We all have those days where we feel bloated or just a bit gluggy from sitting all day at work or just stuck in a rut with our meals. That's normal. Detoxing is a method of getting over these humps. When it comes to detoxing; there is an array of options. Which one do you pick? Is the end result the same? We're overwhelmed by numerous facts and benefits of detoxifying via particular drink, yet all the drinks have the same aim: detoxifying.
Let's pause for a minute. What is actually happening in our bodies when we are detoxing? According to the Health Evangelist, Frank Lipman: In our body we have a main organ that naturally helps us get rid of unwanted materials - the liver. It filters the toxins out by chemically neutralizing it. Therefore, in order for the liver to flush the toxins, it needs hundreds of enzymes, vitamins and other molecules to help rid the body of unwanted wastes. The enzymes help to metabolize and excrete the toxins, thus helping our bodies to detoxify. Physician, Mark Hyman, states some effects that toxins have on our bodies: fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, acne, bloating, food cravings, etc. How does this relate back to juices and teas?
When we think of detox juices, usually green juices comes to mind. Green juices are commonly known to be detoxifying as they contain many vegetables and fruits; giving the bright green pigmented colour, that may or may not remind you of a swamp. Many of the ingredients present in the juices are packed with enzymes which help your liver to break down the toxins faster, so that more energy can be used for other functions in the body. The extra enzymes will detoxify your body, especially in your liver. For example:
In some aspects these ingredients could be addressed as "fighter foods". The vegetables and fruits don't only provide you with vitamins and minerals, which help energise your body, but also fibre to create more bowel movements. However, what could inhibit the enzymes from detoxifying all the toxins is the types of foods you consume, i.e. fatty foods, as the energy from the enzymes will be breaking down the fats rather than the toxins that are present in your body.
Now, detox teas. Have you ever wondered how a small tea bag can potentially detox your body? There is a range of teas with different ingredients that could help to detox, for example:
- green tea (in a bag)/ match (loose powder)
- dandelion tea
- white tea
- fennel tea
- rooibos tea
- chinese medicine tea
Each tea has their own qualities and benefits, but with the similar result of detoxing. The original purpose of detox teas is to get rid of wastes that has been stored in your colon - just like a laxative. If this was the case, why should we have to buy teas in the first place if we only need to take in more fluids to empty our bowels? Jackson Blatner, dietitian and nutritionist, suggests that the best way to detox is to eat fruit, vegetables and whole grains; drinking detox teas is only complementary if you're taking in more fluids. So, are all teas a waste of money?
If we look at one of the examples - matcha green tea (Teapigs organic matcha), the whole leaf is grinded into powder, thus allowing you to consume all the vitamins and minerals retained in the leaf - rather than an extract of it (i.e. tea bags). Some of the minerals are flavonoids (antioxidant effect), chlorophyll and amino acids; flavonoids might even help to protect your body from harmful free radicals. The antioxidants help to neutralise and eliminate these reactive free radicals, which usually come from the fat or energy that has been metabolised.
How about detoxing from tea bags? We're only consuming extracts of the tea leaves - yet many products claim that they'll detox your body anyway. Rooibos teas is one example that helps to detox, it contains: antioxidants, iron, manganese, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. Based on the nutritional value of rooibos, it seems to be the right choice to go for, and I bet it is. However, I question how much of the tea leaf is broken down in your mug, in order for us to detox.
From my exploration with detox juices and teas - I don't feel that one is better than the other, but I do think there are differences. When you detox with juices - you're consuming all the fruits and vegetables together with their enzymes and minerals. Your body will be able to detox faster as you're providing extra "man-power" from the enzymes, as well as fibre for more bowel movements. Conversely, when you're detoxing with teas - you're predominantly consuming the minerals and antioxidants, which does help with the detox, but without any living enzymes or fibre; it'll be slower to really gain the full benefits from detoxing from teas. Additionally, consuming extracts from the tea leaf, also contributes to the slow pace of detoxing which suggests that you would have to drink more detox tea and for a longer period, compared to juices, where you can see the results at a faster pace.