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Are Cleanses and Detoxes Good for You?

By Kate Gardner

I recently read about a new trend -- drinking celery water to cleanse or detoxify your body. I like celery just as much as the next person (even more, perhaps) but it struck me as strange to think celery-flavored water could do my health any favors. Looking into celery water cleanses led me down a rabbit hole of cleanses and detoxes, each touting amazing health benefits (Clearer skin! Fewer headaches! More energy!), and weight loss results that seemed too good to be true. It seems that cleanses and detoxes are huge right now, but are they good for us? 

Cleanse and Detox 

The words cleanse and detox are often used interchangeably when we read about these trends meant to reduce toxins in our bodies and give our digestive systems a break. But according to BestLifeOnline.com, they are not the same thing. They spoke with Ariane Hundt, a clinical nutritionist, to get the lowdown. According to Hundt, you can think of a cleanse as a short-term, superficial cleaning of the digestive tract. These are the juice (and celery water) cleanses we read about. Hundt says a detox, on the other hand, requires changing the foods you eat and often using supplements, saunas, and colonics aimed at helping the body's natural detoxification process.  

Benefits

Hundt says cleanses can cause more problems than they solve. When you drink juice, you may be getting vitamins but you're leaving out the fiber that is an important part of cleaning out your digestive system. Juices can also cause insulin spikes and any weight lost during a cleanse is likely to be short-lived. She recommends that you do your detox under the care of a professional.

The Cleveland Clinic doesn't recommend cleanses or detoxes for long periods of time but does say they may provide an influx of vitamins and minerals (since you're juicing all those fruits and veggies) and may be helpful in identifying foods that you're sensitive to. The downside to these dietary changes are that they are typically low in protein and can cause digestive upset. In the end, they point out that your body already has a system in place to filter out toxins (your digestive tract, kidneys, and liver) that usually does a really good job as long as you take care of it. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tampa, Fla. 

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