Christmas Bloat – do you feel it? That heavy, lethargic, uncomfortable feeling which comes hand-in-hand with too much of a good thing. Time to get back on track, you say? Before you leap gleefully on that new-year-new-you-detox-bandwagon, here’s what you should know about detox treatments…
Come the New Year, the detox concept is plastered all over the media, along with alluring promises – lose ten kilos in one week, eliminate toxins, decrease belly fat, get more energy, all by eating this strange fruit or taking that odd supplement…we’ve all heard these too-good-to-be-true claims and many of us have given them a go. Reality check! You should take it all with a pinch of salt. Online medical journal Science-Based Medicine calls a spade a spade – outing the detox trend as The Detox Scam. Avoid at all costs, the journal advises. It points out that:
- In medicine, detox is a term used for the treatment of dangerous and/or life-threatening levels of alcohol, drugs or other poisons – not merely over-indulging/li>
- Real detox treatments are medical procedures administered in hospitals by trained healthcare practitioners
- Non-medical products and services aimed at detoxification or cleansing is merely pseudo-science hoodwinking gullible consumers
- Such detox treatments use vague language, naming general symptoms and failing to name the precise toxins they’re aiming to eliminate.
The upshot of the report? At the very least, there is no scientific evidence for the efficacy of popular detox treatments. Worst case scenario, though, is that some detox treatments – like only consuming one kind of food for a prolonged period of time, using laxatives or frequent enemas administered by non-medical people without due medical diagnosis – can actually prove harmful to the body. Detox in a word? Don’t!
They may dismiss non-medical detoxes outright, but healthcare practitioners agree – habitually bingeing on food or drink isn’t good for the body, mind or soul! If you want to be slim, trim and healthy, then, take note of this sound advice:
- Don’t beat yourself up for festive season weight gain – self-loathing gets you nowhere, so breathe and renew your commitment to healthy eating and exercise now that the season is done
- Drinking alcohol and caffeine and eating too-salty food can dehydrate the body, so do drink plenty of water to rehydrate. After a particularly heavy night’s drinking, you may benefit from an electrolyte supplement to aid rehydration.
- Fibre-ise! Kick start your day, and your metabolism, with a high-fibre breakfast such as oatmeal or bran. Swap out processed, refined foods for high-fibre, low GI pasta, long-grain rice, rye bread, fibrous fruit and veggies (mangoes, apricots, pears, peaches, apples, paw-paw, bananas, squashes and carrots) and include more legumes and nuts in your daily diet.
- Up your intake of Vitamins C, B-complex, D and E – that’ll help up your energy levels, ward off depression, boost your immune system and support your liver and kidneys (which are your body’s detox central) so you can hit the New Year running!
- Exercise three to five times a week to maintain a healthy weight, get the blood pumping, the heart rate going and to keep muscles, bones and connective tissues in good nick. Through exercise, the circulatory, lymphatic and digestive systems – all of which play a role in waste and toxin elimination – are encouraged to function more effectively.
- Get eight hours of quality sleep a night – this downtime is vital to help reduce the physical effects of stress and to aid in renewal and regeneration of cells. Plus, there’s evidence that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain over time. A too-hectic lifestyle can also result in dark circles and under-eye bags – read more about that here [Link to South African Spas Article: Five Ways to Bust Under-Eye Bags…Naturally]
- Reward your commitment to health and fitness with a spa day – leading a hedonistic lifestyle will show in the skin, which loses its healthy glow. An all-over body scrub and facial scrub will fix that, not only helping exfoliate dead skin cells but also stimulating circulation. Follow up with a massage and moisturising treatment, and you’ll be feeling as good as new in no time!