Detox diets and New Year’s Resolutions

Have you been overindulging over the past few weeks? Are you feeling overweight and unhealthy? Are you looking for a diet or regime to rejuvenate yourself and magically transform you? At this time of year it’s common to feel like this and to make New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight or eat better.

There are lots of detox diets available that make all sorts of promises, including restarting your metabolism and get you onto the right track. You can even do some in just 1 day! Detox diets usually involve avoiding toxins and often eliminate large groups of food such as dairy or wheat or just drinking juice for a week. They can be very restrictive indeed.

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Detox diets may be effective for losing weight in the short term, this is due to the restrictive aspect and also because you are highly motivated to follow a diet such as this for a short amount of time. However they are not sustainable, as soon as you eat normally again any weight lost will be regained.

There are obviously benefits to increasing your fluid, fruit and vegetable intake, but it may lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating or diarrhoea if you are not used to as much fibre. Increasing fruit and vegetables for a short time will not improve your long term health. Unfortunately therefore detox diets aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As well as the questionable health benefits they can be expensive and may even make you feel ill.

So, what can you do to improve your health and make you feel better? How can you “rejuvenate” yourself for the New Year?

I do have very good news, you already have the answer within you. Your liver has already been working hard over the past two weeks (some harder than others!). The liver is the second largest organ in the body and as well as many other functions filters your blood, breaks down nutrients and removes toxins such as alcohol. This is also known as detoxing. It also helps prevent you catching colds as it is an important part of the body’s immune system

Image result for liver

Here are my 5 suggested New Years Resolutions which are simple and sustainable to improve your long term health and help your liver function in order to aid detoxification:

1. Drink alcohol in moderation

Government recommendations are 2-3 units per day for women and 3-4 per day for men. Total units should not exceed 14 units per week. For more advice on alcohol click here.

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2. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption

Aim for at least 5 portions a day but ideally 7. Don’t forget that canned and frozen count. See the NHS Livewell website for more information.Image result for fruit and veg portions

3. Increase your intake of prebiotics and probiotics

There is an increasingly convincing body of evidence which points to the importance of a healthy microbiome (the bacterial environment within your gut). Gut bacteria affects your whole body including the brain and can help. For more information on probiotics click here.

4. Eat mindfully

If you can be conscious of what you put in your mouth you can be in charge of your calorie intake. That may sound like a very obvious statement, however removing mindless eating and emotions from what you eat is very difficult to master. For more information and a guide to mindful eating see my previous blog post.

5. Increase your physical activity

OK so you may think this is outside my remit but exercise is so important to improve your health. There are so many benefits, see the NHS Choices website for more information.

So, good luck this New Year, I hope the tips have helped. If you need more help then feel free to contact me and I can try and help.

If you would like a free 1 week low calorie meal plan this New Year then just request your free copy below.

References: http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepc-guide/liver-function-test-lft#1 http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/liver-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx                                                                Images: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-detox-diet http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_disease/page3.htm                                    https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcoholic-drinks-units/what-is-an-alcohol-unit/
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