Orange SlicesCredit: are exposed to various chemical elements and toxins everyday, mostly from the food that we eat and the beverages that we drink.

Toxins also enter the body through the air that we breathe, various hair and body products that we use, or substances such as alcohol and tobacco.

With all of these toxins taking their toll on our bodies and causing damage or illnesses, detoxification has become a popular method of body repair and health maintenance.

What is detox?

At its very core, detox is a form of cleansing. Detoxing the body aims to flush out harmful dietary toxins and chemicals that have accumulated in the body and are causing different health issues or interfering with normal bodily processes. Through a detox method or program, the body's natural detox organs, such as the liver, lungs, skin, or kidney, are enhanced and optimized for maximum detoxification capacity by allowing them to refresh, get needed nutrients, and eliminate toxins that have backed up and are causing blockages.

This can be achieved through a combination of vigorous exercise, healthy food choices, water consumption and consumption of detox drinks.

Benefits of detox

Physical benefits are usually the most noticeable results of detoxing. Once the toxins that have been stored in your body's major organs are eliminated, the organs will start working the way they are supposed to. The liver and kidney more effectively flush out waste material. The skin becomes clearer and more vibrant-looking, while blood circulation and flow to all parts of the body also improve.

There are also mental benefits you can reap from a successful detox program or method. Accumulated toxins can affect various brain functions and cause chronic fatigue or stress, insomnia or other sleep-related issues, and even problems with concentrating during daily tasks. Of course, if you are feeling different aches and pains in certain areas of your body, this also affects how you work during the day, or interferes with your sleeping routine. Detoxing can restore your mental clarity, concentration, and quality of sleep.

There are many detox diets and plans that are geared specifically toward weight loss, and this is another benefit you can get from an effective detox plan. Medical experts do caution, however, against extreme strategies or techniques for detox diets which leave the body with every little calories or protein. This is dangerous for the body and negates any detoxifying effects that you may have achieved. A balanced and nutritious diet should be followed and adopted into one's normal lifestyle rather than risky crash diets.

How to detox

Your physician or nutritionist should be consulted first if you want to try any detoxing method or plan, especially if you have any medical condition and currently undergoing treatment, therapy, or medication. As a general rule, natural detox methods that focus on increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and other nourishing foods are more advisable compared to detox plans that deprive your body of nutritious intake.

Usually, starting a detox with a 24-hour fast would be recommended, but only if it is appropriate for your health condition. Even if you are going on a fast, keeping your body well-hydrated is still a must. Drink lots of fluid, and you can drink cold or warm water, as well as fresh lemon juice. Lemon has great detoxing and cleansing effects on the liver and kidneys.

After the fast, eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a must in detoxing your body. Fruits and vegetables contain high fiber content which is great for flushing out the body's toxins. Raw fruits and vegetables are easier for the body to consume; juicing or making fruit and vegetable smoothies make it much easier for the body to absorb the nutrients for maximum effect. As much as possible, you want to look for organic or all-natural fruits and vegetables. Since the goal of detoxing is getting rid of toxins from your body, you would not want to add more by eating pesticide-laced or chemically-grown produce.

Exercise should also be maintained during detox, as sweating is also a way to remove harmful toxins and chemicals from the body. Also, allow your body to get enough rest and sleep during a detox, in order to help the body focus on eliminating wastes and toxins and restoring your body to optimum health.