by Dr. Will Cole
The idea of detoxing is everywhere. The wellness world is buzzing about why you need to cleanse your body along with hundreds of different ways to do so. From juice cleanses to Whole30 to sipping bone broth – there’s a detox out there that you are bound to love.
The world we live in just keeps getting more toxic. The question is not if you should do a detox; it’s when. So start listening to your body, and if you are experiencing any one of these, it’s a sign to start your detox method of choice.
1. You have an insatiable sweet tooth.
Constant cravings are a big sign that something is off. When processed foods are a staple in your diet it can put your blood sugar and leptin hormones on a roller-coaster ride which increases your cravings even more. When you detox you replace those junk foods with whole, clean food sources filled with hormone-balancing nutrients.
2. You are experiencing digestive distress.
This is one of the most obvious signs that you need a complete diet overhaul. Symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea are not only uncomfortable they are a major red flag that things are not functioning properly. A detox will give your gut a break and hit will hit the reset button on your digestive health.
3. Allergies are no longer “seasonal” and happen often.
Your sinuses are an extension of your digestive system. So it would make sense that if you have poor gut health your immunity is going to be weak as well.
4. You don’t feel healthy despite eating clean.
Detoxing can help those who already eat healthy too. Even the healthiest foods can aggravate and flare a person up. Doing an elimination diet can give your body a break and help you find exactly which foods cause you problems. A cleanse can also provide you with food medicines to help flush out toxins that build up over time and contribute to health problems.
5. You have skin problems.
Toxin buildup doesn’t do our skin any favors. Too many toxins can overload your liver (your body’s main detoxing organ) and create buildup. Since your skin also eliminates waste through sweating, all of those problems can appear on the surface in the form of acne and rashes.
6. You are always exhausted.
Being in a constant state of exhaustion is not normal. It’s adrenal fatigue. Toxin buildup, inflammation, microbiome imbalances, or stress can cause problems with your brain-adrenal communication which elevates your cortisol and leaves you always waiting for your next nap.
7. You aren’t as mentally sharp.
If you lack the ability to focus or struggle to remember various details on a regular basis, you’re dealing with brain fog. When your body can’t eliminate toxins fast enough, they build up and increase inflammation. This inflammation leads to damage to your protective blood-brain barrier, also known as “leaky brain.” A decrease in inflammation will relieve the oxidative stress in the hypothalamus of the brain. A detox will help you flush out all of those toxins.
8. Your joints are always sore.
Ongoing inflammation does a number on your joints and muscles. If you aren’t pushing yourself at the gym but are constantly sore and achy you most likely have chronic inflammation that needs to be addressed.
9. You’re constantly stressed.
Not all detoxes need to be food-based. In my functional medicine clinic, I see stress as a contributing factor to all types of health problems. Stress can act like a trigger for everything from depression to autoimmune conditions. A food based cleanse can be great to relieve physical symptoms of stress but detoxing from outside stimuli such as social media or toxic relationships as well can do wonders for your mental state.
10. Just the thought of a detox gives you anxiety.
When the idea of giving up certain foods makes you sad or anxious it’s a sign of an unhealthy emotional attachment to food. For some, food is used as reward or punishment rather than the healthy fuel your body needs to thrive. Detoxing can help you determine if your eating habits have emotional roots. If so, you can then take steps to change your relationship with what you eat.
11. You struggle to lose weight.
One of the first things I tell my patients is, “We need to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy.” Your microbiome contains a vast collection of bacteria. When you don’t have enough good bacteria, bad bacteria takes over and leads to inflammation and a slowed metabolism. Start healing your gut and your weight loss will be a by-product of optimal health.
12. Your hormones are out of whack.
Hormone problems can be anything from fatigue to weight-loss resistance to irregular periods. Each of these health problems can be traced back to chronic inflammation due to poor diet and toxins.
13. Your breath and BO aren’t so fresh.
You know that expression “You are what you eat”? Well, in this case, you reek what you eat. Since your body is always trying to eliminate toxins body odor is a sign that toxins have reached an overwhelming level. So put down the deodorant stick and pick up some green juice instead!
14. Your sleep patterns are off.
Underlying hormonal issues like adrenal fatigue and leptin resistance can lead to irregular circadian rhythms. By eliminating toxins and reducing inflammation you’ll be getting eight interrupted hours of shut eye before you know it.
15. You are anxious and depressed.
Depression and anxiety oftentimes stem from excessive inflammation. “Leaky brain” triggers an inflammatory-autoimmune response against your brain and nervous tissue. You may find that during a cleanse you begin to feel a sense of calm.
16. You often get cold sores.
About 90% of people have had a cold sore at least once in their life with 40% of people dealing with recurring flare-ups. We have the herpes simplex virus HSV-1 to blame for this. And don’t worry, this is different than the HSV-2 strain that causes genital herpes! The HSV-1 virus lays dormant most of the time waiting to strike. When your immune system is weak the virus is most likely to activate. A detox can help boost up your immune system.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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