Generally people don’t realize the importance of cleansing the body in order to support overall health. Many people choose to start a detox diet to assist with a particular health issue, the most popular being to lose weight, and people generally experience impressive results when they do this. However when the ‘problem’ is fixed they often go back to their old eating habits and lifestyle choices and over time the toxins build back-up and the same health issues return.
Cleansing should become a part of your daily lifestyle to ensure the body is always able to function at its optimal level rather than just eating healthy foods and removing toxins when there is a particular problem or need to do so. Doing this requires an important shift from treatment to prevention and a range of simple, but important changes to your daily lifestyle.
Our liver and other organs are continually working to detoxify the body, but if we subject it to more toxins that it can effectively process then they can back-up and become stagnant – this is when energy levels start to drop and general vitality can be affected. By reducing our exposure to these toxins in the first place and introducing fewer impurities in the body we can make it easier for the liver to do its job effectively and help to support overall health.
Our modern diet is very acidic and many studies are now starting to show that an acidic body is the starting point for many major diseases. These diseases tend to start slowly and can already well develop before we notice any diagnosable symptoms. Although there is no scientific evidence to show that cleansing can help prevent any disease, it is known that by cleansing the body you can help it return to a healthy acid/alkaline balance, which is a very important factor in maintaining long term health and wellness.
If you think back to your days of studying Physics at school, a PH of above 7 equals alkaline, anything below ph7 is acidic and 7 exactly is neutral. All of the foods and drinks we consume can either be classified as alkaline, acid or neutral. The human body is meant to be slightly alkaline (usually PH 7.3-7.4 although it can be slightly acidic first thing in the morning). Our body’s natural PH balance can be affected by a number of things including:
Because we are living modern, busy lifestyles and eating poor quality processed foods many of us have bodies that are overly acidic. Most natural health practitioners and many traditional medical Doctors now accept that many diseases start in an acidic body, and that maintaining an alkaline state can help maintain overall health
Symptoms of an Acidic Body
Symptoms can vary from person to person, but include feeling tired, stressed, frequent colds, poor digestion, weight problems, headaches, joint or muscular pain, anxiety and excessive mucous production.
The Alkaline Diet
An Alkaline diet attempts to return the body to a balanced alkaline state by increasing the amounts of alkaline foods we eat and reducing the number of acidic foods. During caveman times the traditional diet would have been mostly plants, nuts, seeds and berries with a small amount of pure animal proteins. Since modern agriculture and food processing techniques our diets have changed dramatically and we now consume a much higher quantity of acid rich foods like cheese, milk, meat, beer, biscuits, soda, black tea and white processed foods. At the same time we have decreased the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables from our diets.
When you undertake an Alkaline diet you simply reduce or avoid completely foods in the high or very high acid groups and consume higher quantities of foods in the high or very high alkaline groups – generally you should be aiming for 80% alkaline foods and only 20% acidic, for some people it could almost be the other way around currently.
It is important to consult a medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle; however for most people this is a very simple easy diet to follow that is gentle on the body.
Beneficial Alkaline Foods
Some foods have an extremely alkalizing effect on the body and are beneficial to consume during this diet. Foods like seaweed, barley grass, wheat grass, beetroots, spirulina and dark leafy vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are very alkaline.
Another food which has a strong alkalizing effect on the body is Lemon. Many people believe lemon is acidic due to its taste, but when it is processed by the body it has a strong alkalizing effect. This is why it is used in so many different detox programs.
What are the Benefits of this kind of Cleanse?
By ensuring the majority of your diet consists of alkaline foods you will help to bring the body back in to its natural balance and provide the nutrients the body needs to cleanse itself of toxins and impurities. Many people find their energy levels increase; they lose weight and get improvements to their general health and vitality once they return their body to an alkaline state.
You should consider this is a diet or a detox, it is a change to your eating habits for the long-term, by maintaining an alkaline diet you ensure your body doesn’t become an acidic, toxic breeding ground and you are able to maintain equilibrium in the body.
If you significantly reduce or stop eating acidic foods your body may enter a temporary healing crisis and you can experience headaches and food cravings. This will usually pass within a few days – ensure you drink plenty of water and good daily exercise to help reduce symptoms. If you are a heavy coffee drinker or a have a poor diet for example it is always better to gradually make changes to your diet and lifestyle rather than going ‘cold turkey’ and doing it all at once. Incorporate relaxation and stress reductions techniques (like meditation and yoga), avoid exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible, drink plenty of water and get daily exercise to ensure your body remains in good shape.
Because this isn’t really a diet as such, but more a lifestyle change, some people may still need to do some kind of detox to speed up the rate at which toxins are removed from the body. Look for a product or cleansing program which have been tested to be alkaline or go for something like the lemonade diet which is based around the lemon, one of the most alkalizing foods available.