrot, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli and spinach, which are the richest sources of phyto chemicals.

Early to bed and early to rise: Sleep for at least for eight hours. Also, ensure that you do not sleep in extreme temperatures.

Detox don’ts

Not recommended for teens:
Normal teenagers need lots of calories and protein to support growth. So diets that involve fasting and severe food restrictions are not a good idea.

Not for everyone: Detox diets are not recommended for people with diabetes, heart disease or other chronic medical conditions. These diets should be avoided if you are pregnant or have an eating disorder.

Can be addictive: There’s a certain addiction that comes from going without food — for some, it's almost like the high one gets from nicotine or alcohol. This can lead to health problems, including serious eating disorders and heart problems.

Detox is not a fat-loss programme: People who fast for several days may drop pounds, but most of it will be water weight and some of it may be muscle loss. Most people regain the weight they soon after completing the program.

(Detox diet plans courtesy Sharaddha Gadit)