A Simple Guide to a Healthy Cleanse or Detox Diet

4 Step Guide to a Cleanse

While popular detox and cleanse diet plans offer lofty claims, a “detox” focused on healthy whole foods may be the best way to cleanse.

From the lemon juice-and-cayenne concoction popularized by Beyoncé to fruit and vegetable juice liquid diets, “cleanses” are all the rage. Proponents claim that these plans help your body to flush out the “toxins” that build up from preservatives, alcohol and caffeine in our diets. There is little scientific research to support such drastic (and often expensive) plans. In fact, following all-liquid diets lacking in vital nutrients may even reduce your body’s natural ability to rid itself of toxins and free radicals.

So what is the key to a healthy and effective “cleanse” diet? It may be as simple as eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber-rich whole grains and drinking enough water.

Experts seem to agree that one major benefit of a whole foods detox diet is breaking old habits. Cutting out processed foods and focusing primarily on fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be a new beginning for people looking to start afresh with a healthy lifestyle.

Follow this simple four-step guide to clean up your diet and retrain your taste buds without a “diet.”

4 Step Guide to a Healthy Cleanse Diet

  1. Drink plenty of water.

Water is essential for your body’s natural detoxification pathways, facilitating excretion of toxins. Choose water and other sugar- and caffeine-free drinks to ensure you stay well hydrated. If you find yourself missing your morning cup of joe, reach for a glass of green tea which contains powerful antioxidants that aid in detoxification.

2.  Up your intake of fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that promote detoxification. Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, and kale are especially good at helping the liver to get rid of toxins.

3.  Choose whole grains and high fiber foods.

Fiber binds to toxins and helps your body excrete them while also decreasing the amount of time harmful compounds spend in your digestive system. Good sources include oats, brown rice, whole grains, beans and flaxseed.

4.  Exercise regularly.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. Break it up throughout the day and the week, and be sure to add some muscle-strengthening activity too.

So what’s the bottom line?

Avoid cleanses that include dangerous laxatives or are extremely low calorie or all-liquid diets. Instead eat a healthy diet of whole foods that includes at least 1,000 calories per day. After three to five days of “cleansing,” transition to a balanced and sustainable healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Wondering what that looks like? Check out the MyPlate Guidelines and try the eMeals Clean Eating Meal Plan for a simplified approach to a clean and healthy lifestyle.

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9 thoughts on “A Simple Guide to a Healthy Cleanse or Detox Diet

  1. Ann

    “According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. ”

    I think you meant to say DAILY physical activity per week….unless I am reading this incorrectly. I wish it were 2 hours and 30 minutes weekly! Thanks for the realistic, healthy article on detox and cleansing. It supports what I know intuitively – our bodies are capable of cleansing themselves if we avoid the toxic stuff from the get-go.

  2. Pingback: detox diet

  3. Emily

    This is good advice, and a timely reminder of how straightforward the basic principles of health really are -thank you for sharing your information so freely!

  4. Steve

    Excellent post, I really appreciate how simple and straightforward you kept this one, some of the blogs I have read make it seem like you need to be a doctor to eat healthy.

  5. Octavio

    Great post. I love detoxing my body. The energy a good detox give you after is amazing.
    I was not able to lose weight for a while until I started a detox diet plan. I lost 20 pounds.
    This is the reason I also open a body detox site, I love writing about body detox topics.


  6. Carrie

    As summer draws to a close these comments flag up the wisdom of keeping a healthy diet regime all year round – too often we just think of detoxing in the spring – but what a great idea as the days draw in, too. It can really set you up for winter. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Hettie

    I have just signed up with a personal trainer to get my life back. I’ve been doing the diet yo-yo now for far to long so this time around I will go the sensible route. Thank you so much for sharing this information, it will be a great help in re shaping my life!

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