- Learn the difference between a detox and a cleanse
- Discover many of the benefits
- Find out which organs play key roles in both detox and cleansing
- See how you can detox and cleanse for healthy living
The terms detox and cleanse are often used interchangeably. Yet, they really describe two very different processes. Both have value. In fact, you should plan regular cleanses and detoxes. How you schedule them, how you do them, and which you need most depend on many factors.
This article will take a closer look at their differences, why you need them, how you can easily do each one, and which you may need most.
What is the difference between a detox and a cleanse?
Confusion between the two terms exists for one simple reason. Detoxing could be viewed as a cleansing of the body, while cleansing does support your body’s natural detoxification processes.
There is a similarity between the two. To keep it simple, however, here are definitions that establish the unique nature of each:
- Detox: to remove toxins from your body, including the digestive tract but specifically to purge toxins at the cellular level throughout the body.
- Cleanse: to clear your digestive organs of built-up toxins, waste or stool, harmful bacteria, dangerous fungi like Candida, and any other material that would negatively affect your health.
In short, detoxing aims to remove toxins from everywhere in the body. Cleansing aims to remove material that affects your digestive organs – your small and large intestine (aka colon), your liver and kidneys, pancreas, and gall bladder.
Why would I need a detox?
Quite simply, our environment is polluted. Environmental toxins get into our bodies all the time. Heavy metals can be found in food. We know mercury can be a problem in fish, but it isn’t the only heavy metal that causes problems. There’s also lead, arsenic, and cadmium, among many others. In fact, every time a car brakes, cadmium in the brake lining is released into the air.
Our fresh fruits and vegetables are covered in pesticides and herbicides. Refined and processed foods – those that come out of boxes, jars, and cans are loaded with sugar and preservatives to extend their shelf-life.
The reality is that unless you’ve been able to eat fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables far away from modern society, you’ve been exposed to toxins.
Ok, but why would I need a cleanse?
A lack of enzymes, fiber, and probiotics in our food leads to poorly digested food. Over time, this food can get trapped in the colon and ferment and/or rot. This disrupts digestion and can have serious effects on your health. Toxins build-up in your gut and your immune system weakens – remember, nearly 80% of immune response occurs in your bowels.
The benefits of a cleanse and detox
By removing fecal matter build-up from your colon, you allow your digestive system to recover and work more efficiently. You digest better. Nutrients from your food are more easily absorbed into your blood, so your body can make use of them.
And the more nutrients your body has, the more it can protect itself from toxins at the cellular level.
Some of the benefits associated with cleansing and detoxing include:
- Weight loss
- Clearer thinking
- Greater energy
- A better, more positive mood
- Fewer aches and pains
- Less gas and bloating after meals
As you might imagine, the long term benefits include better overall health, feeling great, and enjoying life.
You need to support your body's natural cleansing and detoxing processes
Your body has natural ways to cleanse and get rid of toxins. In fact, it’s pretty efficient when it’s not overwhelmed by a toxic environment.
The organs associated with cleansing and detoxing include your:
It produces enzymes for digestion and metabolism, along with powerful antioxidants like glutathione. It filters your blood of waste proteins and helps clear heavy metals from the system.
The bile produced supports the work of the digestive enzymes supplied by the pancreas to break down proteins and prevent them from building up in your digestive tract.
It produces enzymes for digestion and helps the body regulate blood sugar.
Filled with tiny filters, they draw waste products from the blood and flush them from your body (via your bladder, as urine).
The majority of digestion occurs here. This makes it a vital part of the process, as the more thoroughly your food is digested here, the less likely waste will build-up in your colon.
The large intestine, or colon
Waste, or non-digestible foods like fiber, collect in the colon, where water is drawn from the waste, preparing it for release.
Do you need a cleanse, detox, or cleanse and detox?
Metabolic conditions and everyday struggles with energy, mood, or feeling like you have frequent “brain fog” may indicate a toxin build-up in your body.
If you experience gas and bloating after eating or have digestive symptoms like stomach upset, constipation, or diarrhea, it may be a sign you’ve got a waste build-up in your colon.
We’ve been told by people who have done colon cleanses that they cleared several pounds of waste from the colon during a cleanse.
Many people report that their symptoms clear up after going through a cleanse or detox program.
Now, if you struggle with digestive symptoms, you might be able to get by with a colon cleanse. That would be a good place to start.
For weight loss, or if you want to address the symptoms noted above, you will want to detox. By detoxing, you’ll help get your metabolism going again. However,…the first part of any detox starts with a colon cleanse. After all, if your bowels and other cleansing organs aren’t working efficiently, your body will have difficulty getting rid of the toxins.
So, a detox always starts with a cleanse. If you cleanse, you don’t necessarily need to detox.
Popular detoxes and cleanses
The best place to start before starting a detox or cleanse is with your diet. You need to evaluate if there are certain foods you need to eliminate or if there are foods that you should add. Once you complete your cleanse or detox, you want to move seamlessly into whatever new diet or lifestyle you have planned.
Doing a cleanse and detox loses much of its value if you return to the behaviors that led you to need it in the first place. Admittedly, you can practice a very healthy lifestyle and still benefit from cleansing and detoxing from time to time.
So, let’s look at how you can do cleanse and detox.
Popular – and safe – cleanses include juice cleanses, adding more fiber to your diet, and taking supplements like Cleanse Infused Plus.
- A juice cleanse will work if you use fresh fruits and vegetables. You want the nutrients, and you also want the fiber. With that in mind, you would want to avoid any juices from concentrate.
- Fiber is best gotten from fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.
- A supplement like Cleanse Infused Plus is designed to be gentle and effective. For example, Cleanse Infused Plus features oxygenated magnesium, which softens stool and neutralizes harmful toxins in the colon, and enzymes to help speed the clearing of the waste.
You can also take digestive enzymes and probiotic supplements to help. Digestive enzymes like those in Digest Infused support your pancreas and liver, supplying added enzymes to break down any undigested food or waste.
Probiotic foods like tempeh or miso soup help to restore the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. Alternatively, you can take probiotic supplements like Flora Infused.
Detoxing involves a little bit more of a process. You’ll want to put your program together and stick to the plan to ensure the best results.
To detox, you first want to begin with a cleanse. How long it takes will depend on which type of cleanse you choose.
Then, for the detox, you need to use fruits, vegetables, or supplements that will support your body’s ability to pull toxins from your cells. For example, cilantro helps the body remove heavy metals. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower contain sulforaphane, a nutrient your body can use to create glutathione.
Algae supplements like Algae Infused, especially those with spirulina, AFA, and cracked-cell wall chlorella, can also help capture, neutralize, and remove toxins.
During the detox program, you want to limit the foods you eat. Detox soups can be an excellent alternative to keep you fed and support your detox efforts. These soups can also be an effective way to help you lose weight.
And as part of your detoxification program, you will also want to include enzymes that break down proteins to clear the blood of waste. Pineapple is high in bromelain, and papaya supplies papain, both enzymes that break down proteins. Metabolic enzymes like Metabolic Infused are another option to get protein-specific enzymes.
A few additional notes on detoxes and cleanses
During any detox programs or when cleansing, you need to stay hydrated. So, drink plenty of water.
After the cleanse or detox, you will want to take it easy on your digestive tract, as well as your liver and kidneys. Reintroducing foods, especially any processed foods, could be a shock to the system. For the best results, slowly add foods back into your diet.
So, should you cleanse or detox?
The difference between detox programs and cleansing is worth understanding. A cleanse or detox may serve different purposes. For optimal wellness, you want to choose the approach that most meets your needs. For detoxification, you have many options in choosing detox and cleansing supplements.
We recommend products that support the body’s natural detox and cleansing functions. They should be clean, work regardless of what you are eating, and support your health during the effort. After all, healthy living makes for a good life. As always, we recommend asking for guidance from your health care practitioner.