Every year, millions of people begin detoxes and cleanses for various reasons. The detox products industry is projected to reach $75 billion by 2026. The term “detox” implies a shorter-term solution and quick results and can be sold as herbs, pills, teas, and juice cleanses. 

Cassandra Golden, RD joined Gayle Guyardo the host of the nationally syndicated health and wellness show Bloom with a new spin on cleanses.

Here are tips from Cassandra:

The Don’t of Detoxes:

The first issue with spending money on detox products is that our bodies naturally detox. Many people don’t realize this. Every day, your digestive tract, liver, kidneys and skin break down toxins and eliminate them through your urine, stool and sweat.

The second major issue with detoxes and cleanses is that most of them have very strict and unsustainable rules to follow that don’t teach us how to change our behaviors long-term.

And finally, opting into an extreme detox plan can trigger a binge immediately after the detox timeframe ends, and it’s usually on those same foods we just worked so hard to cut out.

The Do’s of Detoxes:

2.)   A very common goal for starting a detox is to reduce systemic, chronic inflammation. It’s important to note that inflammation is an important part of the body’s immune response. However, when inflammation continues to the point of chronic inflammation, the risk for several major health issues arises.

There is growing evidence to show one of the best ways to reduce inflammation is by choosing more anti-inflammatory foods and less of the pro-inflammatory foods. This means consuming less added sugar, less alcohol and caffeine, less processed meats, and less refined carbs. The standard American diet is abundant in all of these ingredients and therefore, cutting back for good can certainly be a beneficial detox.

3.)   Gravitating toward an anti-inflammatory diet can begin with small sustainable changes that you can make part of your daily life. The goal here is slow and steady, rather than quick and unsustainable.

What is the first step?

Use the Visual Portion Plate:

Step #1: Aim to have half of each meal or snack come from fruits and/or veggies.

Fruits and veggies naturally contain antioxidants and phytonutrients, have been shown in research to help protect against inflammation. The goal is to look down at your meal and see vibrant, beautiful colors, since the colors are what represent various antioxidants and nutrients.

Vitamin C is a vitamin that doubles as an antioxidant, which has been proven to be effective in minimizing inflammation and maintaining healthy joints. Sources include oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, chili peppers broccoli and Brussel sprouts.

Green leafy veggies are high in vitamin K, and have been shown to dramatically reduce inflammatory markers in the blood. These include broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale and cabbage.

Use the Visual Portion Plate:

Step #2: A major component of the anti-inflammatory diet is to eat lots of fiber! At least 25 to 30g of fiber a day. Research tells us that most people in this country are not coming close to this goal. Fruits and veggies certainly help with reaching this goal, but so can choosing whole grains instead of refined grains. 

Refined grains have been processed, which removes many nutrients and fiber. Examples of refined grains include white flour, sugar and white rice are missing the beneficial B vitamins and other important nutrients, like fiber.  Instead, I choose unrefined whole grains to retain these vital nutrients that are rich in fiber.

Examples of whole grains include

•  Quinoa, Brown rice, Oatmeal

•  Barley, Buckwheat, Bulgur (cracked wheat), Farro, Millet

•  Popcorn

•  Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers

Use the Visual Portion Plate:

Step #3: In the protein section of the portion plate, the goal is to choose lean sources of protein rather than processed meats.

Why? Processed meats are characteristically cured and/or smoked, which is thought to be the main reason for the potential inflammation concerns. Choose more lean cuts of meat and fish that are not fried. Plant based proteins also have the additional benefit of fiber, such as beans, peas, nuts, seeds, tempeh, and edamame.

Use the spice models:

Step #4: To flavor your food, the goal is to use less salt and more herbs and spices! Curcumin (the active ingredient turmeric), cinnamon, garlic, cayenne, and oregano have been linked with reducing inflammation in developing research. 

*Avoid turmeric/curcumin if you take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), if you are about to have surgery or if you have gallbladder conditions.

Use the drink models:

Step #4: Your drink choice matters! Several studies have linked high intakes of refined sugars, especially from sugary drinks, with chronic inflammation.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 25g to 35g a day.

•  To put this in perspective, a 20 oz bottle of Coke provides 65g of sugar.

•  A 19-ounce bottle of Pure Leaf sweet tea provides 42g of added sugar.

•  A can of red bull provides 27g of sugar.

•  A 15 ounce bottle of cranberry juice provides about 44g of added sugar.

Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas for water, unsweetened seltzer or flavored sparkling water, unsweetened green tea, or create-your-own fruit-infused water.

Final thought: Allow yourself patients and grace – the goal isn’t perfection, it’s slow and steady progress. Choose to focus on one step at a time rather than trying to change everything all at once.

You can watch Bloom in the Tampa Bay Market weekdays at 2pm on WFLA News Channel 8.

Bloom is now part of DBTV Network Seen In Over 300 Million Households worldwide, including Roku TV, and Amazon Fire.

Bloom also airs in 40 markets across the country, with a reach of approximately 36 million households, and in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Madison, WI.