Cleansing the body periodically is one of the tenets of natural health. The purpose of cleansing is to assist the body in eliminating harmful toxins which helps the body run more effectively and efficiently which translates to better health. As adults, 80% of our energy goes towards eliminating byproducts of normal metabolism from our bodies. Our bodies are actually very good at eliminating things that we don’t need; however, our modern diets with lots of refined and processed foods tend overwhelm our bodies and clog not just our arteries, but our livers, colons, lymph system and kidneys as well.
From a naturopathic perspective, most problems with health arise either from deficiency or congestion. Congestion involves both overconsumption and reduced eliminative function. Many of our acute and chronic diseases result from clogged tissues, suffocated cells, and subsequent loss of vital energy. Frequent colds and flu’s, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and allergies are all consequences of congestive disorders.
Congestion occurs when we eat and/or drink more than our bodies can utilize and eliminate. I am not just referring to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. The standard American diet includes many foods that tend to be congesting such as fats, heavy meats, dairy products, refined foods and chemicals such as artificial sweeteners, preservatives, stabilizers, flavor enhancers, etc.
Congestion isn’t just the result of wrong foods and portions. Many of our habits interfere with digestion, overloading the body with food that cannot be metabolized and increasing our chances of toxicity or congestive overload. Things that interfere with digestion include inadequate chewing, eating too fast, drinking too much liquid with meals and eating when stressed. Another cause of poor digestion is drugs that lower production of stomach acid. Internal cleansing is the antidote to congestion. Cleaning our internal organs allows our body to eliminate what it doesn’t need and what it is too congested to eliminate without help. A clean body has more energy, sleeps better, thinks more clearly, digests and assimilates food efficiently, and has fewer health problems.
There are many methods of cleansing. One of the oldest is fasting. Herbal cleansing is another popular method. There many products available today that contain herbs for all of the major channels of elimination. I recommend cleaning the body at least twice per year. If you haven’t ever done an internal cleanse, try one. Your body will thank you.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.