Have you ever known someone that’s gone on a cleanse?
Typically, the choice to enter into one of these radical short-term diets comes either after the culmination of healthy eating habits or a sobering moment. Either way, reality can come crashing down—and once you realize the true extent of the damage you’re doing to your body, it can be tempting to start up the first cleanse you find and fight your way to a healthier body.
Is that the right way of going about it?
Going on a herbal detox, a cleanse, or otherwise all tend to have the same thing in common—each promises to remove toxins and waste from the body and help up to restart our nutrition from a healthy and promising place.
The question of how accurate these claims are, however, is not quite as simple as an enthusiastic yes or no. The reality is that going on detox can have a variety of effects on your body—good and bad. That means that cleanses work for some people, but perhaps not others.
We’ll be going over what exactly comes with going on a herbal detox—ways to clear your body of toxins healthily and effectively and to see whether or not a herbal detox needs to be in your immediate future.
What Is A Detox?
Most detoxes and cleanses are sold in a manner that’s similar to persuasive salesmen on television. A problem is presented, a difficulty shown, and a shortcut offered to the consumer.
The problem being—as a person who eats unhealthy foods often and in large quantities, you may be facing the issue of “toxins.” As a popular word within many circles of the detox community, these nebulous particles create many of the problems we deal with on a daily basis.
Toxins tend to be cited for reasons of weight gain or increased lethargy—or a difficulty passing stools and keeping everything down. Once the problem is assessed, we know that the solution will inherently be lots of work.
That’s where detoxing comes in. A herbal detox or a juice detox may be recommended to “hard reset” your body’s natural way of things. Drinking nothing but juice or tea for a week or so, for instance, is said to push away the toxins and give you a clean slate.
These diets are also purported to provide a sense of renewal and an increased level of focus and perception. In some fringe cases, detoxing can be said to increase immune efficiency, lower the risk of heart attack or stroke, or help you combat the threat of cancer later on in life.
So how accurate are these claims, and why would anyone go on a herbal detox? The answers are surprising to even the most staunch of dissenters.
The Science Behind A Cleanse
Depending on which specific detox cleanse or diet you go on, the promises listed above may be more scientifically backed than you would expect.
First, we’ll take a closer look at the claim that toxins result in unseemly and unwanted issues in the body.
This claim is true—from a certain point of view. While the word “toxins” itself may be used to imply a specific group of particles or cells, the real issue is body efficiency and dietary issues.
For example—somebody who consistently eats in an unhealthy manner does not suffer from any specific toxins or ailments. They do, however, force the body to run on nutrient-deficient meals and drinks.
It’s perfectly normal for people to survive without their daily dosage of potassium or zinc—but eventually, the deficiencies add up. For a person who eats in an unhealthy manner, increased lethargy and other systems of a build-up of toxins can be easily attributed to the improper fueling of the body.
Next, we’ll look at the “hard reset” functionality of a cleanse—to help your body segue between the unhealthy eating habits of the past and the (hopefully) cleaner and greener habits in your near future.
While eliminating nutrient-deficient foods and replacing them with legitimate alternatives will help your body improve your standard of living, there’s very little evidence that a hard reset is needed for your body to adjust.
If you’re fed up with your diet and want to start eating right, there’s no need to go on a cleanse first—simply switch to the right diet and begin working on sticking to it.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a detox diet for a while on an emotional or mental level. Going through a cleanse is a great way of mentally separating your life into stages before and after healthy eating. This ritual might be more effective for some than simply switching to a better diet, so there’s no harm in trying it out.
That is assuming that your diet is healthy, however.
Going to an all-liquid or all-juice diet for a week can often leave your body without the nutrients and vitamins it desperately needs. Dependent upon the specific cleanse, drinking nothing but juice and water is no more or less healthy than a previous diet of takeout and TV dinners.
Your body needs nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from a myriad of locations and resources. Protein from meats, nuts, and milk, fiber from grains, and vitamins from fruits and vegetables all make up a balanced and healthy diet.
Making a choice to limit yourself to only certain nutrients—even if more “healthy” in the general sense than previous foods—is unhealthy and, in some cases, downright dangerous.
The line between a healthy and legitimate cleanse and the dangers of pseudoscience is often difficult to pinpoint. That’s why—if you’re planning on going on a cleanse—looking into the nutritional value of the foods you’re eating will go a long way towards maintaining a strong body.
Finally, we have the claims of immune strength, a focus on digestive health, and anti-cancerous chemicals. With our last claim, we also can see that a herbal detox provides this as well—in some cases.
For example, many detox drinks are based on the regenerative properties of herbs and plants growing in the wild. There are loads of studies showing the positive chemical properties of a host of plants—with benefits ranging from the promotion of better sleep, the improvement of overall health, and more.
In some cases, these herbs have been found to decrease the risk of breast and prostate cancer—so if a cleanse is claiming to help you lower your cancer risk and includes those select ingredients, they aren’t lying.
If you want these benefits but lack the desire to embark on an all-juice diet, consider eating right and implementing detox tea alongside a balanced diet. Many detox teas and herbal teas contain these valuable properties, and drinking them alongside a balanced diet will mitigate the risk of malnutrition.
Is A Herbal Detox Right For Me?
It’s a difficult question to answer without all of the specifics.
No matter which detox or website you’re using, do the math on your own—and figure out just how many calories you’d be getting over the course of the cleanse. Of course, consuming less than you use is a fundamental factor in weight loss, but malnutrition is not.
Whether or not you plan to eat fifteen hundred calories or fifteen, you need to make sure that your daily value of vitamins and nutrients is met or at least varied. Without this stipulation, any positive effects of your new diet are negated by the lack of nutritional value.
Without nutrients, your body is in the same that it started from—trying to run and thrive under conditions that are less than ideal.
So, if you’ve found a herbal detox with a focus on teas and extracts and uncovered the true health benefits you can gain, we strongly recommend considering it. Detoxes are great for the body and mind to incite strong and lasting changes. There is nothing wrong with detox or cleanse executed in this manner.
However, if the cleanse or detox you’re planning on going on lacks severely in the nutrition department or recommends starvation in any capacity, consider changing up the rules or finding a different cleanse entirely. Eating right and resetting your diet is important for your long-term health—but not at the cost of further damage to your body.
However, you implement a herbal detox, be sure to keep up your body’s health in other ways. Proper rest and consistent sleep will also help to alleviate lethargy, and consistent fitness will aid you in feeling brighter and happier.
However you approach your diet, we hope that you embark on a detox knowing the right way to care for your body—and a peace of mind knowing that you’ve taken your first steps into a long and prosperous lifestyle.