After a massive Thanksgiving dinner and days of heavy leftovers, chances are you may be feeling a bit sluggish as you slip back into your regular routine. If you feel like a post-Thanksgiving detox might help you feel lighter and prepare for the rest of the holiday season, you should stop before you find yourself drinking nothing but juice for the next two weeks. Though the idea of detoxing has its allure, it simply does not follow the actual digestive and cleansing process of the human body. Here’s a closer look at the potential harm of detoxing along with some tips on the more effective steps you can take instead.
Why your detox won’t work
Whether it involves fasting, cleansing pills, or a juice diet, detoxing is designed to severely limit your food intake, allowing the body time to rid itself of harmful toxins. In reality, the detox itself does very little, as the liver and kidneys already function with the rest of the digestive system to filter harmful substances out of the body while you consume a regular diet. Positive side effects boasted by detox programs—particularly those relying on various cleansing juices and other liquid tonics—are easily explained and temporary. A sudden burst of energy, for example, might be attributed to the high dose of sugar found in most juice blends. You might even lose weight, since your body will be starved for protein and other essential nutrients, but the weight will almost certainly come back once you start eating real food again. What’s more is that many people will site a buildup of heavy metals or pesticides in the body as a need for a detox, but these issues are highly unlikely for most of the population.
What you should do instead
So, if detoxes are widely unnecessary and potentially dangerous, how can you effectively restore your energy and feel cleansed after an indulgent holiday weekend? Simply eating healthy and getting more exercise can do wonders for you, though you might kick start your metabolism and boost your digestive health with some key foods that do boast real cleansing powers. Most fruits and veggies will be a boon to your digestive health, especially when served raw or cooked with minimal fat and salt. Foods such as artichokes, collard greens, beets, avocado, fennel, citrus fruit, onion, and kale all provide rich antioxidant content and restorative vitamins and minerals to reverse oxidative damage, making you feel healthier.
Any time you make substantial dietary changes, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor to make sure you are still getting the nutrition you need. To check in before you start a post-Thanksgiving dietary recovery, connect with a MeMD medical provider anytime from your smartphone, tablet, or desktop.