What do you eat on natural detoxification diets? LovetoKnow spoke with Dr. Cheryle Hart, a physician and medical educator, about natural detoxification diets. Dr. Hart, medical consultant for AquaHydrate, has been a physician and medical educator for the past 29 years. During the past 10 years, she has focused her practice on health programs aimed at optimal wellness and disease prevention. Dr. Hart completed her medical training in obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic in 1984 and held appointments as clinical professor there and at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine. Dr. Hart is also board certified in Bariatrics, the medical management of weight. Dr. Hart co-authored Amazon.com's continuing top seller, The Insulin-Resistance Diet, How to Turn off Your Body's Fat-Making Machine (McGraw-Hill Publishers) in 2001.
Natural Detoxification Diets
First, we asked Dr. Hart many questions about the proper foods to eat for detoxification and weight loss.
What does a "natural detoxification" diet mean?
One of the most effective detox methods recommended is using the natural detoxifying power of everyday foods and beverages.
Why should individuals detoxify their bodies?
A healthy body is always in an alkaline balance. Any condition that shifts it towards acidity is toxic and damaging. The body strives to keep itself alkaline through the work of the lungs, kidneys, skin, colon and liver. These natural cleansing processes can be overwhelmed by excess amounts of toxins.
Toxins can come from the outside world through air, water and food but can also be produced in the body from accumulation of acid wastes from normal body functions. Regardless of the cause, the result is the same: a shift away from a healthy alkaline balance. Detoxification helps the body restore an alkaline state more quickly. This leads to improved health, energy, mental clarity, sleep, metabolism, mood and weight.
How frequently should one detoxify?
Establishing a consistent daily detoxing regimen is recommended over doing a short and drastic detox. Extreme programs are only temporary and can actually make things worse by provoking more acid-producing stress hormones.
Basics of a Detoxification Diet
Next, we asked Dr. Hart for specifics on what to eat on a detoxification regimen.
What do you eat for a natural detoxification diet?
Ideally, one should adopt a daily dietary pattern that incorporates mostly alkalinizing foods and beverages, while limiting acid-producing ones. Following the 80/20 rule is a helpful guide.
Eighty percent of your diet should come from the alkaline-producing group and 20 percent from the acid group.
General principles to know:
- It is best to select organically grown foods when possible.
- Cooking, freezing or canning foods increases their acid-forming potential.
- Foods grown with chemicals processed with preservatives or prepared with sugar are more acid forming.
- The fresher the food, the higher its alkalinity.
Among the 80% of alkaline producing foods, you should focus your diet on the following foods:
- Fruits: most fruits; especially apples, melons, dried dates and figs, grapes, papaya, raisins.
- Vegetables: most vegetables; especially asparagus, carrots, celery, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kelp, leaf lettuces, parsley, pumpkin, seaweed, squash, watercress.
- Potatoes are alkaline-forming if eaten with the peels.
- Nuts: almonds, chestnuts, coconut, pine nuts.
- Sweeteners: honey if unprocessed, dried sugar cane juice, brown rice syrup.
There are also herbs that promote alkalinity and healthy, natural detoxification. These include garlic, cayenne pepper, and agar. You can use unpasteurized and raw apple cider vinegar to season foods. Drink fruit juices, vegetable juices, and purified water that contains trace minerals. Certain herbal teas are great for natural detoxification, including: Clover, mint, sage, spearmint, raspberry, comfrey and ginseng.
What about the so-called acid forming foods and beverages?
Among the 20% of foods in the diet that are acid forming I include:
- All Meats, including fish and fowl
- Cheese: the sharper the cheese, the more acid-forming
- Beans and Legumes: Most are acid-formers but if sprouted, they alkalinize.
- Breads, Cereals, Pastas, Pastries, Popcorn and Grains: Most are acid-formers.
- Nuts: Most are acid forming if cooked, smoked or roasted.
- Artificial sweeteners
- Sweeteners: Beet and white processed cane sugar, highly processed fructose and honey, maple sugar, molasses
- Liquor, wine, beer
- Coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated
- Caffeine drinks
- Carbonated drinks
- Soft Drinks, especially artificially sweetened
- Black tea
If you take in acid producing foods, the body must neutralize them. The body needs a lot of minerals to neutralize acids. The most important ones are sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium. These get depleted when the body is highly acidic. An effective detox regimen should always replace these critical minerals.
What do you drink on a detoxification program?
It is essential that drinking adequate amounts of the right kind of water be a part of any detoxification program. I recommend drinking purified mineralized water (such as AquaHydrate). Tap water is not recommended as it may contain many acidic components, i.e. pharmaceutical drugs, hormones, bacteria, and heavy metals. Purified mineralized water carries a negative charge that pulls out positively charged acid wastes like a magnet. The minerals are important because they are powerful buffers that maintain blood alkaline balance.
How much water should the average person drink?
The least amount of water you need to drink can easily be determined by taking your weight and dividing it by 2. This is how many ounces of water you need to drink each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces alkalinized mineral-enriched water.
Other Detoxification Steps
Lastly, we asked Dr. Hart for additional recommendations for detoxification.
Do you recommend any other additional detoxification steps?
I recommend drinking a simple, yet very effective alkalinizing drink, called Super Detox Water. It is a proven way to neutralize acid cell wastes for better detoxification results.
Recipe for a Single Eight-Ounce Serving of Super Detox Water
Drink 4 ounces of purified water with 1 - 3 teaspoons of organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar plus 1-3 teaspoons of aloe vera juice. You may add stevia or natural agave nectar as a sweetener if desired.
It is important to "chase" this with 4-8 ounces of plain, purified, mineralized water. Drink Super Detox Water twice daily. This tonic is most effective when taken first in the morning and right before bedtime. Instead of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, studies also show that lemon juice diluted with purified water may also be helpful for detoxing, although not as effective.
How does detoxification aid weight loss?
A recent obesity theory suggests that people are actually making more fat cells these days so that they have some place to store excess toxic wastes. Daily detoxification continually removes acid wastes. This lets more oxygen into the cells, which helps to improve metabolism and speeds up weight loss
Last Thoughts on Detoxification from Dr. Hart
Lastly, we asked Dr. Hart to add anything she though essential for people to know and understand about natural detoxification diets. She added:
- Certain individuals are at high risk for excess acid build up in their tissues and should consider doing a daily detox regimen. These include:
- Those under chronic emotional or physical stress
- Diabetics or those with borderline-high blood sugar
- Athletes who are on high protein diets
- Individuals who crave starchy or sweet carbohydrates
- Anyone who has completed chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or had surgery.