Diet and Detoxification


Our bodies are subjected to a swarm of toxins every day. According to naturopathy, the primary cause of all diseases is the accumulation of waste and toxins in the body. Toxins accumulate due to incorrect eating habits, pollution, smoke, stress, pesticides, preservatives found in food and a sedentary lifestyle. When toxins build up in the body, it begins to function less efficiently. The symptoms can be anything from lethargy to irritability and problems ranging from the common cold, fatigue, headaches, abdominal distention, joint pain, obesity and infections to feelings of anxiety and oppression of the heart and lungs.

A diet and lifestyle that aids detoxification, helps control and reduce toxin build-up and also boosts energy levels. Naturopathy refers to detoxification as ‘nature’s fundamental law of all healing and curing’.

A look at some of the detoxification methods:

Pranayama or breathing techniques: They improve digestion and elimination.

Yoga asanas: Postures such as the spinal twists stimulate and cleanse the colon, liver, gall bladder, spleen and pancreas. Back bends are great liver detoxifiers.

Regular exercise: Exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling and so on, improve the body’s circulation, which in turn helps detoxification.

Physical treatments: A wide variety of treatments, such as mud baths, steam baths and massages stimulate blood flow and help rid the body of toxins.

Fresh, healthy organic foods: Eating right foods gives the system its necessary nutrients and roughage, prevents toxic build-up and gives the body adequate strength to eliminate waste from the body.
Consumption of certain herbs can also help clean the system.
Fasting or abstaining from certain food groups helps elimination.

Diet and Detoxification

Erratic and improper food habits burden the digestive system slowing down the body’s function of elimination. It is therefore a good idea to go on a fast or abstain from certain foods at least once a year, to reduce accumulated toxins and impurities present in the body. This helps the organs of elimination - the bowels, kidneys, skin and lungs -- to expel the overload of waste from the system.

The duration depends on the health, age and ailment of the individual. During this period, the naturopathic doctor might prescribe the use of enemas or natural laxatives like herbal powders or teas to assist bowel movement. Long periods of fasting should not be undertaken without professional guidance. Fasting must be avoided in case of ailments such as diabetes, tuberculosis, anemia and other symptoms of weakness in the body.

Possibilities of detoxification through elimination of foods are plenty. You could fast on water, juices, raw vegetables, and fruits or eliminate one or more food groups (cereals/ milk products/ sugar/ fats, etc.) from your diet.

It is important to keep in mind that while fasting large amounts of energy are utilized in the process of elimination. So, it is essential to adequately rest and relax the body and mind during this period.

Fasting provides rest to the digestive, assimilative and protective organs. Therefore, their functions are greatly improved after detoxification. This process also normalizes, stabilizes and rejuvenates the physiological, nervous and mental state of the mind.