To Detox or Not – Benefits or Balderdash?

To some, Christmas is a time of commercialisation and greed. To others it's a big joy occasion and a time to visit family and friends and exchange greetings and gifts and,, eat and eat! Drink and be merry. But do we ever consider, after the festivities, it's a time to detox? Is detoxing balderdash or a benefit to us?

As always, we read around, ask around, then make our own minds up. Personally, I see detoxing as a necessary prelude to good health, whether its a short period of abstinence or a proper clean out inside. We clean ourselves on the outside but rarely consider the condition of our inside. To be honest I rarely meet people who constantly maintain “good diets” or people who don’t let themselves go a little, and more than usual around festive times.  “Good diets”  is a can of worms. To a vegetarian those who eat ‘meat’ will always be endangering their health (and probably vice versa); and once you go down that road you encounter so many dietary types, many of whom are vociferous in defending their nutritional position. And unless you grow or farm your own everything it’s hard to find most food groups which are fresh and nutritious and which hasn't been chemically sprayed or forced fed, whether it’s fruit, vegetables or meat. It’s therefore plain nonsense when government health departments declare a ‘good diet’ will see you through. See who through? And the wind of change is all about consuming fat and protein, avoiding sugar and consuming few carbs, all contrary to modern medical opinion which recommends 'balance' and low-fat diets. Who are we to believe? 

Lifestyle choice, of course, varies:  Some smoke or we come into contact with smokers; drink alcohol; eat junk food regularly; knock back the tea or coffee and fizzy drinks; work with ill people or groups of people with randomly good health (school kids, patients, etc.,); work in jobs where chemicals are used (hairdressers, industry, etc); have sedentary occupations; or simply are dependent on conventional drugs to maintain health.

The upshot of many lifestyles lead to skin problems, catarrh, coughs colds and flu, wind and bloating and tiredness, headaches, bad breath, heavy periods, and so on. Consequently, while hopefully we don’t get all the above symptoms all together or some most of the time, the fact of the matter is, we all have days when we could do with a good clean out on the inside.

They say obesity is increasing in every country of the world, with America and the UK leading the field. At Elixir Health Foods, irritable bowel and constipation are two of the major health problems showing massive increase. So if you’re in those two categories of being overweight or suffering from IBS, or simply being human and over-indulge from time to time, there is a good deal of benefit to be gained by detoxing, (Yes, it’s always sensible to consider your lifestyle choices as well, and looking carefully at your diet.) 

Basically, there’s only one way to go – DOWN! The bowel! While the liver and kidneys deal with most of the junk that we encounter in daily life, the bowel needs to be working every day. Allegedly the Chinese have a saying: “Death begins in the colon.” As dramatic as it sounds, from a health point of view there’s a lot of sense in the expression. As the main exit route from the body, if the bowels are clogged up all sorts of health issues can occur. Think about it: if your bowels aren't working, it’s not just that your other organs aren't going to work so effectively, the question is what happens to all those toxins building up in the body, instead of passing through? 

If the large intestine is filled with rotting fecal matter (basically ‘crap‘) – instead of nutrients from your food being absorbed into the blood stream and benefiting you - all those toxins get taken in instead, making you feel yucky! Skin problems, IBS, heartburn, mouth problems, catarrhal congestion, tiredness, the list goes on! 

Assuming there are no serious health issues behind anyone’s health condition and it’s just a question of wanting to clean up the inside, it’s always smart to begin with a bowel cleanse and go on to support the liver and kidneys. And If you take any product for cleansing the bowels or dealing with constipation it’s a brilliant idea to take a good probiotic or digestive aid. The bowels depend upon good bacteria. These good bugs work with the existing friendly bacteria. They stop the growth of  harmful microbes, which really benefits your digestion and absorption of food. They also help build your immune system, by assisting the body in making vitamins. So always consider taking a good probiotic. Often they will stop wind and bloating just by taking a course of these. 

Also remember that the liver, likened to the ‘sewage’ plant of the body helps to clear waste away. Another job it does is break down fats, which is very important in helping to maintain weight. So a product, such as Milk Thistle offers liver protection and liver cell regeneration. In the A Vogel product, Milk Thistle Complex, the other ingredients do good things as well such as Cynara (artichoke) which helps the liver break down fats, thereby assisting in keeping cholesterol levels balanced. Dandelion nourishes the liver and helps improve the way bile (which breaks down the fats) is produced and transported. 

And as Alison Cullen, Nutritionist at the herbal company Bioforce says, “Solidago will help cleanse and support your kidneys, helping them deal with toxins and keep your fluid balanced properly. After a course of Solidago Complex you may well fee more energetic and notice that your eyes are less puffy and any tendency towards fluid retention has diminished.” Remember to drink more water while using this product just to help the kidneys do their job more effectively. 

So, to detox or not? 

Have a great Christmas from all at Elixir!