The BBC has reported that doctors have put out a warning to people looking to do extreme detox diets after the festive season. The warning is illustrated by the case of a 47 year old woman who become extremely unwell after taking herbal remedies and drinking too much water. This lead to her body not having enough sodium for her to remain healthy and she had to be treated in intensive care. The doctors who cared for her researched information on herbal remedies and found a case of another patient suffering seizures after taking them. They explained that herbal remedies have not been tested and they are not regulated and therefore are not safe for anyone to take unless asking their GP first. They also explained that having too much water is dangerous for the body as it does not cleanse and purify, which many people think but can actually dilute necessary salts and cause problems for the body.
The British Dietetic Association explained that it was nonsense to think that you can detox your body. They explained that organs in the body do this anyway and taking certain patches, pills or drinks is not going to help this. They explained that having regular exercise and eating a sensible diet is the only way to make sure that you are really healthy.
It can be really tempting after Christmas to think that it is the time to change your eating patterns, get healthy and lose some weight. Although this is a really good attitude to have, it is important to make sure that you approach it in a sensible way. If you are considering herbal remedies then talk to a doctor or pharmacist. Even taking supplements can be problematic particularly if you are already on medication or if you have a medical condition as it can have an unpredictable effect on the body. Always consult with a health professional before making these sorts of changes. Just because the supplements and remedies are sold in a shop, does not mean that they are safe as there is very little regulation in this field at the moment and the staff only have a fraction of the training that a pharmacist or doctor has.
Even drastic changes in diet and exercise should not be undertaken unless you speak to a GP first. Even if you are young and feel that you are healthy you should check. What you want to do may be too extreme or may not be healthy. Even if the diet is in a magazine or endorsed by a celebrity it may not mean that it is safe for you to do. It is also worth remembering that we are all different and if one thing seems to be safe for one person, it may not be safe for you and so it is not worth the risk of trying it unless you are sure. Articles, books and people can be very convincing when they want to sell you something, you need to be completely sure that it is the best thing for you.
Based on what has been said above, the best detox probably involves eating sensibly and exercising more. Ensure you are hydrated enough but not too much and cut out the unhealthy foods. Although there can be confusing disagreement as to what is unhealthy, there are some sensible approaches that you can take. For example, there is no nutritional value in sugar, so if you cut out sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits, puddings and sweets you will be making a really good start. Sugar can damage our bodies in many ways, not just making us fat, but also making it more difficult to absorb nutrients and harder to release energy. It is thought to be part of the cause of many diseases and so it is best to avoid it as much as possible. It is something that is difficult to give up, but can be done in small steps which could help you to be healthier and lose weight at the same time. Similarly foods containing processed grains or white flour such as pizza, white pasta, white rice, pastries are not healthy either but there are wholegrain alternatives which are healthier options. We also now that too much fat is not healthy and so just by cutting down or keeping a close watch on the fat content of our foods, we should be able to become healthier.
Then there are things to add to the diet as having a good varied diet means that we are more likely to get all of the nutrients that we need. So having a good range of fruit and vegetables, lots of different types of meals and a variety of colours in the food, should help. Also adding in exercise is a good thing as it can not only burn calories, it helps our bodies to function better and can prevent disease. It is recommended that we exercise each day where our heart rate increases, but also that we do not sit for long periods during the day as well. Just getting up to make a drink regularly or to walk to a window, to chat to someone or to just get moving can make a really big difference.
Another aspect of being healthy is to see the doctor and take their advice. Whether you have a ongoing medical problem or get unwell form time to time, it is worth getting medical advice and then acting on that. Some people will not bother or they will not take the medication prescribed or they will not complete the course. They may think they should take something different instead or that they know better than the doctor or pharmacist. It is true that we are all human and all make mistakes. Medical breakthroughs happen a lot and there are mistakes. However, trained professionals do know more than laypeople, herbologists, naturopaths etc and so it is worth trusting what they say.