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Ayurvedic detox diet -- a step-by-step guide to cleanse your body

Ayurvedic detox diet -- a step-by-step guide to cleanse your body

An expert guides you through the process of detoxifying your body the Ayurveda way.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : November 5, 2015 11:43 AM IST

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 ofLiving, 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.

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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 orpitta 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 aama 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.
  • A general detox diet is very safe and anyone can follow it, except for diabetics who should consult their doctor. Get to know a few basics about a healthy diabetic diet before staring one, if you are a diabetic.
  • 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.

Are there any after course precautions one should take?

Yes, there are few things you need to focus on. It is always a good idea to slowly go back to your old diet after ten days. It makes sense to follow and stick to a healthy diet pattern throughout. But if you cannot, then wait for another session of detox to flush toxins from the body. The rule of thumb while choosing healthy foods is to pick those foods that the body can absorb and digest. When you plan your meals, have foods which are local, seasonal, natural, freshly-cooked and organic. Here is the list of best vegetables to detox your body.

India is a country where we have fresh produce throughout the year; we do not have to rely on imported or tinned/canned foods. Also, our bodies are not made to absorb nutrients from such foods as it leads to an accumulation of undigested toxins. Flash freezing, canning, curing, etc -- all process that are used to preserve foods -- change the very composition of the food and its internal nutrients.

What are the benefits of this diet?

This type of diet is great to rebalance your body. It improves digestion, helps you sleep better, improves your skin tone and enhances your energy levels.

If you suffer from a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension, there may be times when the diet may lead to what is known as a healing crisis (where the method might cause more harm than good). If this happens, you can go back to your normal diet and consult your doctor for a better suited plan. In such cases, it is always better to follow such plans under the guidance of a professional. Read about 8 foods that help you detox naturally!

When do you need a detox?

The clear signs that you have accumulation of toxins and thus, need a detox are, when you experience

In Ayurveda, a person s naadi or pulse is a good indicator of these toxins. It tells the practitioner exactly where the toxin is built up and which organ would be affected by it. It is also a great way to predict any future health problems you might suffer from. Did you know about this DIY detox bath salt and body scrub?

Tips on healthy living with the ayurvedic way of life

Three factors contribute to healthy living namely diet, a healthy lifestyle and state of mind.

#1 Diet

What we eat plays a major role in our state of health. That is why eating local, seasonal, freshly-cooked natural and organic food gains so important. Your body can easily digest such food, as it is lighter on the digestive system. Appropriate nutrient intake also plays a role in living a healthy life. Here's the exact amount of nutrients you need to live a healthy life.

#2 Lifestyle

Nature has a rhythm i;e the day is attributed for physical activity while during night you should take rest. The body-clock or bio-clock follows the sun and knows when it should be active and when it should rest. Another important fact is that the body acquires nourishment, when it is in the active state. These nutrients are in turn used in the night to detox, especially liver and gall-bladder. However, the detoxification is not activated when you are not in deep sleep.

Hence, it is very important to live in accordance with the body-clock. (This aspect is so important that it forms a huge topic in Ayurvedic medical literature, known as Dinacharya ) However, it your career disallows from following your body-clock, you can get some help from professional guidance so as to compensate for the alteration in your lifestyle. You may also like to read about 10 stunning things surya namaskar does to your body.

#3 State of the Mind

Ayurveda believes in the mind-body connection and thus, states that this is very crucial to live a healthy life. If your mind is not at rest, you tend to be more irritable and thus get upset quickly. When you get upset or angry, your body temperature increases while it decreases when you are sad. However, maintaining a constant body temperature is important for a healthy state of mind and body.

When such drastic change in temperature happens throughout the day, the body is undergoing constant physical alterations. Therefore, it is important to know how to handle the mind since it has major negative impact on your body. Yoga and meditation can teach you how to handle the mind better. These techniques help you gain control over your energy level and in turn, help you to deal with your mental and emotional levels. If you have never done meditation before, here's a 10-step meditation guide for you that might help.

Content courtesy: artofliving/yoga

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