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An ancient approach to detoxing your body

When I wrote about detox diets in this week's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column, I learned that Western medicine isn't sold on the idea of eating certain foods -- and avoiding others -- to rid your body of impurities. The human body, experts told me, is perfectly capable of removing toxins on its own.

But I'm well aware that other medical traditions do embrace the notion, and I don't want to be dismissive of them. In particular, the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurvedic medicine encourages including such foods as lemon juice and cumin seeds in the diet to cleanse your body of toxins.

Of course, Ayurveda's not as simple as that; it's a complex and nuanced system of medicine. But one of the huge differences between its approach and that of a detox diet such as the popular The Master Cleanse is that it encourages including certain items, such as lemon juice, in your diet -- not cutting everything BUT lemon juice out of your diet.

Do you follow a particular regimen to rid your body of toxins? Or do you believe that your body can handle that task perfectly well on your own? Please leave your toxin-free comments, below.

By Rob Stein  |  August 26, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Alternative and Complementary Medicine , Nutrition and Fitness  
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Thank you for bringing this up. I don't think it's appropriate to take one part of a medicinal approach and leave the rest out. I'm not very familiar with Ayurvedic medicine, but I'm sure it has its benefits if you take it all as a whole part: the food, the lifestyle, exercise, stress management, etc.
I think a detox plan like the Master Cleanse is more dangerous than beneficial (I'm a registered dietitian). But let's look at the term "detox" from a different perspective: eating less processed foods and more organic, including more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limiting smoking and alcohol. This kind of "detox" can fit in everyone's life.
I wrote about detox in my blog just this week if anyone is interested:

Nour El-Zibdeh

Posted by: nourrd | August 26, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I think that here in the West, when people experience chronic symptoms of being run down and they visit the doctor they are told a.) your body can handle it or b.) there is a drug to take away the symptom. However, when that doesn't work, we then resort to drastic measures such as the Master Cleanse. I do support juice cleansing in my blog My Juice Cleanse but it is a process that should not be taken lightly or on a whim. I think it's important to educate people on safe ways to detoxify. Bottom line, staying healthy is about making healthy, balanced choices everyday.

Posted by: careyelaine | August 26, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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