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Detox Diet

Learn how to go on a 7-day detox diet

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Updated March 13, 2014

pomegranate detox diet Shana Novak/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The most common type of detox diet is a food-based detox. Many popular detox diets, such as the Clean Cleanse (popularized by Gwyneth Paltrow), are based on similar guidelines. Total food intake isn't restricted, but many foods are off-limits, such as dairy, wheat, gluten-containing foods, sugar, fried foods and processed foods. It also calls for plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and anti-inflammatory foods.

Take the Detox Diet Quiz

Before finding out more about what the diet entails, become familiar with the possible symptoms of toxicity by taking the Detox Screening Quiz.

What to Eat on the 7-Day Detox Diet

1) What to Eat Before the Diet: Certain foods and drinks, such as coffee and sugar, are typically phased out before starting the diet in order to avoid headaches and other reactions. Find out how to prepare for a detox.

2) Foods to Eat: Here is a list of foods to eat during a 7-day detox.

3) Foods to Avoid: A list of foods to exclude on a 7-day detox.

4) Sample Menu Plan: Although meals made from any of the allowed detox foods are okay, it helps to have a sample menu plan with ideas on what to make.

5) Top 20 Detox Foods: Want to know what some of the star players of the diet are? Find out our top 20 detox foods and get tips on how to use them.

The 7-day food-based detox diet is designed for a newbie, for someone who wants to do a longer cleanse (7 to 21 days), for people who aren't able to go on a more restrictive diet due to time or work constraints, or for people who are generally exhausted and require more protein in their diet (take the adrenal fatigue quiz). While the plan outlined here is for 7 days, it may be followed for up to 21 days.

There are many types of cleanses, from 3-day juice fasts to detoxes that allow three meals per day. While it may be tempting to make a drastic change by trying a fast, sometimes simple changes such as drinking more fluids, eating more vegetables, or eliminating wheat can have a profound effect on how we feel. The key is to choose the diet that best matches a person’s health, energy level, and lifestyle.

Other Steps to a Detox Diet Plan

Diet is just one component of any well-designed cleanse. In addition with an eating plan, there are other important steps:

1) Enhance Circulation: A lack of physical activity can result in poor circulation of blood and lymph fluid, which can have a negative effect on health and impair detoxification and immune function. The best way to get blood flowing is to exercise. Contrast showers and dry skin brushing are also great because they can be integrated into your regular shower.

2) Promote Elimination: When toxins that are stored in our cells are mobilized, they travel to our blood and must be eliminated from the body through feces, urine, or sweat or they can be reabsorbed and recirculated in our systems. Sometimes our organs of elimination are sluggish because we don’t move (and therefore don’t sweat), are constipation, or don’t drink enough water. Ways to increase elimination include: foods that prevent constipation, herbal laxatives such as senna tea or cascara, increased fluid intake, colonics, or enemas.

3) Improve Digestion: Promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, so that it can keep potentially harmful bacteria in check, otherwise “bad” bacteria can produce toxins that damage the intestinal lining, are absorbed into the bloodstream, and injure cell membranes in the body. The cleanse can often provide the nutrients needed to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics can also be supplemented.

Most detox diets call for the removal of foods people are often sensitive to, such as wheat and gluten. A properly chosen diet supports the liver by providing it with protein, antioxidants, vitamin, and other nutrients so that it can detoxify efficiently. Supplements can also be taken, such as protein powder and vitamins, antioxidants, herbs for the liver, or detox teas.

4) Mind/Body Wellness: Stress can impair the body’s detoxification systems and lead to digestive ailments, impaired immunity, and have wide-ranging effects on health. A detox diet is a time not just to let the body heal, but to allow the mind to rest. Try to incorporate mind/body practices into your detox, such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation.

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Common Questions

Here are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about the diet.

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