Detox cure : instructions for taking care of your health

Tao L | 29 June 2022
Reading time : about 10 minutes
Detox cure :  instructions for taking care of your health

    What is a detox cure ?

    Every day, the body, like any machine, produces waste products. It must also filter and eliminate the harmful substances brought by the food we eat, the air we breathe in or the cosmetics we apply to our skin. Thus, we can classify toxins into two main families :

    • those coming from the inside ;
    • those coming from the outside.

    The term detox evokes detoxification, i.e. the elimination of toxins that accumulate in our body every day, without us necessarily realizing it.

    The detox cure or detoxification cure is the solution to intoxication, involuntary and accidental ingestion of substances harmful to our body, non-food substances that should not normally be ingested. Thus, detox aims to eliminate toxins ingested, absorbed but also produced by our own body.

    We are not all equal when it comes to detox. Our genetic capital influences the efficiency of our self-cleaning system, as well as our general state of health.

    Detox cures offer a beneficial rebalancing for your health. Of course, it is not with a simple three or seven day cure that you will magically see all your health problems disappear. But the detox cure allows you to move forward in the right direction, to recharge your batteries, to start again on a good basis, to begin a beneficial change in your lifestyle. Be careful, if you suffer from a chronic disease, you should consult a doctor before embarking on this type of program, especially for the most restrictive ones (such as monodietes lasting several days).

    As you can see, the main goal of a detox is not to lose weight, but to cleanse the body. But of course, changing some of your eating habits, eating more fruits and vegetables, consuming less fatty and sugary products, moving more will have beneficial consequences :

    • more energy ;
    • an easier transit ;
    • a more restful sleep;
    • less stress and fatigue.

    Take advantage of the detox cure to start a new dietary balance and adopt a new lifestyle in order to lose weight.

    What is a toxin ?

    A toxin is a toxic substance produced by a living organism and which is responsible for a disease. But this word is also used to designate all the toxic waste that the body must eliminate, whether it is produced by the organism or comes from the outside (food, pollution...).

    These vital chemical reactions that take place in the body (and that we call metabolism) lead to the production of operating residues. This is a perfectly normal process. These metabolic wastes are filtered and eliminated by the emunctory organs, which are the liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs and skin.

    Toxins from inside the body

    The waste toxins coming from the interior can come from :

    • dead cells, from cell renewal ;
    • urine, from the functioning of the kidneys;
    • carbon dioxide, produced during breathing;
    • mucus, produced by the mucous membranes;
    • sweat, composed of water and nitrogenous waste;
    • sebum, from the renewal of the sebaceous glands.

    Toxins from outside the body

    Toxic waste from outside the body comes mainly from food toxins produced during the degradation of the food we ingest, but also in the air we breathe, in the cosmetics we apply to our skin :

    • urea (which turns into uric acid), resulting from the degradation of proteins;
    • lactic acid, produced during the combustion of carbohydrates;
    • ketonic acids, resulting from the metabolism of fats.
    • pesticide and fertilizer residues present on fruits and vegetables;
    • heavy metals, present in some fish (especially predators at the end of the food chain) and in tap water;
    • drug residues present in meat and milk;
    • PCBs (endocrine disruptors), found in animal fats (meat, fish, dairy products);
    • preservatives, additives, colorants, flavors, present in industrial products;
    • bacteria naturally present on the surface of fruits and vegetables, and which are absorbed if they are badly washed, or present on badly preserved raw meats and fish;
    • toxic (and carcinogenic!) substances produced by certain cooking methods : acrylamide (in carbohydrate-rich foods cooked at high temperatures or toasted, such as French fries, pastries, cookies, toast....), heterocyclic amines (grilled or barbecued meats), benzopyrene and acrolein (vegetable oils heated too high) ;
    • perfluorinated compounds, such as PFOA from Teflon pans;
    • chemical molecules that disrupt the endocrine function of the body (bisphenol A and phthalates from plastics);
    • alcohol, which represents a real poison for the liver when consumed in excess;
    • drugs and the waste produced from them. Some wastes can be present in large quantities if the medication is taken regularly. Some wastes can be difficult to eliminate, especially if they are stored in the fat of the cells. It is thus necessary to take care to eliminate them effectively;
    • cosmetics, which contain a number of compounds that are potentially toxic to the body;
    • chemicals and pollutants present in the ambient air, whether outside (air pollution) or inside (glues, paints, candle smoke, household products, etc.)
    • tobacco smoke (both "active" and passive smoking).

    Which fruits and vegetables are the most contaminated by toxins ?

    The vegetables most contaminated by toxins are

    • carrots ;
    • celery
    • cucumber
    • spinach
    • lettuce
    • leek; and
    • peppers;
    • potatoes;
    • Tomatoes.

    Fruits most contaminated by toxins are :

    • apricot;
    • cherry;
    • lemon;
    • Strawberry;
    • nectarine and peach;
    • pear
    • apple;
    • grapes.

    The three main stages of detoxification

    Detoxification is a process that follows a very precise sequence.

    Indeed, only water-soluble toxins (i.e. soluble in water) can be eliminated. It is therefore necessary, first of all, that the body transforms the liposoluble toxins (soluble in fat) into water-soluble products. Here is a simplified description of this process :

    • in the first step, cytochrome P450 enzymes neutralize the eliminable toxins and convert the others into intermediate form toxins. The liver plays a key role in this step because it contains a large quantity of enzymes that can ensure this transformation;
    • in the second stage, phase 2 enzymes transform the intermediate form toxins into eliminable toxins;
    • finally, in the third part, the transformed molecules are now ready for elimination. Depending on their nature, they are eliminated via bile, stool, urine, exhaled air or sweat.

    When to do a detox cure ?

    Detox cures are traditionally scheduled at the end of winter to cleanse the body, eliminate all the toxins accumulated during the cold season (richer diet, less frequent physical activity...). In reality, you can follow a detox cure at any time of the year. There is always a good reason to do one :

    • in spring : it is the right time to eliminate the excesses of winter, a period when the diet is traditionally more acidifying because it is rich in proteins and sugars. The return of the good weather is also very motivating : it makes you want to take care of yourself and your health. We also take advantage of the return of certain vegetables and fruits on the market, particularly detox ones such as asparagus or strawberries;
    • Summer : summer often rhymes with vacations and therefore more time available. The daily rhythm slows down, we have more time to take care of ourselves, we are less stressed. These are all good reasons to schedule a little detox. It is also the ideal season to make a cure of fruit and/or vegetable juices, because there is a large choice of delicious vegetables on the markets. Moreover, it is an excellent way to hydrate yourself with pleasure when the weather is very hot;
    • in the fall : detoxing helps to prepare for winter. The body, rid of its toxins, will be more resistant to face the cold season. The end of summer/beginning of autumn is also the ideal time to do the most famous detox monodiet : the grape cure;
    • Winter : this is a season that is prone to toxin accumulation, but you don't have to wait until it's over to take things in hand. You can perfectly schedule a detox in the middle of winter.

    Is there any danger in doing a detox ?

    A detox is not without some side effects. Don't worry : they are temporary, and above all are a sign that the elimination of toxins is going well. The more your body is clogged, the more these symptoms will be present : headaches, joint pain, pimples, nausea. These discomforts usually appear after the second day, and can last two or three days. This demonstrates the importance of scheduling your detox at a calm time, without stress related to work or other obligations, for example on the weekend or during the vacations.

    What are the right detox reflexes ?

    The detox cure is based on a practice that requires respecting certain rules in order to obtain the expected result :

    • the first basic rule of the detox diet is to reduce the amount of toxin-producing foods. Indeed, the body is capable of managing waste in reasonable quantities but not in excessive quantities. This is a good reflex to keep in mind at all times, and not only during detox cures and programs. Thus, limit foods that produce waste in the body : meats, sugars, refined cereals, very fatty foods (cold cuts, certain cheeses...). Industrial products and dishes often very rich in additives... Prefer a healthier alternative, by opting for whole grains for example, or by cooking fresh products yourself;
    • Drink a lot of water (2 liters of water per day) and throughout the day. This water is essential for the proper functioning of the body during the detox period. It prevents dehydration and helps eliminate toxins from the body;
    • Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal : they bring color to your plate (and thus a panel of various antioxidants), and are a mine of good nutrients (fiber, minerals, vitamins, enzymes ...). Build your plate around them, and not around meat or fish, as we often tend to do; learn to cook them in a thousand and one ways; alternate cooked and raw... If you can, choose organically grown fruits and vegetables to avoid ingesting pesticide residues;
    • if you cook fruits and vegetables, some precautions are necessary when cleaning to eliminate a maximum of residues : wash your fruits and vegetables very carefully with water and scrub them with a clean soft brush. For all the vegetables that cannot be brushed (salads, tomatoes, apricots, green beans...), let them soak for a few minutes in a warm water bath, then rinse with water. Always remove damaged parts of fruits and vegetables. Not only does it affect their taste, but these damaged parts also concentrate bacteria;
    • Reduce your consumption of coffee and tea. It is advisable to drink herbal teas to replace caffeine or theine;
    • Limit your alcohol intake. It is one of the major sources of liver poisoning. Alcohol makes this organ very tired : it must use a lot of energy to transform it into substances that can then be eliminated;
    • Adopt the right cooking methods. Some cooking methods denature food by destroying a good part of its minerals and vitamins. Some even cause the formation of toxic compounds. In general, avoid overcooking, whether in the oven or in a frying pan. Prefer steam cooking (papillotes, simmering).
    Published on 29 June 2022 at 15:24
    Updated on 11 February 2023 at 00:55

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    Tao L

    Tao L

    Web Editor

    My name is Tao and I am very passionate about complementary medicine. In my home country, I trained in traditional Chinese medicine. I like to pass on the knowledge gained from my experience.