“Detox” is a popular buzzword in the health world. In particular, we might be tempted to detox after Christmas and New Year for over-indulging and partying during the busiest social month of the year. In January, more than 40% of Britons will be looking to rejuvenate themselves, making health-related New Year’s resolutions.
Evelyn Toner, Senior Specialist Dietitian at London Bridge Hospital has provided expert advice on detoxing and rejuvenating the healthy way.
Toner comments: “In reality, ‘detox diets’ do not work, as they are based on the impression that toxins ‘build up’ in our bodies and can be removed by eating or avoiding certain foods. There is no evidence for this and if toxins really did build up, we would all start to feel very ill! In truth, our bodies eliminate toxins on a daily basis using many physiological functions and organs such as the liver, kidney, lymph system and digestive system.
“Detox diets may lead to weight loss due to their extreme nature, calorie restriction and the fact that they could cut out whole food groups. There is no evidence for their effectiveness; the weight loss is not sustainable and is usually regained once a normal diet is resumed.”
However, to keep your body functioning well, Toner has provided five top tips to optimise your health, increase energy levels and improve your skin, hair and nails:
1 Eat your fruit and vegetables – Include a variety every day; the more colourful and varied the better and they can be fresh, frozen, tinned, dried, or as juice. Try to include some at each meal and as a snack between meals, aiming for five portions a day. These will give you a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre.
2 Drink plenty of fluids – Try aiming for 1.5-2 litres a day. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks and excessive caffeine-containing drinks. This will keep you hydrated, help flush toxins and keep skin glowing.
3 Choose high-fibre starchy foods – Brown bread, potatoes with skin, brown rice and pasta – include at least one with each meal. This will help you feel full for longer and provide important vitamins, minerals and fibre, which will keep your digestive system healthy and prevent constipation.
4 Drink sensibly and avoid binge drinking – If you do chose to drink alcohol, men should consume no more than 3-4 units per day and women not more than 2-3 units per day. These units cannot be ‘saved up’ and then used in one or two nights.
5 Eat less salt – Even if you don’t add salt to your meals, many foods are already high in salt. Excessive salt intake can increase your blood pressure and risk of other diseases. Use food labels to choose foods with less than 1.5g salt per 100g.