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Can detoxing improve your performance?
It’s spring in the Southern Hemisphere and with the change of seasons is there a need to flush out the system? Detoxes are popular; but how much of a benefit can they have? More specifically can they aid your performance? Is there a better approach (you bet ya). Hear more on this episode of 32Gi Sports Nutrition.
You listening to 32Gi Sports Nutrition I’m Mr Active David Katz joined by Mark Wolff, a nutritional expert of course and a director at 32Gi. If you haven’t seen the website what a fantastic website they do have. You can ask questions there, email firstname.lastname@example.org or just go to the website and find out about our great range of products at 32Gi.com.
Mark welcome back last month August we looked a little bit into different aspects of fat which was thoroughly well received. Some really interesting topics. We’ve moved on all around the world into September, it is the 1st of September, Thursday the 1st of September. Generally in the Southern hemisphere this is sort of this side of spring.
I know you not in South Africa but our spring started at least two weeks ago. But this time of year all of a sudden down in the Southern Hemisphere you coming out of winter your diet does shift slightly. It is very different and a lot of people look at that sort of detoxing aspect. But from a sort of an exercise or an endurance point of view, what are some of the things people should look at doing you know can a detox benefit them?
How to help your natural detoxifier (the Liver)
MW: Well look I think, up front firstly I need to state that the human body has got the most critical organ which is the liver. The liver naturally will obviously assist in breaking down toxins and detoxifying the body naturally.
I think the key thing is that in anyway or form of trying to enter into some sort of detoxification, you basically need to be able to enable the liver to function correctly. That’s obviously by eating clean and healthy foods in order to be able to assist it.
Obviously that means you know not just obviously what enters the stomach, but obviously then passes through to the colon etcetera. I think that’s the most critical aspect; is making sure that they are clean and healthy.
People ask me you know um I’m…or they tell me they gonna go on a faster detox, or they gonna go on only a fruit diet or etcetera. I would say like I don’t agree with that. I think that the most important thing is cut out all the rubbish first of all.
I’m talking about all the junk foods, all the processed foods and absolutely switch to a natural form of eating. To me that in itself is a very, very good form of detoxification. I’ll go into a few other things, I mean you can add into there as well.
Natures natural detoxifying foods
So I think first and foremost you looking at very healthy leafy green vegetables etcetera. We talking obviously clean and lean proteins if you are going to go that route. We talking maybe some high fibre in order to try and clean out the colon. I think something like a psyllium husk would be worth while taking maybe for a couple of days to try. It’s a very, it’s obviously a fibre and it would definitely help flush what’s in that system.
Then obviously trying to eat clean after that. But one of the most important aspects is actually the hydration aspect. That’s obviously drinking fluids consistently in order to be able to hydrate and flush out toxins in the body.
You know somebody like myself I really only have maybe three types of liquids during the day. I do drink a black coffee, I don’t add sugar or milk to it whatsoever. I just believe in a clean natural black coffee. For me maybe I have six or seven cups a week that’s more than sufficient. Over and above that I’m a herbal tea fan. I think herbal tea for if you wanna use term detoxify are absolutely brilliant.
I think they help with immunity they definitely help with liver aid or liver function. I drink you could call me a green tea addict but I can drink anywhere between 10 to 20 cups of green tea a day. That’s probably primarily my fluid intake and then I drink water over and above it.
I think the key thing here is cutting out the junk, eating cleanly first of all. Then deciding over and above that what you can add to your diet that will be beneficial in aiding detoxification process.
When to drink lemon water (and the benefits)
DK: Now Mark you’ve talked about, about the teas and another big one I know a lot of people do is lemon water. In terms of time of the day I know first think in the morning people like to do it. The other time is after a big meal maybe in the evenings an hour or so after you’ve had your dinner. When would you say is the best time to have a sort of drink like that?
MW: Look lemon water; why I quite like it is it’s actually it’s an alkaline. I mean lemons yes people know that they slightly acidic. But in the body it becomes it helps with alkalinity. I think that you could drink lemon water all day long if you want it. Because it actually reduces the acidity levels in the digestive system. I think that, that is what makes it an incredible drink.
Some people obviously take Bicarb etcetera, but I think that taking lemon water is far more natural. I’m not talking about a processed lemon juice that you squeeze in. I’m saying buy a freshly, a fresh lemon probably an organic lemon cut it in half, squeeze it in.
But another important fruit that people tend to forget about which also is an absolutely brilliant liver aid is actually grapefruit. What you can actually do is squeeze some grapefruit into some water, and you can drink that through the day as well.
Because that’s another very, very good fruit. It’s actually an excellent fruit which also helps if you wanna use a term it helps with detoxification. It helps the liver process at a better level.
The advantage of caffeine free teas
DK: I’m glad you said that Mark, I absolutely love grapefruit. We getting to that time of year in South Africa where it’s becoming a little bit scarce and a little bit expensive. But what a fantastic fruit it is.
Another great thing we have here in South Africa and I know a lot of people around the world also can get it now, is rooibos tea. I know you touched on green tea but that’s also a great one.
MW: Look rooibos is excellent. Obviously there’s no caffeine in rooibos so somebody that might be caffeine intolerant and that can’t handle a green tea for example, even though green tea is far more natural in caffeine. I mean I can drink green tea and go to sleep. But I cannot drink coffee and go to sleep.
So I think it’s a matter of that, that caffeine as well rooibos is excellent. I especially advocate it for children because I mean I wouldn’t want to put a child onto a stimulant such as caffeine. I think that only at a much higher age or unless they’re exercising specifically and require a little bit of caffeine for racing purposes that’s a different story.
But I think that rooibos is an excellent tea for children. Again I need to stress without sugar. Maybe without milk. Because sugar is highly acidic and sugar is highly addictive. So from a health perspective you’d wanna keep that out of the diet definitely.
Flushing the system around an event
DK: Rooibos itself is pretty sweet, so if you not used to things that are too sweet it is great for kids, as Mark touched on. Mark looking at an event if you were you know night before maybe sort of morning of; would there be some benefit to having something like lemon water or rooibos or green tea?
MW: Look I think if the stomach is highly acidic, it can impact your digestive system. In an event and a lot of people do suffer from acid issues specifically during endurance events or in events where there’s a lot more intensity. But however in saying that a lot of professional athletes utilise caffeine which also creates acidity. In the environment and it works very, very well for them.
So I really think it’s dependent on the person. Look personally I don’t drink lemon water before an event, I actually like to have black coffee. I also like to drink some green tea, specifically before training. I just like to have that slightly empty stomach feeling before an event. If you like that the lemon water would help.
I’ve never experimented with that before racing or training. But I think what works for you, you need to do. What works for you, you need to carry on doing. But again it’s a form of hydration and I can’t see any harm in doing it. If somebody does suffer from excessive acid or reflux etcetera, I think the lemon water would actually help out quite nicely.
The real trick to detoxing the body
DK: Mark lastly, I mean we talk about this time and time again when it comes to nutrition and diet. People are always looking for the latest and greatest diet, the latest and greatest thing. Detoxing is one of those big things.
But the point is if people are out there and they wanna do some form of detox, don’t make it the exception. Change your diet and consistently look at eating clean and healthier. That’s the better way to go isn’t it?
MW: If you consistently eating clean then there’s no reason to suddenly wake up and say oh I need to detox because my system is in a really bad state. That is exactly one of the most important points to stress, 365 days of the year.
When it comes to nutrition you’ve got what I call a percentages gain, and that percentages gain it determines the percentage of time that you eating badly and the percentage of time that you actually eating well.
If the percentage of time that you eating well is quite high say 90% of the time you eating well, I don’t think there’s a reason to try and go and detox yourself. I need to stress one more thing over and above that Dave, and I think that we’ve mentioned this in previous podcasts even.
If you are eating healthily sometimes in those healthy foods there are foods that impact a person negatively. Maybe that’s because they are intolerant to those specific foods. So eating healthily can still make a person feel bad in a specific way.
Somebody could be dairy intolerant, somebody could be more carbohydrate intolerant, somebody could be fibre intolerant. I’m not saying those are bad I’m just saying that you are intolerant to a food you need to listen to those messages as well. Because that will obviously guide you on the correct path of trying to select the appropriate foods to make sure that you are eating healthily all the time.
I mean your body is an engine. Basically your body is running at a very fuel efficient and a very efficient state that detoxing. Detoxifying is a terminology when it comes to dieting that probably shouldn’t even be looked at.
BK: Well Mark that’s brilliant you touched on something a little bit earlier on in this conversation regarding the importance of hydration. I’ve got a great question around that but we’ll save that for a future episode of 32Gi Sports Nutrition. So do keep listening to us we are with you every Thursday.