The word detox refers to cleansing the body of pollutants, toxins or poisons. This procedure was often practised in hospitals with the use of drugs or certain therapies under the supervision of experienced health professionals. Unfortunately, many trendy diets state detoxification as the main health benefit but ultimately end up destroying your body. According to nutritionist Heather Mangieri, there is no scientific evidence proving detox diets to be beneficial. A healthy diet with regular exercise, sleep, frequent medical checkups and adequate fluid consumption can promote better health than detox diets according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

Myths Related To Detox Diets

Let us look at some of the benefits that detox diets claim to have and compare them with facts. 

1. Your Body Needs Help With Detoxification

Pollutants, toxins or poisons can be formed as a result of the environment, medications or food consumed. The kidneys, liver and intestines in your body have enough power to detoxify these toxins or poisons. The kidneys remove toxins from the body in the form of urine while the liver removes it in the form of bowel movements. The large intestine removes undigested matter by forming stools. This shows that your body is very much capable of removing toxins on its own.

2. Detox Diets Are Healthy

Many of these fad diets lack essential minerals and vitamins. A person who repeatedly follows detox diets can experience a deficiency of macro and micronutrients. There is also a risk of metabolic acidosis where an imbalance in the body’s acid-base balance is seen.

3. Green Juice Helps In Cleansing

Juices are a part of many detox diets. Although vegetable juices might seem the best option over sugary, processed fruit drinks, it has more cons. Vegetable juices are devoid of fibre that fresh vegetables can provide you with! Fibre helps in promoting satiety and helps in weight management which is lacking in fruit or vegetable juices.

4. Detoxification Can Help With Weight Loss

Detox diets are usually low-calorie diets. There can be weight loss experienced initially though the individual is prone to binge-eating and gaining more weight later on. The deficit of calories can also lead to fatigue and muscle protein breakdown to make up for the caloric deficit.

5. Detoxing Is Safe

Strict detox diets can increase electrolyte imbalances, vitamin, protein and mineral deficiencies. Stomach issues like diarrhoea or bloating along with fatigue can also be seen. This can harm your body more than benefit it.

Why Has Detoxing Become Popular?

Detox diets have become popular as they claim to eliminate wastes, toxins as well as help in weight management. Certain magazines, celebrities have also promoted detox diets thus increasing their popularity. 

Nutritious Diet Versus Detox Diet: Which Is Better?

Detox diets come with a lot of side-effects and lesser benefits. Certain side-effects that can be seen as a result of detox diets could be fatigue, headache, dizziness, water-intoxication, electrolyte imbalance, nausea and weight gain. Detox diets can even be harmful to individuals with co-morbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol. There can be increased risks of nutrient deficiencies as well. Consuming a diet rich in whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, pulses, dairy, fish along with exercise can help in gradual and sustainable weight loss without any potential or life-threatening side-effects.

Nutritional Recipes

Now that you know some facts about detoxing, let us look at some healthy and fibre-rich recipes.

1. Apple Banana Porridge

This tasty recipe can be prepared in a jiffy and consumed for breakfast in the morning. It is rich in fibre and helps soothe your stomach.

Cooking time: 10-15 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 158 kcals

Carbohydrates: 28 gms

Protein: 5 gms

Fat: 3 gms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced apple
  • ½  cup sliced banana
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup dalia
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Sugar to taste

Method:

  1. Place a cooker over the flame and heat butter. Saute dalia and oats over a medium flame.
  2. Add milk and one cup of water. Mix well. Pressure cook for three whistles.
  3. Take the cooker off the flame and let it cool for a few minutes. 
  4. Take off the lid of the pressure cooker. Add sugar and mix well. Let the mixture cool well. You can also refrigerate the mixture.
  5. After the mixture is cooled well, add sliced bananas and apples to the milk mixture. Enjoy!

2. Sprouty Fruit Salad

This salad can be consumed as an evening or mid-morning snack. It is a good source of fibre, protein and provides instant satiety.

Cooking time: 10-15 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 45 kcals

Carbohydrates: 7 gms

Protein: 2.5 gms

Fat: 0.5 gms

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup methi sprouts
  • ¼ cup pomegranate
  • ½ cup apple cubes
  • ¼ cup chopped spinach
  • ¼ cup curd
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl except for curd.
  2. Add curd over the top as a dressing. Enjoy!

3. Spinach Curd Gravy

This tasty gravy can be consumed with roti or steamed rice.

Cooking time: 15-20 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 65 kcals

Carbohydrates: 10 gms

Protein: 3 gms

Fat: 2 gms

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1 tsp hing
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ cup curd
  • 1-2 chopped chillies 
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to taste
  • 1 tsp urad dal

Method:

  1. In a pan, heat water and bring it to a boil. Cook spinach and add salt with turmeric powder.
  2. Cook for a while and keep aside.
  3. In a mixer, combine coconut, chillies and jeera. Keep it aside. Add this paste to the curd and mix well.
  4. In the pan combine spinach and curd-coconut mixture. Mix well.
  5. In yet another pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add urad dal and hing as well. Mix well.
  6. Add this to the gravy and mix well. Serve with chapati and rice.

4. Coconut Milk & Mango Smoothie

This tasty smoothie can be consumed during breakfast or along with your evening snack.

Cooking time: 10-15 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 285 kcals

Carbohydrates: 30 gms

Protein: 4 gms

Fat: 10 gms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mango pulp
  • ½ cup of coconut milk
  • ½ cup curd
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder

Method:

  1. Combine mango pulp, coconut milk, curd, sugar and cardamom powder in a blender.
  2. Pour the smoothie into glasses. Enjoy! 

5. Rainbow Salad

This tasty salad can be consumed after a heavy meal or during breakfast for satiety.

Cooking time: 10-15 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 110 kcals

Carbohydrates: 20 gms

Protein: 0.5 gms

Fat: 0.5 gms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kiwi
  • ¼ cup apples
  • ¼ cup pomegranate
  • ¾ cup grapes
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • A pinch of salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except honey and lemon juice.
  2. Pour honey and lemon juice over the top of fruits as a dressing. Enjoy!

Key Takeaways

  1. Consult a doctor or nutritionist before deciding on a detox or calorie-restricted diet. This applies especially to malnourished children, pregnant/ lactating women and individuals suffering from diabetes.
  2. Certain detox diets include excess usage of laxatives, water or diuretics. This can prove to be harmful to your body.
  3. Colon cleansing methods present in certain detox diets can contribute to abdominal bloating, nausea, cramps or vomiting.
  4. Consumption of whole grains, whole pulses, whole fruits, nuts, dairy and vegetables can prove to be much more beneficial than following fad diets as they often lack essential nutrients.
  5. Herbal detoxes recommend the usage of herbal supplements which can prove to be harmful to the liver as the ingredients present in the supplements are often not regulated.
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36 Irresistible Breakfast Recipes

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