Many doctors believe the kidneys and liver do a fine job of removing toxins, like pesticides and food additives, without any help. But cleansing regimens have their fans: Here's what you need to know if you're interested in trying one.
: Extreme cleansing regimens can be dangerous; consult a doctor.
Step 1: Eliminate junk food Eliminate all processed food, refined sugar, and alcohol from your diet for the length of your detox. Eat whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Many doctors believe this is a good alternative to fasting.
: Fasting for a day or two won't harm healthy individuals, but should not be attempted by people with heart disease or weakened immune systems.
Step 2: Go for a sauna or steam room Take a sauna or visit a steam room. Sweating may release trace amounts of toxins.
Step 3: Try panchakarma Try panchakarma, an ancient process of removing toxins that involves steam saunas, massages, and special oils. Find a program at a spa or wellness center that practices the traditional Indian medicine known as ayurveda.
Step 4: Clear your colon Keep your colon clear by eating a high-fiber diet. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all you need to keep things in working order.
TIP: There's no proof that enemas, laxatives, and colonics clean you out any better, and they can be dangerous, leading to fainting, muscle cramps, and dehydration.
Step 5: Lose weight Lose weight if you need to. Slim bodies get rid of toxins faster than overweight ones.
TIP: Don't waste your money on foot pads that claim to remove toxins. They don't work.
Step 6: Beware of chelation Beware of chelation therapy, a medical treatment that removes heavy metals like mercury and lead through prescription drugs. Though some doctors endorse it for routine detoxification, it is only FDA-approved for people with high levels of metals in their system, and it can harm the body's natural toxin removers, the liver and kidneys.
FACT: The Master Cleanse was created in the 1940s by nutritionist Stanley Burroughs to treat ulcers and other internal conditions.