What we can do today to help the liver cleanse.

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Detox diets have been all the rage for the past few years in celebrity tabloids—from cold pressed juices to ingesting clay, nothing is shocking anymore as long as it has the suffix “detox” to follow suit. Toronto-based nutritionist, Ciara Foy, explains how detoxing works and what benefits it provides the body.

Why detox?

Foy begins by explaining: “detoxing can be as simple as removing things from the diet, specifically things that are hard to digest.” A significant part of our well-being hinges on digestion, and poor digestion leads to a host of unpleasant symptoms (like bloating and irregular bowel movements). This is one of the reasons that most types of diets suggest removing processed foods—our digestion systems simply aren’t equipped to process them.

Our natural detox

The liver naturally detoxifies the body, which “it does a really good job with, when actually given the opportunity,” continues Foy. An alteration to our diet can have quick results: “it’s impossible to say how long the liver needs to fully detoxify the body, since every person is different with different states of health, however, changing the diet can have a profound effect on gut bacteria in a matter of days.” Gut bacteria, though it sounds harmful, is actually a good thing. Gut bacteria present in our digestive tracts further breaks down our foods and also functions to boost our immune system and protects us from more harmful bacteria.

Detoxing and weight loss

For those attempting to lose weight, cleansing can help your body to make the transition a bit easier. When we eat foods with toxins (anything processed) or come into contact with toxins (such as pesticides, added chemicals, pollution, etc.), our bodies protect us from them, and they get stored in our fat cells. When we begin to shed pounds, and the fat cells are broken down, these toxins enter our bloodstream. This is what contributes to the headaches and sluggish feeling that some people experience during the first few days of a cleanse. If our livers aren’t bogged down trying to work through our poor diets, they can safely and properly dispose of them. The toxins can be eliminated through our skin or affix themselves to fibre so elimination occurs through our bowels, which is why we need a diet high in fibre. So be kind to your liver and eat whole, natural foods to complement exercising for healthy and safe weight loss. This is also why women who have just given birth aren’t encouraged to lose weight too quickly—the toxins floating around in the bloodstream can be passed to the newborn through breast milk.

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Detox diet tips

Again, cleansing doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing diet change, simply eliminating processed foods and focusing on whole, natural foods (think fruits and veggies!) will go a long way. When Foy recommends cleansing, it is not for the purpose of weight loss: it is to heal digestive issues, and repair the body. If Foy recommends juice cleansing to her clients, it is often complemented with raw foods “to ease yourself into it. With pure juice cleanses, your body doesn’t actually have to digest anything, and you are still getting all of the nutrients.” If you are trying any cleanse for the first time, it’s important to speak with a practitioner to ensure you are still meeting all of your dietary requirements.

For more information on Ciara Foy and her services, visit ciarafoy.com