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Four scientist-approved ways to naturally detox

A fresh start for a new year.

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Oscar Wong

In the billion-dollar world of wellness, “detoxing” is an annual craze.

During the holidays, this is especially true. People buy into these trends looking for ways to reset, reboot, and lose weight.

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Juice cleanses, soup diets, laxatives, and liquid fasts all sell the same goal: "rid" the body of potentially harmful toxins.

Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

But the science behind these products is dubious.

Doctors tell Inverse they don’t know of any detox program that’s been proven effective in improving human health.

“Although the detox industry is booming, there is very little clinical evidence to support the use of these diets.”

— A 2015 literature review on detox programs.

A handful of studies do suggest commercial detox diets can enhance liver detoxification and eliminate persistent organic pollutants. But these studies are hampered by flawed methodologies and small sample sizes.

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The human body has a natural detoxification system — the liver, kidneys, and colon — that makes a juice cleanse or detox diet unnecessary. At times, add-on detox programs can lead to nutritional deficiencies and a lack of energy.

“The human body has mechanisms, including the liver, to deal with toxins we may be exposed to.”

— Nutritional scientist, Sharon Kirkpatrick

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Instead of investing in a detox program, you can support your natural detox system.

Scientists say there are four ways. >>

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1. Drink more water

Yulia Reznikov

Yulia Reznikov

Staying hydrated and drinking lots of water (about 15 cups per day for men, 11 for women) prompts regular urination. Urine is an important way we remove harmful substances from our bodies.

2. Increase fiber intake

Janine Lamontagne

Janine Lamontagne

Aim for 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. Fiber traps unhealthy cholesterol and promotes healthy bowel movements — “another way we rid our bodies of harmful substances,” Inverse reported in January 2020.

3. Eat whole foods

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Nutrition experts endorse eating lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins. This minimally processed approach keeps the body moving and energized.

Foods that support natural detoxification: cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and Brussels sprouts, alongside berries, artichokes, garlic, onions, and leaks.

4. Support gut health.

wilatlak villette

wilatlak villette

Cut sugar and salt from your diet and add fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

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Ultimately, if you have a healthy, functioning colon, kidneys, and liver, you can trust in your inner detox system. Take these simple steps to keep it working optimally.

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