Vegetable soups are commonly included in detox diets as a means of increasing its nutritional content and to ease the body’s job of digestion. Many holistic health care experts believe that these components of short-term detoxification diets can help rid the body of accumulated toxins that lead to chronic medical problems. However, detox diets are not appropriate for everyone and can result in side effects. Consult a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet.
Symptoms of Toxicity
Although the human body was designed to naturally eliminate toxins, some studies suggest that toxins can accumulate in your tissues, reports Patricia Fitzgerald, a doctor of homeopathic medicine. According to the University of Wisconsin School of Public Health and Medicine, these accumulated toxins can result in chronic health problems such as poor sleep, fatigue, depression, anxiety, gas, bloating, sinus congestion, frequent colds, decreased libido, premature aging, skin rashes and body odor.
Changing your diet is a major component of helping your body rid itself of toxins. According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, author of “Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself,” toxins are found in many foods, such as pesticides, preservatives and other additives. Some foods may also cause reactions that interfere with your natural digestive and detoxification processes. He recommends undergoing a periodic detox focus in which you eliminate your intake of processed foods, wheat, dairy, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol, as well as potential allergens such as peanuts, soy products, eggs, tomatoes and strawberries.
Ridding your body of toxins also requires supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes, writes Dr. Frank Lipman, founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. Unless your body effectively neutralizes and eliminates the released toxins, they may continue to circulate through your bloodstream and re-enter your tissues, continuing to cause damage. He recommends including dietary fiber in your detox diet to support liver function, and writes that laxatives may be needed to ensure that you have a least one bowel movement daily.
Dr. Junger recommends consuming your vegetable soups raw as often as possible in order to retain the maximum amount of nutrients. If you prefer, you may slightly warm your soups, but overcooking or boiling vegetables can deplete them of vitamins and nutrients. He recommends pureeing your soups to make them easier to digest. And Dr. Junger strongly advises leaving at least a 12-hour window between your dinner and breakfast so that your body can complete an entire detoxification cycle. Cream-based soups are not allowed on a detox program that prohibits dairy products, but you can add avocado to pureed soups to give them a creamier texture.
Do not attempt any type of detox diet if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Detox diets are not appropriate for people suffering from certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or advanced cancer. Detox diets may affect the way your body responds to certain medications. They can also result in a temporary worsening of symptoms. If you experience side effects such as headaches, digestive disorders, body aches or severe fatigue, you may need to modify or stop your detox diet. Short-term detox diets produce short-term results, cautions Fitzgerald. She recommends avoiding extreme detox diets and instead focusing on receiving an optimum nutrient intake through your daily diet.
- Frank Lipman MD: Detox Demystified – Fad, Fact, or Fiction?
- University of Wisconsin School of Public Health and Medicine: A Seven Day Program to Aid Digestion, Elimination, Detoxification, and Cleansing
- “Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself”; Alejandro Junger; 2009
- Frank Lipman MD: How Do You Do a Detox?