Do you know that detoxification helps your body in a number of ways? Well, it not only strengthens your immune system and helps your body function better but also aids you to get rid of toxins from the body. However, what you should know about this process is that there is a fine line between detoxing your body and starving it. We interviewed Dr. Nisha Manikanthan, Ayurvedic expert at The Art of Living, and asked her about the Ayurvedic way to detox. Here are some key excerpts from the interview.
What is the Ayurvedic detox diet?
It is a particular type of diet which allows your body to detox on its own. It is lighter on your digestive system and is easier for your body to cope since it gets time and energy to perform its regular healing and detox processes. Apart from that, an Ayurvedic detox diet has a cleansing effect on your entire body.
Is it different for different people? On what basis is the diet decided?
Yes, it is different for each person. There are two types of detox diet. One is a general detox diet which is common for everyone. The second type, is a detox diet which is customized according to your body and its need. This type of diet is decided based on the amount of toxins in your body/system (termed as ‘aama’ in Ayurveda). The factors usually looked upon are –
- How much aama a person has and which organ/system it has affected
- Type of constitution the person has - vata, kapha or pitta – making the kind of toxin build-up of either vaat aama, kapha ama or pitta aama type
- Lastly, personality of the person
All this can be found by checking your naadi (pulse). A practitioner may prefer to opt for other methods as well in order to be sure of your ama type. However, before we get into the detoxification process, here’s what you should know — the basics of Ayurveda and how it helps to heal the body naturally.
Why does one need to detox?
We live in an environment where we are exposed to different types of toxins, frequent change in the weather and different types of food. The pollutants, radiations and stress we experience on a daily basis causes accumulation of toxins in the body.
In fact, the detox process occurs in our body on a daily basis. However, this may not happen effectively and sometimes (due to health complications) you may not be able to flush toxins from the body. This is the reason, detoxification of your body is necessary.
How often should it be done?
It usually depends on the toxic load in your body. Some people might need to detox once in a year, while other might required more frequent detox cycles. But according to experts, it is good to plan a detox once in three months.
Detox diet — What is it?
Before we get into details about what is a sample detox diet plan, here are some facts you should be aware of. These include –
- A specific detox diet (and not a general detox diet) might be of great help for people suffering from chronic diseases.
- Panchakarma is a special programme that includes certain types of diet processes, but the focus is not on diet alone.
- The best part about the Ayurvedic way to detox is that one may make few changes in the diet as per their conditions and preferences.
Here is a sample diet:
For the first three days, have fruits, fruit juices, vegetables and vegetable juices. All the fruits and vegetables must be raw and have properties that help with detoxifying the body. Almost all fruits can be included and seasonal vegetables are optimal for this plan. The rule is that these fruits and veggies must be easy to digest and light on the stomach. Here is an example of diet plan for detox.
One can follow this diet for three days and then gradually switch to cooked foods like soups, cooked moong dal or moong-daal soup. You can then gradually add khichadi to your diet for the next three days. Apart from this, you can also consume fruits, vegetables and their juices as well. The best part about this diet is that the person is not starving along with getting enough nutrition and allowing the body to get rid of toxins efficiently.
If you are a diabetic, the only change you need to make is to avoid having fruits and fruit juices. Instead, eat only vegetables and vegetable juices. If you are required to eat any specific foods as a part of your diabetic diet, you can incorporate them into your diet as well. Consult your doctor before starting with this. Read more about healthy food choices for diabetics.
Make sure you drink a lot of water and exercise regularly as it supports the detox process and flushes out toxins. However, if you feel discomfort, excessive hunger or weakness, make sure you eat as often as you require.
For how long or how often should a person follow this diet?
You can follow this diet every three months (which accounts to approximately four times in a year). In order to reap its health benefits, you can start this diet at the junction of seasons, like when summer changes into the monsoon season. This is because when the climate changes, your body and diet experience a lot of changes, which in turn is prevents build-up of toxins.