Do detox drinks exist? Can certain ingredients help expel toxins from the body? Today most detoxes are just a fad and complicated. Detoxification is a process that our amazing bodies are already capable of through their five eliminatory organs – skin, lungs, kidney, liver, and colon. However if even one of them is dysfunctional due to wrong lifestyle choices or a toxin overload, we could open the gates to sickness, inflammation, body pains, hormonal issues, body weight gain, and skin issues. Go back 20-30 years, the word 'detox' was unheard of and our parents didn’t have to take separate measures to detox their bodies. The superpower that made our magnificent body, also made the body clean it.
So, what happens when any one of our detox organs gets clogged up?
- If our lungs can’t expel carbon dioxide, we fall sick. We may have breathlessness, low energy levels, and palpitations.
- If our liver can’t deal with the burden of toxins, it slows down. We may have toxicity, fat gain, experience sluggishness, and fatigue.
- If our kidneys aren’t able to filter out the toxins, we may have an electrolyte imbalance, uric acid issues, creatinine levels rise, and we have more toxicity in our system.
- If our bowels are clogged due to constipation, we keep toxic wastes in our system longer than required, which means gut issues, flatulence, migraines, low immunity, estrogen dominance, and poor mental health.
- If our skin can’t detox the right way and is unclean or too clean, it loses out on its mechanism to detox through its pores and sweat (which by the way is a form of detox!).
This is when you might benefit from the assistance of certain foods, or practices like breathing, or yoga asanas, or kriyas to help them perform what they are supposed to. So, detox drinks do play a role and yes, they are beneficial but only with a parallel change in lifestyle.
What are some of the signs that you may need to detox?
Falling hair, low energy, feeling dull and sluggish, stubborn belly fat, dull skin, brain fog, skin pigmentation, heaviness, slow digestion are some of the ways our body tries to communicate that it needs a break.
If you are looking for a detox, here are some drinks that you could make a home. Not only do they own cooling properties considering we are right in the middle of the summer season but are also cleansing in nature. They are inexpensive and don’t require you to spend money or travel to exotic locations, although there is nothing wrong with that because sometimes the best detox you get when you visit these fancy locations is a brain detox because you are cut away from stress and surrounded by nature.
Let’s go over the top 4 traditional summer coolers that can also cleanse our body:
1. Sabja seeds in water
Simple, yet effective. While clean water is anyway the simplest way to purge toxins out of your body, sabja seeds add to its detoxification powers. Sabja are tiny little seeds, also called as falooda, seeds and are amazing summer superfoods. They have a cooling effect on the human body and are effective when it comes to acidity. Acidity is generally a symptom of an unhealthy gut and our gut plays a crucial role in detoxification. These seeds also help ease bowel movements in case of constipation, which again is a powerful and natural way to detox.
The seeds can be simply added to water and left for 20-30 mins, so they swell up. To this one could add slices of lemon and a few crushed mint leaves. In fact, there is a reason why lemon exists in most detox plans. Lemon is a superfood when it comes to cleansing the liver.
Jaljeera essentially includes water and cumin and is an extremely cooling and refreshing drink. It is traditionally made in a matka (mud clay pot), which makes this water concoction more alkaline in nature. It is made with roasted cumin powder, ginger powder, coriander leaves, mint leaves, dried mango powder, all of which are commonly found in Indian kitchens and are great in dealing with gut issues like indigestion, gas, bloating, flatulence that often arise when our gut can’t do its job of detoxification. Coriander leaves too are amazing for a kidney detox and are often recommended in kidney cleanse plans.
This simple drink helps in stimulating digestive enzymes, thus improving digestion. Jaljeera also helps in reducing bloating and flatulence. Adding in mint can help cool the stomach. This drink is also beneficial for people with anaemia, as jeera is a rich source of iron. Jaljeera is also great for keeping you hydrated which is key when it comes to detoxification.
3. Aam Panna
Unripe mangoes, the main ingredient for aam panna, is a storehouse of Vitamin C, Vitamin B, some amount of Vitamin A, and a good number of bioactive polyphenols which help during inflammation and in expelling toxins. The major polyphenols in the raw mango are mangiferin, catechins, quercetin that work as antioxidants, a property that enables them to protect human cells against damage due to oxidative stress leading to inflammation, DNA damage, and many degenerative diseases. Raw mango also has ellagic acid which has been found to exhibit antiviral, antioxidant properties and stimulate the activities of detoxifying enzymes, which play a key role in detoxification. Furthermore, it has the capacity to cleanse the liver and promote the secretion of bile juices.
Want to take your detox a step further? Use water stored in earthen pots. Mud is naturally cooling and alkaline in nature and serves so much better than water that is artificially cooled in the refrigerator.
This is the power and simplicity of sticking to our traditional wisdom.
Note: Please keep your healthcare professional in the loop before adding any new food, especially if you have a medical condition. Do not consume a particular food if it doesn’t suit you.
Luke Coutinho is a holistic lifestyle coach - integrative and lifestyle medicine, and the founder of YouCare - All about YOU by Luke Coutinho.