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Which of the following is an antioxidant?
Vitamin E
Vitamin B

 Detoxification Programs: General Detoxification and Cleansing 

Many common acute and chronic illnesses may be alleviated by a program of detoxification/cleansing, as they are basically created by short- and long-term congestive patterns. People with addictions to any substance may benefit from a detox program, even if it is only the temporary avoidance of the addictive agent or agents. Withdrawal symptoms that commonly occur with many drugs, including sugar, caffeine, and over-the-counter medications, are precipitated by detoxification. Many of the poisons (toxins) that we ingest or make are stored in the fatty tissues. Obesity is almost always associated with toxicity. When we lose weight, we reduce our fat and thereby our toxic load. However, during weight loss we release more toxins, and thus need protection through greater intake of water, fiber, and the antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene, selenium, and zinc. With exercise we can also turn fat into muscle (not literally) and help further detoxification.

Acne Obesity Prostate disease
Abscesses Infections by: Menstrual problems
Boils Bacteria Vaginitis
Eczema Virus Varicose veins
Allergies Fungus Diabetes
Arthritis Parasites Peptic ulcers
Asthma Worms Gastritis
Constipation Uterine fibroid tumors Pancreatitis
Colitis Cancer Mental illness
Hemorrhoids Cataracts Multiple sclerosis
Diverticulitis Colds Alzheimerís disease
Cirrhosis Bronchitis Senility
Hepatitis Pneumonia Parkinsonís disease
Fibrocystic breast disease Sinusitis Drug addiction
Atherosclerosis Emphysema Tension headaches
Heart disease Kidney stones Migraine headaches
Hypertension Kidney disease Gallstones
Thrombophlebitis Stroke Gout

Of course, not all of these problems are solely problems of toxicity or completely cured by detoxification. Most of these diseases, and the majority of those factors, have to do with abuses, especially on a nutritional level. Often, these problems, many of which are discussed in other sections of this book, are alleviated by eliminating the related toxins and following this detox program.

What Is Detoxification?
Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body or neutralizing or transforming them, and clearing excess mucus and congestion. Many of these toxins come from our diet, drug use, and environmental exposure, both acute and chronic. Internally, fats, especially oxidized fats and cholesterol, free radicals, and other irritating molecules act as toxins. Functionally, poor digestion, colon sluggishness and dysfunction, reduced liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, respiratory tract, and skin all add to increased toxicity.

Detoxification involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce intake of toxins and improve elimination. Avoidance of chemicals, from food or other sources, refined food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and many drugs helps minimize the toxin load. Drinking extra water (purified) and increasing fiber by including more fruits and vegetables in the diet are steps in the detoxification process. Moving from a more to a less congesting diet, as shown in the accompanying table, will help us to move along the detox road.

Most Congesting Least Congesting
drugs fats sweets nuts rice roots fruits
allergenic foods fried foods milk seeds millet squashes greens
refined flours eggs beans buckwheat other vegetables herbs
organ meats baked goods oats pasta water
hydrogenated fats meats wheat potatoes
More Potentially ToxicMore Detoxifying

Detoxification therapy, as fasting, is the oldest treatment known to humans and is a completely natural process; and in many cases, as we listen to our inner guidance as animals do, we may apply this process to many illnesses and states of health and life. Many authorities claim the detox process helps clear wastes and old or dead cells and revitalizes the bodyís natural functions and healing capacities. Of the thousands of people that I know who have used cleansing programs, the vast majority have experienced positive and incredible results. As I said, I believe that fasting/cleansing/detoxification is the missing link in Western nutrition, and if we used this process more in our daily lives and our medical system, we could heal and prevent a great deal of disease. Now is the time for all of us in the world to listen--and to clean and clear our bodies, homes, offices, our relationships, towns, cities, countries and the entire planet, lest we perish from toxicity.

When Is the Best Time to Cleanse / Detoxify?
We need to incorporate natureís cycles with our own cycles. We may notice regular periods of congestion, and we may reduce or prevent these by following a more detoxifying program. Whenever we feel congested, our first step is to follow detox procedures, many of which we can fine-tune in time with our experience of what works for us. I have found personally that if I start to feel congestion or a cold coming on, then I can exercise and sweat, sauna or steam, drink loads of fluids, take vitamins C and A, and get a good nightís sleep without eating much--and almost every time I will wake up healed! If I feel my bowels are backed up, I will usually take some herbs to stimulate them.

Each of us has a natural cleansing time when our body wants a lighter diet, more liquids, and greater elimination than intake. This occurs daily, usually in the night until midmorning; it may occur weekly but more commonly for a few days a month. Women, in particular, are aware of this natural cleansing time with their female cycle. In fact, many women do much better premenstrually and during their periods if they follow a cleansing program--more juices, greens, lighter foods, herbs, and so on--in the week before their menstruation.

The seasonal cycle is really the most important in regard to natural detoxification periods. If we can harmonize with these, we can do much to stay healthy. I discussed the relationship of the seasons to diet in other parts of this book, and in greater detail in my first book, Staying Healthy with the Seasons, and explore this further in the program on Fasting.

To summarize here, the seasonal changes are the key stress times in nature and the times where we most need to lighten up our outer demands and consumptions and turn more within to listen to our inner world that mirrors the natural cycles. Spring is the key time for detoxification; autumn is also important. At least a one- to two-week program is suggested at these times. In spring, we may eat more citrus fruits, fresh greens, and juices or try the Master Cleanser lemonade diet, while in autumn we may dine on other harvests, such as apples or grapes, and the many vegetables. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are appropriate when we are going into summer; and brown rice, vegetables, and soups may be best to simplify our diet when going into winter.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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