Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Tranquil way

Published:Tuesday | March 15, 2016 | 3:00 AM

We all want to be healthy. Some of us do not invest much effort to become healthy, but some invest quite a lot. One way that some persons seek to gain health is to detox. Toxins are in our body and they can cause harm, so some suggest special diets to remove these toxins from our bodies. But are they safe and/or effective?

The body has various ways to get rid of waste. The gastrointestinal tract (the mouth to the anus) gets rid of undigested food and also bile. Bile contains breakdown products of red blood cells and it actually gives stool its brown colour. The liver is the workhorse in the process of getting rid of toxins. It converts many substances, including potentially harmful ones, to forms that the kidney, and other parts of the body, can excrete. The kidney is also a major player in the waste disposal business as well. It's also important in maintain the levels of various substances in the body, such as calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate and water. In fact, the liver and the kidney work together to get rid of many substances from the body.

Apart from those stable substances, there are also temporary substances that are formed in the bodyas a result of many chemical processes called free radicals, that can harm the body. Antioxidants are important in neutralizing these substances before they can harm the body. These antioxidants should be obtained from our food.

There are very few substances of which a normally functioning body cannot rid itself. The body hardly ever stores toxins, so there is generally no need to detoxify the body.

The few toxins that the body cannot get rid of are not available in a normal diet and would have to be added deliberately or accidentally, such as arsenic. A detoxifying diet is, therefore, very unlikely to be of benefit to us.

A detox diet is usually deficient in many important nutrients, and if they are prolonged they can actually prove harmful to the body' usually, the weight that is lost using them is regained.

In order to help the body; in getting rid of toxins we should have a diet that is rich in fibre and antioxidants (fresh, bright-coloured fruits and vegetables, and whole grains), drink lots of water, rest well, get good exercise and plenty sunshine.

Moderation is very important for good health.