Monday, June 25, 2007

Beauty: Detox diet is on the menu

Summer is officially here, and that means we’ve no excuse but to shake off those bad winter habits and adopt a healthier attitude, especially if we want to make the most of our summer wardrobe.

A moderate detox for a week or so can be the perfect way to kickstart a better regime.

Now we’re not suggesting anything scary, just ensuring that your diet is high in fruits, vegetables and some protein while cutting out alcohol and caffeine. This is to help the liver and kidneys, which have the job of filtering out chemicals and toxins.

Our bodies naturally per form cleansing and detoxification functions daily, but sometimes it is not able to keep up with the toxins, waste and free radicals that build up because of outside influences, such as pollution, lack of exercise and unhealthy diet choices. Detox diets can target the different organ systems involved in detoxification: the skin, liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and lymph system.

Our ability to carry out the process of detoxification depends mainly on nutrition. Certain foods help, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and grains like quinoa and buckwheat, while others, such as dairy products and caffeine, hinder the process.

So you see, a detox diet isn’t about counting calories, but rather eating whole, natural foods that haven’t been processed or altered artificially. If you’re planning to detox, swap alcohol, tea and coffee, fizzy drinks, refined sugar, dairy products, red meat, wheat, fried food and processed food for water, green tea, fresh fruit, raw or s teamed vegetables, fish, organic eggs, millet and brown rice.

Detox super foods include apples, carrots, garlic, broccoli, lemons, quinoa, paya, flax seeds and linseeds. If possible, cook your food by steaming it. Otherwise boil it in as little water as possible or stir-fry in a small amount of oil.

But detoxing is not all about diet. Exercise will really help. All you need to do is 30 minutes of gentle or moderate exercise three to five times a week to encourage faster fat loss, increase metabolism, reduce stress and help the more efficient removal of toxins.

And don’t forget to take a deep breath. The more oxygen in your lungs, the more they will expel waste products and toxins, so make sure to allow a little time every day for deep breathing and relaxation. All you need is five minutes to sit very still and concentrate on your breathing.

Another detox trick involves body-brushing. Amazingly, the body gets rid of around 1lb of waste products through the skin each day. If the pores get clogged with dead skin cells, these impurities will remain in your body, putting stress on your liver and kidneys. So invest in a body brush, and use it gently from head to toe to keep the pores clear and stimulate blood and lymph flow.

But the nicest way to kickstart a healthier regime is to spend a few days enjoying a detox break at Powerscourt Springs health farm in Co Wicklow.

You can choose from a two, three, four or five-night programme with all the essentials included: accommodation, a personal consultation with a nutrition and fitness expert, a seaweed boost hydrobath, morning meditation, a daily walk, an organic pomegranate and body scrub, a full body massage, yoga classes, detoxifying seaweed wrap and a special spa cuisine menu. You’ ll come home feeling like a new person.

Prices from €420pps. For more information check out or call 01 276 1000.

by: Rowena Walsh

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