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Why should we detox?

Detoxing has for some time been something of a buzzword in the media and in popular culture. Lifestyle magazines offer a conveyor belt of celebrity detoxes that promise life-changing health benefits, while spas and retreats charge huge fees for detox weekends that come and go, only for many to resume their unhealthy habits as if given some free-pass to better health. Given the amount of hype, you would be forgiven for discounting the whole idea of detoxing, hopefully in favour of a long-term healthy, balanced diet. But even with an otherwise healthy lifestyle, detoxing has an important role to play, as this article will highlight.

What is a detox?

The purpose of a detox is to rid the body of toxins. A toxin is any substance that is harmful to the body, including things that would be fine in smaller amounts but become harmful overtime at higher levels. We are all exposed to toxins in our daily lives, through food, water, air, cleaning products, cosmetics and numerous other sources. Sadly our level of exposure is on the increase as air quality deteriorates, our waterways become more polluted and more and more chemicals are introduced into the environment..

Our bodies are generally pretty good at detoxing naturally and have complicated mechanisms that break down and ultimately excrete toxins (through sweat, urine, stool and even breath). However, the amount of natural detoxification potential varies from person to person and depends on factors such as age, diet and the efficacy of our detoxification pathways. Even for the most healthy of us, there is a point beyond which toxins will accumulate faster than they can be eradicated, leading to a build-up of harmful toxins that may contribute to a wide variety of chronic illnesses, including:

  • type-2 diabetes

  • obesity

  • metabolic syndrome

  • some cancers

  • cognitive impairment

  • mood disorders

The ideal way to prevent toxic overload is obviously to avoid exposure in the first place and there are plenty of measures that you can put in place to help you. The images here link to some articles I have written on removing toxins from your environment. Prevention is always better than cure and some of these ideas are a good place to start.



It is never going to be possible to remove toxins from the our environment entirely and so undertaking a regular detox, as part of an ongoing healthy, balanced diet, can help prevent your body's natural detoxification pathways from becoming overwhelmed. An effective detox programme will combine a targeted healthy eating regimen with various activities, such as:

  • Physical activity that gets you sweating - Sweating helps you detox by flushing organic pollutants out through the pores. While taking a sauna will give you the same benefit in terms of detoxification, going for a jog or doing some hot yoga will provide many other benefits at the same time, including cardiovascular health and muscle conditioning.

  • Tongue scraping - Using a tongue scraper can help to remove harmful bacteria that has begun to build up on the tongue. Bacterial build up can contribute to oral conditions, such as gingivitis and cavities, and can have a knock-on effect on general health. Tongue scraping carries additional benefits of fresher breath and improved sense of taste, so it's something that can benefit everyone. You can purchase a tongue scraper from most chemists or online. After brushing your teeth, floss and rinse as normal, then poke out your tongue and gently run the scraper from the back to the front a couple of times, rinsing after each pass. If the process is painful, you are probably using too much pressure.

  • Oil pulling - Deriving from Ayurvedic medicine, this ancient healthcare practice simply involves swishing a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil around your mouth for 10 - 20 minutes before spitting it out. The idea is that the oil will bond with the bacteria in your mouth, while activating saliva production, allowing for toxins to be eliminated when you spit. Make sure to rinse with water after oil pulling.

  • Increasing water intake - You have probably noticed by now that these therapies involve some sort of liquid leaving the body. Well the best way to achieve this is by drinking more water, which will leave the body as urine, giving an extra outlet for harmful toxins. We should all be drinking at least 1.5 litres of water per day, or more if we are sweating. Try upping your intake to 2 litres, spread throughout the day.

  • Cold water therapy - Cold water therapy is thought to carry a range of health benefits, including aiding in detoxification, improved immunity, better sleep and faster recovery from exercise and injury. One easy way of trying cold water therapy is to get into a warm shower, then turn the temperature down for a minute, before turning it back up. Over time, you can experiment with colder water, longer cold spells and shorter warm spells. If it is your first time trying cold water therapy, please consult a medical expert to check that it is suitable for you and have somebody on-hand in case of an adverse reaction.

For a more in-depth discussion on detoxification, read my article on the Country and Townhouse Magazine website. If you would like 2023 to be the year you start taking charge of your health, you may consider joining my online 18 Day Winter Detox Programme (starting on 12th January 2023), as the best way to get rid any extra kilos or toxins accumulated over the festive season. This programme will provide you with loads of tips to take away and continue implementing as you make 2023 your year of great health and vitality.

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