With today's hectic lifestyles, the temptation for that odd glass of alcohol or convenience food is ever present, but we all know these desires can take their toll on our bodies. Although our kidneys and livers help us remove the toxins from our bloodstream, sometimes a helping hand is just what we need.
Do teas that are designed to provide a detoxifying or cleansing effect are very popular at the moment actually work? What benefits might they provide over other drinks that make no such claims?
'Detoxing' has become very popular over the last few years, with many different health treatments offering the promise of a 'new you' through systematic detoxification of the body. Perhaps as a by-product of our increased exposure to unhealthy food and drinks, not to mention our 'polluted' city environments and often stressful working lives, our attention has turned to finding new ways of reversing the damage that these facts of modern life expose us to.
As the name might suggest, detoxing, or cleansing or more recently 'teatoxing', is a convenient way of helping the body to remove the build up of those unwanted toxins. Naturally, our body removes the toxins that build up in our systems through our liver, kidneys and skin, but we can easily make it harder for our bodies to do this without realising it, by overwhelming it with unhealthy food and drink. Couple this with a stressful job and other lifestyle factors, and it can quickly become a vicious cycle of excess toxin exposure and reduced time to allow our bodies to combat this.
To answer this question it helps to take a look at what toxins might build up in our bodies and why. If we leave environmental toxins for another blog and focus on those toxins that we might consume through our food and drink, then there are undoubtedly some that we are all familiar with.
Excess caffeine is something millions of us are guilty of: needing those strong coffees just to get us going in the morning. However what can start as a much needed morning pick me up, can very rapidly become a necessary just to function. As your body becomes more tolerant to the stimulating effects of the caffeine, it also results in a reduction in the bodies natural wake up cycle. Over time this can result in more and more caffeine being consumed just to 'feel' alert. Simply replacing your highly caffeinated drink with one with a much lower level of caffeine or even none at all, will help reduce your caffeine intake to manageable levels. Of course you should still enjoy a great coffee now and then, but we recommend making it an occasion instead of the only drink you consume in the morning!
Alcohol has many health consequences when consumed to excess, but even at small levels, alcohol places a strain on the body. Our liver is the organ responsible to removing the byproducts of alcohol from our body, by filtering our blood, but toxic by products like are released as the liver breaks the alcohol down, which can result in damage to the liver and ultimately other organs. Replacing those excess alcoholic drinks with a detoxifying tea drink can have rapid benefits, not only by reducing the amount of alcohol being consumed, but also by boosting water intake and providing the body with beneficial herbs, which may promote healing and assist removal of unwanted toxins in the bloodstream.
As the term might suggest, processed food is the term used for any foods that have been altered in some way from their natural form. Processed foods are with us in every type of food imaginable, but inevitably this can result in a slow and steady consumption of unwanted chemicals and substances. Many processed foods, particularly snacks, treats, and other 'naughty' foods involve ingredients and additives that whilst they might make the food tasty or look good, they have little or no nutritional value outside of providing our body with too many calories. Colours, preservatives, fillers, or bulking agents, homogenisers, stabilisers, emulsifiers, flavour enhances, sweeteners....the list goes on. Although these ingredients might not be directly harmful to our health, our understanding of their effects (especially long term) is not fully understood. The substitution of the natural and healthy parts of the core foodstuffs such as the fibre, complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals however, for refined, bleached, and processed foods combined with such readily available additives inevitably leads to a digestive system clogged with unhealthy matter. Detoxing or cleansing teas can be a vital ally in removing this unwanted waste, by getting your gut moving again and putting it back on the path to health.
Products that aim to give our bodies a helping hand, such as detoxifying or cleansing teas are based on two principals; one, reduction of toxins entering the body, and two, promotion of toxin elimination. Exactly how they affect us depends somewhat on their ingredients and how and when we drink them. We will take a look at how and when a little later in our blog, but in terms of ingredients, detox or cleansing teas predominantly utilise key herbs that are traditionally known to aid organ and digestive health, in effect helping the body to help itself. Another key factor of some detox or cleansing teas is the use of laxatives. These aim to assist in the removal of toxic waste stuck in the digestive system allowing your body to flush unwanted chemicals and waste products out.
This is rather a controversial question, as teas containing laxatives are seen by some as a gimmick designed to make people think they are losing weight, simply by making them go to the toilet regularly. This can of course increase loss of water and inhibit absorption of excess calories if taken excessively and should be avoided (unless there is a medical reason in which to do so). Some people can experience some side effects, such as cramping and localised pain, and should these symptoms occur, which can happen if you are unusually sensitive to some of the ingredients, then we would recommend you either use your tea more sparingly or very intermittently at most.
Teas containing laxatives however, are not without their merits. As we discussed earlier in this blog, many of todays foods can be highly processed and calorie dense, and it can be extremely easy for any individual to end up on a diet low in fibre. This usually leads to constipation, discomfort, bloating and localised pain which at the start of a new healthier lifestyle, can benefit from a short term mild laxative to get things moving.
As with all things, however these things need to be taken with care. Here at Begu we recommend our system cleanse at the beginning of your weight loss journey, as once someone is eating healthily, a fibre and nutrient rich diet, that should be all you need to keep our digestive system in tip top health. We have two system cleanse teas, one which contains a natural senna leaf which is mild and gentle. We would always recommend drinking a cup every other day to start with and then adjusting as you need to over the initial few weeks, until you have had time to fully adopt a healthier and more nutritious diet.
As with any attempt to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, it depends on the effort you put in and also what your starting point is, as many people fail to realise that losing weight gets harder the less you have to lose. Most diets (or change of diets) result in a loss of weight initially. Many fad or crash diets promote loss of water weight initially followed by some fat loss due to the large drop in calories. Although these can see fast results, they are typically unsustainable due to the unpleasantness or monotony of the foods you may have to consume and the difficulty to stick to them in normal daily life. If you can change your lifestyle to that of a healthier, calorie balanced diet, including healthy detox teas and exercise, then really the sky is the limit, however this weight loss needs to be steady and healthy. The NHS recommends around 2 pounds a week as a healthy amount, and you should typically expect to see around that amount if not a little more depending on the amount of effort you put in.
As we suggest above, this can depend on your current lifestyle and what point you are starting from. If you eat healthily (ish) already, exercise and just want to lose the last few pounds, then the chances of you losing weight are less (which is why they can get such mixed reviews). If you are looking to lose quite a lot of weight and generally have do not have a very healthy diet, then it could really benefit you initially while you get used to your healthier lifestyle.
One area many people can see a benefit however is in reduction of abdominal discomfort such as bloating, cramps, localised pain, as many cleanse teas help to smooth gastrointestinal transit. These symptoms can affect anyone no matter how fit you are and can be a great benefit for some. Like all things (and why the begu approach is different) it can really depend on your personal circumstances and what you want from it.
The good news is that really you should only need to detox once! Of course there may be those occasions where we let our hair down a little...holiday with friends, the Christmas holiday...so sometime a little boost can do no harm. But in normal day to day life, we would not expect our customers to be cleansing or detoxing every day. At begu we have developed a range of teas to help you at other times of the day and to keep you on track with your lifestyle changes.
At begu we recommend drinking our system cleanse after your day at work, but it can be down to personal preference and convenience, as there is no evidence to suggest time of day has a significant impact. Due to the mild laxative effects we would always recommend you start your system cleanse every alternate day first. If your digestion is very sluggish and constipated then it can take a little while to see any effects.
Generally if you are regular and have no issues with constipation, abdominal discomfort, or bloating, then we would recommend you contact us, as not everyone will need a system cleanse or you could try our senna free version if you prefer. If you are used to a 'bad diet' then switching over to a much healthier lifestyle can take a little while to master. It takes preparation and perseverance until leading a healthier lifestyle becomes the norm.
All our system cleanse packs come with 14 tea bags, which is plenty when taken on alternate days, or less or more depending on your sensitivity. We would not anticipate the need for gentle cleansing for more than 4 weeks, as you should have switched to a healthier diet by then.
Eating healthy balanced meals which contain natural fibres is the cornerstone of maintaining a clean healthy and toxin reduced body.
Our 12 week lifestyle plans are specifically designed to give you all the tools you need to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We offer a full range of healthy teas, that not only kick start your day but tackle the challenges you face during the daytime, making it even easier to maintain your new healthy lifestyle, so if you decide our system cleanse is not for you or you know that you are sensitive to some of the laxative ingredients, our targeted teas, nutritional database and online fitness videos can be your perfect partner.
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