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Top five detox plans

This second part of a two-part series looks at five ways to detoxify your body, mind and soul.

There is a lot of opportunity in today’s contaminated world for a combination of factors to constantly irritate the body’s normal functions. More and more researchers are linking chronic inflammation to an increasing number of illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. A good detox plan can rid the body of its accumulated toxins, and help you to lead an active, disease-free life.

Detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out, as well as how you can feel and look better. But, what is the best way to detox, and how? In this article, we will talk about five detox plans that can address both internal and external toxins. These detox plans can be done separately, although the effects would be better if they are done at the same time.

It will also help you remember the date of your detox, so that you can keep track and repeat the process a few months later. A basic detox requires at least 10 days, although it would be better to continue for 21 days. It would have taken many years for the toxins to accumulate in your body, so give it more time to heal. The detox plans below work to support the important detoxification organs, which include the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.

Detox #1: Food elimination

This may be the most difficult plan as Malaysia is truly a food haven, with endless choices and easy availability of 24-hour eateries! But, this is also why it is the most crucial process, as we eat more food and junk than our body can handle. To do this detox, simply avoid foods such as dairy products, meat, eggs, refined sugars and saturated fats. Drink just water, and stay away from coffee, tea and alcohol, during this detox period.

Avoid processed foods (such as sausages, burgers, salted or pickled foods, biscuits, etc) because they inevitably contain a lot of food additives, colouring, trans-fats and flavourings. Stick to real foods as much as possible, e.g. fruit, nuts, grains.

Detox #2: Top up on fibre

As you’ve narrowed down the list of foods to consume, substitutes will be necessary to keep hunger and cravings at bay. This is where fibre comes in. Pile your plate with a rainbow-coloured variety of fruits and vegetables to get equal amounts of every vitamin and mineral. Try to eat them raw and organic as much as possible, so that their nutrients do not get lost during the cooking process.

Fibre helps to clear your bowels, and makes you feel lighter and healthier. Some people may experience bloating after taking a high-fibre diet, so take high doses on alternate days.

Detox #3: 30-minute exercise

There’s no escaping this one because working out activates your skin and releases toxins in the form of perspiration. In order for detoxification to happen, your heart needs to be pumping hard enough to make you break into sweat. Exercise improves blood circulation, which revitalises organs and tissues with the availability of fresh, oxygenated blood.

Dancing, brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, skipping rope or working out at the gym are good options. Try qigong, taichi or yoga if you have knee problems and can only do low-impact exercises.

Detox #4: Far-infrared sauna

Not to be mistaken for a steam sauna, an infrared sauna uses infrared waves to penetrate deep into the body cells, tissues and organs. Apart from making you sweat profusely to remove toxins, the infrared sauna relaxes muscles, promotes blood circulation and increases metabolism.

While steam saunas make you lose mainly water in perspiration, an infrared sauna uses lower temperatures, but extracts accumulated heavy metals, sulphuric acid, sodium, ammonia, uric acid and fat-soluble toxins through the subcutaneous fat under the skin. All you need to do is to sit and relax inside a specially devised chamber that emits infrared rays. No more choking on water vapour while trying to get your body to perspire!

Detox #5: Deep breathing and detox the mind

Emotional stress is believed to be linked to chronic disease, and is known to increase perceptions of pain and discomfort, while reducing the efficacy of treatment. This is why a holistic detox plan must include mental and emotional cleansing. Most meditative practices such as yoga or taichi place heavy emphasis on controlled breathing, as research shows people generally tend to breathe shallowly without realising it.

Breathing deeply gives your brains, lungs and other cells an oxygen burst, providing instant rejuvenation. Not only that, it calms you down in times of extreme stress or distress. Try controlled breathing (to a count of 10) for 15 minutes every morning to kickstart your day. Breathe in with your nose and out through your mouth, while telling yourself that it will be a fantastic day ahead, regardless of the odds.

This powerful, yet simple mental detox can work wonders in bringing down blood pressure, relieving stress, improving sleep, and even helping smokers quit their habit! Remember, it is best to seek your doctor’s advice before you begin any detox plan to determine whether you are fit enough to undergo it. Although detoxification is meant to shed impurities, rejuvenate you and return your health, people who are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, underweight or have medical conditions will need to practise some caution.

Detoxing is a wonderful way to jumpstart your health and start eliminating bad habits, while introducing a healthy way of living.

Sunday, 8 December 2013
Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar

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