In our modern day-to-day lives, sometimes we are so busy that we do not have time to prepare our own healthy and nutritious meals. Instead, many people choose the convenience of ordering unhealthy fast food as a quick solution for meals for themselves and their families. Besides food from the fast food restaurants, other quick-fix solutions for meals include ready-to-eat frozen meals and highly processed food.
However, these foods usually go through a lot of processing in the factory to ensure they have an extended shelf life, which entails adding a lot of additives and chemicals. Therefore, these chemicals can build up over time in our bodies. Moreover, eating processed food constantly can lead to weight gain as well.
So what can we do to purge these chemicals and impurities from our bodies and regulate our weight? One of the things we can do is have a body detox once in a while, such as a 3-day detox, when we consume mainly water, fresh fruits and vegetables, their juices, and herbal teas. Besides that, you can add some wholesome protein too.
Some people consume only liquids like water and juices during their 3-day detox, but you do not need to be so extreme, because some people will experience great discomfort if they do not eat solid food for 3 days. You can opt for a less extreme form of 3-day detox that everybody can do. The emphasis will be on consuming wholesome natural foods, as well as water and beverages that are low in calories, salt, sugar and oil.
According to the the Bronfenbrenner Centre for Translational Research, scientific literature shows no evidence that popular detox diets and fad diets are effective. In fact, they fail to provide enough calories and nutrients, which is harmful for the body. So, please exercise your good judgement and be sensible in making choices when it comes to detox diets. For those with illnesses, please consult a doctor before starting any detox programmes.
Here are some suggestions to incorporate into your 3-day detox:
I. Drink enough water
The body is made up of a lot of water. According to a 2010 study, water comprises from 75% body weight in infants to 55% in elderly and is essential for a healthy life. So make sure you drink enough water to help optimise your body’s processes and flush out any accummulated toxins and impurities.
Drinking enough water will help you to regulate your weight and aid you on your weight loss journey. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), how much water you need to drink depends on if you are sedentary or active, your work load and the amount of heat stress you endure. For example, people who work in physically demanding jobs and in hot conditions will need to drink more water, while people who work in sedentary jobs in air-conditioned offices will need less water. If you are not sure how to calculate how much water you need to drink every day to fulfill your water requirements and prevent dehydration, consult your doctor or a registered dietician/nutritionist.
II. Drink juices and herbal tea without added sugar
Besides water, you can drink fruit and vegetable juices. It is best to blend your own juices and not buy these juices from the shops or supermarkets, as juices from cartons are frequently processed with a lot of added sugar and preservatives. Some people like to kickstart their day with a healthy fruit and vegetable smoothie to get a good dose of vitamins and antioxidants. If you find that you enjoy it, you can consider making one every day for your long-term well-being.
Some herbal teas are beneficial for detox and weight loss, such as cinnamon tea. In a 2020 study, it was found that cinnamon supplementation significantly affects obesity measures, and could be recommended as a weight-reducing supplement in obesity management. The same study noted that greater effects on body weight were observed in subjects above 50 years old and those with a baseline BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more (obese). If you would like to drink some cinnamon tea, Rhymba Hills® has a Rhymba Hills® Ceylon Cinnamon Blend that you can try.
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III. Eat more vegetables and fruits
Eating adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables has been found to contribute to reduced risk of chronic diseases and better body weight management. The World Health Organisation and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations reports recommend adults to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day excluding starchy vegetables.
In a 2015 study, it was stated that fruits and vegetables are essential because of their high concentrations of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
IV. Eat healthy protein
According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, eating healthy protein sources like beans, nuts, fish, or poultry instead of red meat and processed meat can lower the risk of several diseases and premature death. You can get a lot of healthy protein from plant sources, such as legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds and wholegrains, as can be seen in the following table.
Table 1: Healthy proteins from plants
|Legumes||Lentils, beans (adzuki, black, fava, chickpeas/garbanzo, kidney, lima, mung, pinto etc.), peas (green, snow, snap, split, etc.), edamame/soybeans (and products made from soy: tofu, tempeh, etc.), peanuts.|
|Nuts and Seeds||Almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, hemp seeds, squash and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds.|
|Whole Grains||Kamut, teff, wheat, quinoa, rice, wild rice, millet, oats, buckwheat, etc.|
|Others||Many vegetables and fruits contain some level of protein, but in smaller amounts than the other plant-based foods. Examples with higher protein quantities – corn, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts and artichokes.|
(Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
V. Reducing carbohydrates
Reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed can aid in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. According to a 2018 study, a low carbohydrate diet could increase energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance, and this metabolic effect could improve the effectiveness of obesity treatment, especially among those with high insulin secretion.
VI. Cooking methods
You do not need to eat and drink only raw vegetables and fruits during your 3-day detox. However, it is important to note that cooking method is a deciding factor to ensure you have healthy meals. Boiling, steaming, baking, broiling, and light stir-frying using minimal oil, salt and sugar are good for you. Nowadays, using the air fryer is good too, because you do not need to use oil to cook your food, or only use a small amount.
VII. Read the labels
There are a lot of packaged foods and beverages in the market that are marketed as healthy, but are in fact not healthy at all. These include cereals, juices and snacks. This is because they contain a lot of added sugar. Check the labels to see the list of ingredients. The ingredients are listed starting from the largest amount to the smallest amount. If sugar appears as one of the first two items on the list, then you should ditch the product in favour of a healthier alternative. Sugar is also given other names, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave nectar, carob syrup, golden syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup and molasses. You should learn to identify them and make informed choices. Go for foods and drinks that have labels that say ‘no added sugar’, but you must still check the ingredient list.
Designing Your Own 3-Day Detox Programme
In a nutshell, you can design your own 3-day detox, with adequate water, lots of fruits and vegetables and healthy protein, cooked in a healthy way. To reduce your calorie intake to manage your weight, you can reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume. If you feel good after 3 days, why not extend this healthy eating plan to a week-long or month-long programme?
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Bronfenbrenner Centre for Translational Research. 2021. The Evidence on Detox Diets. Psychology Today. [online] Available at <https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evidence-based-living/202103/the-evidence-detox-diets> [Accessed on 12 Oct 2021]
Cara B Ebbeling, Henry A Feldman, Gloria L Klein, Julia M W Wong, Lisa Bielak, Sarah K Steltz, Patricia K Luoto, Robert R Wolfe, William W Wong, David S Ludwig. Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial. British Medical Journal. 2018; 363. [online] Available at <https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583> [Accessed on 12 Oct 2021]
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. N.d. Protein. [online] Available at <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/> [Accessed on 12 Oct 2021]
Mousavi SM, Rahmani J, Kord-Varkaneh H, Sheikhi A, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Cinnamon supplementation positively affects obesity: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. 2020 Jan; 39(1): 123-133. [online] Available at <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30799194/> [Accessed on 12 Oct 2021]
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