Detox Naturally: A NeuroTritionist’s GuideOrsha Magyar, CEO & Founder, NeuroTrition Inc.
March 20, 2023
Why I Used To Dread The D-Word
I’ve spent the last twenty-three years working in healthcare, from studying the brains of people with neurological and psychiatric disease as a neuroscientist to now helping people with brain and mental health imbalances as a nutritionist.
While there is stigma around the word “detox” in my scientific community, I believe that detoxification is an important piece of the health and wellness equation – and that nutrition is key. I believe that we CAN detoxify in an evidence-based, safe and gentle way. And that we can do it every single day.
What Does Science Say About Detoxification?
Detoxification – or just detox, for short – generally implies adhering to a strict short-term detox diet and often includes specific herbs, detox drinks or teas, laxatives, diuretics, and colon cleanses or enemas. Sometimes, these detoxes claim to rid your body of toxins while treating digestive disease, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, allergies, or even brain and mental health imbalances. But unfortunately, these claims don’t line up with what the science tells us, and may misguide people in their search for answers to their unique health imbalances. What the research supports, however, is a natural and nutritional detox, which is gentle on the body (and makes me want to do a happy dance; I love it so much).
What Does The research Say about Detoxing naturally?
Science tells us that the body can naturally detox on its own. Furthermore, research shows us how to detox our body safely, gently and effectively: By optimizing our body’s own detoxification systems and portals of toxin elimination. These are our colon (feces), kidneys (urine), skin (sweat), and liver (bile). This means that if we can get these key organs working optimally, they will help us detoxify harmful substances from our diets and environments, naturally. So while science doesn’t support a restrictive short diet or harsh detox it does make a compelling case for gentle daily detoxification support!
When is it time for a detox?
Well, I personally think every single day!
You see, I work with clients who struggle with brain and mental health symptoms. It turns out that these imbalances often come hand-in-hand with gut issues and inflammation – so I often work with the brain, gut and immune system in tandem. There is a cluster of symptoms I tend to see (and which people have been dealing with and often normalizing for years):
- Gas, bloating, constipation
- Low energy
- Skin inflammation & rashes
- Brain fog
- Chronic aches & pains
These seemingly unrelated symptoms occurring together make me think that my client’s detoxification organs are sluggish (or even clogged). And they make me think about a need for some daily detoxification support.
The key things that research suggests improve the ability of our skin, kidneys, colon and of course our lovely liver to do their jobs of rendering toxins harmless and then assisting in their exit from the body (the meaning of “detox”) are:
In combination with working to reduce refined processed foods and beverages (which slow or even clog our portals of elimination), I encourage people to enjoy the above six things as often as they can every single day to promote natural detoxification all the time. There are TWO SIMPLE WAYS we can easily incorporate this entire list into our daily routine:
1. Fruits & Vegetables
You’ve heard you need to eat more fruits and vegetables. But did you know they are also a part of a natural detoxification diet? Fruits and vegetables are not only chock full of water, they are also brimming with antioxidants (our antidote to oxidants, aka. free radicals), and prebiotics (special fibres that happen to be the favourite food of our good gut bugs ie. probiotics). Some vegetables are sulphur-bearing, like cauliflower, broccoli and garlic, which contain glucosinolates (special compounds that increase our body’s strongest antioxidant, glutathione). And some veggies that live in the sea (like chlorella algae) naturally detoxify harmful heavy metals.
I recommend a greens drink to clients (and to myself) to help meet daily requirements, and Botanica’s line of Perfect Greens (I personally love the unflavoured version) not only brings the greens, but also brings antioxidant-rich super fruits, chlorella and prebiotics. It’s so easy to stir it into some water and boost your daily hydration, too.
2. Protein, Please
Protein is the nutritional foundation for detox because it gives your liver amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that activate and assist its six phase II detoxification pathways. Furthermore, protein helps safely move toxins out of the body. I believe that the quality of protein is just as important as its quantity. So I recommend the best, such as wild salmon, black cod, trout, halibut, mackerel, anchovy and sardine, free range organic eggs, chicken and turkey, raw nuts and seeds, and red meat only in moderation (with an emphasis on anti-inflammatory game meats such as bison, venison, and lamb).
I put some clients on a protein powder to ensure adequate intake, and I really like Botanica’s Perfect Protein because it is whole food based, rather than an isolate. This means you also get prebiotics, antioxidants and other gently detoxifying nutrients along with high-quality complete and balanced plant-based protein that is simple to make a part of your data-driven clean detox routine. Add to water or any other caffeine-free beverage for a hydration boost, too.
Looking for an easy and tasty way to incorporate both protein and greens into your routine? Make sure to check out this “Green Brain” Smoothie recipe!
While I absolutely recommend gentle cleansing through proper hydration, liver detox whole foods and whole food-based supplements rich in antioxidants, sulphur, prebiotics, chlorella and amino acids, I also have a few detox no-no’s:
- Don’t EVER do an extreme detox without professional guidance
- Don’t detox so harshly that you feel faint, weak or run to the toilet constantly
- Don’t do anything that impairs your ability to function normally day to day
Detox Every Day
I no longer dread the D-word conversation and you shouldn’t either. Because I think the medical and holistic communities can in fact agree that we can gently, safely, and very effectively improve our natural detoxification systems, NeuroTritionally. Moreover (and this is my favourite part), we can detox every single day to ensure our bodies can deal with the toxins our modern lives throw our way.