Posted on 06/17/2013 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
Springtime means a fresh start – planting the garden, deep cleaning the house and organizing the garage. For some people, it also means a deep cleaning, or “cleansing” of their body. There are some nutritionally balanced cleanse diets - removing mostly sugar, processed foods and refined grains is healthy for everyone! But most cleanses that require you purchase special juices or pills are expensive and likely ineffective.
The practice of cleansing or detoxing has been around for years, spurred on by the theory of “autointoxication.” This theory claimed that feces builds up and releases toxins in the body, therefore we should be “cleansing” the bowels. An article in the American Medical Association journal disproved this autointoxication theory in 1919. But cleansing has become quite popular again in more recent years, among alternative health practitioners and Hollywood stars alike. Yet medical doctors who look at bowels for a living can tell you there is no thick black sludge that lines the colon. Medical professionals know that the human digestive system eliminates naturally in a healthy body - the liver, colon and kidneys are our natural detox organs!
A Cleanse or Detox will typically involve fasting or a very low calorie intake (often from juice), and may include a fiber/laxative supplement. They have exaggerated health claims, such as increased energy, glowing skin and improved digestion. Using only testimonials as “proof,” as there is no research to prove cleansing is necessary, helpful or even safe. Side effects from an extreme low calorie diet or cleanse can include low blood sugar, low blood pressure, lack of energy, nausea and dizziness. Cleanses can also be a gateway to developing an eating disorder……and of course an empty wallet!
So save yourself some money and the possible side effects of cleanses and detox diets. Instead, clean out your pantry and fridge during your spring house cleaning! Ditch the junk – chips, cookies, candy, pop and all nutrient-poor/calorie-rich foods. Cut out most processed foods and add in extra fiber through legumes, whole grains, fruits and veggies. And adding one “green” smoothie with nutrient-rich spinach or kale is a great addition to your daily diet – as long as it’s not the only food you are consuming! But don’t consider this a short-term solution. It is a long-term lifestyle. One with the benefits you may be searching for– like more regular bowel movements, glowing skin and more energy!!
Jennifer House is a registered dietitian mom of two. She owns a nutrition consulting practice called First Step Nutrition and can help you nourish your growing family with confidence! Jennifer specializes in nutrition for new moms, moms-to-be and their babies. First Step Nutrition can be found on facebook and twitter.
Categories: Overall Health