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Natural Liver Detox Diets to Clean Liver

Using a natural detox diet to remove toxins and poisons from your body might sound like a good idea. After all, what could be better than eating pure and natural foods and avoiding processed and refined ones?
Certainly, there's something to these ideas. But there's also more than meets the eye. The rising interest in lifestyle enhancement has also ushered in many misconceptions about toxins and about the best way to clear them from the body. Fueling the confusion is a major marketing blitz by authors of diet books and producers of supplements and other detoxifying products.
Most natural liver detox diets lack science to support them. Additionally, detox diets are very restrictive and can cause harm if they're not used with care. Here's what you need to know.

What Is the Idea Behind Detox Diets?

The idea for detox diets comes from the concern that toxins are constantly bombarding our bodies. Toxins are chemicals with potentially harmful effects. While some toxins are more obvious, such as pesticides or smog, some people consider even seemingly normal substances to be toxins. They may come from many sources, including:
  • caffeine
  • medications
  • pesticides or other chemicals used to grow or prepare food
  • smog or other substances in the air
  • substances such as artificial sweeteners added to food
  • sugar
  • impure water
The belief is that the body holds onto toxins in the digestive, lymph, or gastrointestinal system as well as in skin and hair. They, then, can cause problems such as fatigue, headaches, nausea, and a wide range of chronic diseases.

What Is a Detox Diet?

Detox diets are designed to help the body rid itself of toxins. To attempt this, you temporarily give up certain kinds of foods. This is called fasting or purging. Then you gradually reintroduce foods. For example, you might start with a liquid diet for one or two days. Then you might move to four or five days of brown rice, fruit, and steamed vegetables. Finally, you might add other foods, except red meat, wheat, sugar, eggs, and prepackaged or junk food.
In general, organic foods and drinks and lots of water are required on a natural detox diet. And alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, drugs, processed or refined foods, and certain supplements are not allowed.
In some cases, a detox diet is paired with changes in lifestyle, which is also meant to foster the cleansing of toxins from the body. Saunas and exercise might also be recommended to increase sweating, another way thought to purge the body of certain substances.
These are examples of popular detox diets:
  • Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet
  • Fat Flush Diet
  • Liver Cleanse Diet
  • Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox
  • Raw Food Diet
In some cases, people suggest using cleansing products or herbs to "purify" the liver and help it work more effectively. Or, you might be asked to do a colon irrigation to clean out your colon. This involves using an enema or having a practitioner clear the colon with up to 20 gallons of water through a tube inserted into the rectum.

Proponents believe that occasionally cleansing the body with natural liver detox diets can clear the body of poisons that have built up. They also suggest that detox diets help with weight loss. Other claims range from greater energy and more clear headedness to the prevention and cure of chronic diseases.
Symptoms may improve with a detox diet, but there is no evidence that this is due to clearing toxins from the body. Instead, improvements may result from what is and is not eaten and drunk on these diets, such as:
  • more water
  • less caffeine
  • less fat and animal proteins
  • fewer refined and processed foods
  • more healthful, whole, plant-based foods
As it turns out, a balanced, proper diet may be more helpful than a detox diet. Perhaps taking the best of the detox diets -- eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed, refined, and fatty foods, for example -- is the way to go.

What's the Problem With Detox Diets?

One problem is that most of these detox diets are so restrictive that you can't maintain them for long (most are designed to use for a couple of weeks). Also, any weight loss is usually from fluid and muscle loss. Most people quickly regain weight once they go off the diet. Worse, especially if used long term, detox diets can cause harm.

How Does the Body Naturally Detox?

The good news is that your body has its own natural detoxifying process that works quite well. The liver and kidneys do a good job of processing chemicals and eliminating them in sweat, urine, and feces. For example, the colon's natural bacteria detoxify food wastes and its mucus membranes prevent bacteria and toxins from reentering the body. The liver combines its own chemicals with other chemicals, making water-soluble compounds that your kidneys can excrete in urine. And some chemicals are also excreted through the lungs and skin. 

Are There Precautions to Take on a Detox Diet?

If you want to try a natural liver detox diet, be sure to talk to your health care provider first. Do not use a detox diet for longer than a brief period. The same goes for the use of any laxatives or supplements that have a laxative effect, especially if they're stimulant laxatives. They can cause dehydration, mineral imbalances, and problems with your digestive system if you use them long term.
Here are some other things you should know about natural liver cleansing:
  • Over time, fasting can slow your metabolism, making it harder to keep your weight off.
  • If you fast, make sure you get all the nutrients you need, including protein found in beans, milk, eggs, yogurt, and lean meat.
  • Fasting can be addicting because it causes a kind of "high." If overused, it can lead to eating disorders and other health problems.
Some people are more vulnerable to detox diets. Always check with your health care provider before starting a detox diet.  Do not go on a detox diet if you have:
  • diabetes
  • low blood sugar
  • an eating disorder
  • a heart condition
  • a chronic condition, unless cleared by your doctor
Also, detox diets are not appropriate for children, teens, seniors, or pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Source:  http://www.webmd.com/

15 Healthy Foods for About $2

How do you eat a nutritious diet while keeping your grocery bill low? The good news is that cheap eats aren’t necessarily unhealthy.
You can cut food costs by eating more meals at home and by making sure they feature some of the healthiest foods from your supermarket -- foods like whole grains, vegetables, and beans.
Luckily, many of these foods cost less than $2 per package.
A 1-pound bag of brown rice, for example, sells for about $1.75 and cooks up into about 10 side servings -- that's just 18 cents a serving. Talk about nutrition on the cheap!
Check out the list below for more examples. Prices may vary based on the store, location, and time of year.

1. Brown Rice

Great for: Side dishes, rice salads, fried rice, casseroles, soups, and stews.
What's a serving? 1/4 cup dry rice.
Price per serving: 18 cents. A 1-pound bag costs about $1.75 and contains 10 servings.
Nutrition info per serving: 170 calories, 2 grams fiber, and 4 grams protein.

2. Whole-Wheat or Multigrain Pasta

Great for: Hot and cold pasta dishes.
What's a serving? 2 ounces of dried pasta. A serving for most people translates into about 2 ounces of dried pasta, which means you get about 7 servings in the typical box or bag of dried pasta.
Price per serving? About 24 cents. You can get a 13- to 16-ounce box or bag of store-brand dried pasta for about $1.69.
Nutrition info per serving: About 200 calories, 7 grams protein, and 6 grams fiber.

3. 100% Whole-Wheat Bread

Great for: Hot and cold sandwiches, bread stuffing, bread pudding, and breakfast strata.
What's a serving? 2 slices. Labels usually list a serving as 1 slice of bread (about 28 grams per slice), but for our purposes, we'll use the amount you'd use to make a sandwich.
Price per serving: About 18 cents. You can get a 22-ounce loaf of store-brand whole-wheat bread for about $1.99 (on sale). Each loaf has about 22 slices, or 11 servings of 2 slices each.
Nutrition info per serving (2 slices): About 120 calories, 6 grams protein, and 3 grams fiber.

4. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Great for: A quick snack, parfaits made with fruit and granola, and smoothies.
What's a serving? Most individual servings come in 6-ounce or 8-ounce containers. You can save money by buying a larger container of Greek yogurt and then taking your 6- or 8-ounce portion from it.
Price per serving: Individual servings (6- to 8-ounce containers) cost about 89 cents each and sometimes less when found on sale.
Nutrition info per serving (for a 6-ounce serving of honey vanilla): 150 calories, 0 grams fiber, and 14 grams protein.

5. Old-Fashioned Oats

Great for: Hot or cold cereal, granola, crumb toppings for desserts, and muffins.
What's a serving? 1/2 cup dry oats.
Price per serving: 13 cents. A 42-ounce container of store brand oats costs around $3.99, and each container has about 30 servings, based on a serving of 1/2-cup of dry oats.
Nutrition info per serving: 150 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 5 grams protein.

6. Frozen Vegetables

Great for: Side dishes, casseroles, and stews.
What's a serving? 1 cup.
Price per serving: Around 25 cents. Frozen vegetables come in 12-ounce to 24-ounce bags that cost anywhere from $1.75 to $2.25 and contain 6-8 cups, depending on the vegetable and the size of the bag. At one national store, you can buy a bag of frozen organic green beans for $1.79. A bag of petite peas will cost you $1.19, and a 10-ounce box of frozen chopped spinach costs $1.19.
Nutrition info per serving: A 1-cup serving of frozen mixed vegetables (classic mix) has 82 calories, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 115% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 8% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium.

7. Russet Potato

Great for: Baked potatoes, breakfast potatoes, salads, casseroles, and stews.
What's a serving? 1 medium or large baked potato.
Price per serving: About 33 cents per potato. You can buy a 5-pound bag of Russet potatoes for about $3.99, and a bag contains 11-13 potatoes.
Nutrition info per serving (one medium-size potato): 168 calories, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 20% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, 10% Daily Value for iron, and 25% Daily Value for potassium.

8. Fresh Bagged Spinach

Great for: Quick salads, egg dishes, casseroles, soups, and stews.
What's a serving? If you use it for a main-dish salad, about 4 cups makes a serving. If you sauté it and add to an omelet, or use it for a side salad, about 2 cups is a serving.
Price per serving: 66 cents for a 4-cup serving; 33 cents for a 2-cup serving. A bag (9 ounces) of washed spinach leaves sells for about $1.99.
Nutrition info per serving: 4-cup serving contains 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 160% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 40% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, 8% of the Daily Value for calcium, and 40% of the Daily Value for folic acid.

9. Canned Refried Beans

Great for: Burritos, nachos, dips, enchiladas, or a quick side dish.
What's a serving? Each can has about 3.5 servings, based on 1/2-cup servings.
Price per serving: About 34 cents. You can buy a 15-ounce can of store brand vegetarian refried beans for about $1.19. 
Nutrition info per serving: About 140 calories (for the vegetarian type), 7 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 4% of the Daily Value for calcium and 10% of the Daily Value for iron.

10. Canned Tuna

Great for: Sandwiches, casseroles, several types of salads, and to serve with crackers. 
Note: Due to levels of mercury detected in canned tuna (with higher levels in albacore tuna than canned light tuna), the FDA recommends that pregnant women, women who are trying to become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children limit albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces per week. The FDA also recommends that those women not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish due to high mercury levels. In my opinion, it would probably be best for pregnant women to avoid canned tuna altogether and to choose lower-mercury seafood instead.
What's a serving? A 6-ounce can contains around 2 servings.
Price per serving: About 70 cents for chunk white albacore in water. You can buy a 6-ounce can of solid white albacore in water for about $1.99, or a 6-ounce can of chunk white albacore in water for about $1.39. The best deal is usually with chunk light in water for 85 cents per 6-ounce can.
Nutrition info per serving: About 500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids (0.5 gram), 60 calories, and 13 grams of protein.

11. Canned or Jarred Marinara Sauce

Great for: Pasta dishes, pizza, casseroles, appetizers, Italian sandwiches, and stews.
What's a serving? 1/2 cup.
Price per serving: About 28 cents. You can buy a 24 or 28-ounce jar or can of marinara or pasta sauce for $1.67.
Nutrition info per serving: A serving of meatless pasta sauce has around 90 calories, 2 grams fiber, 15% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, and 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.

12. Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Great for: Making pizzas, flatbread appetizers, and hot or cold sandwiches.
What's a serving? 1 pita pocket.
Price per serving: 30 to 55 cents. You can buy a 12-ounce package of 6 pita breads for $1.79 at Trader Joe's or $3.29 at a supermarket.
Nutrition info per serving: One pita contains 140 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 6 grams of protein.

13. Store-Brand Egg Substitute

Great for: Making quick omelets or as an ingredient in fried rice. You can also blend half egg substitute and half eggs to make quiches, frittatas, egg casseroles.
What's a serving? 1/4 cup.
Price per serving: 25 to 37 cents. You can buy a 16-ounce carton for $1.99 to $2.99 at Trader Joe's and supermarkets.
Nutrition info per serving: 30 calories, 6 grams protein, 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin B12, 6% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, and 4% of the Daily Value for vitamins D and E.

14. Frozen Edamame (Soybeans)

Great for: Snacks and appetizers or as a side dish with your meal. If the edamame are shelled (without pods), you can easily add them to fried rice, stews, casseroles, and more.
What's a serving? 1/2 cup shelled edamame.
Price per serving: 56 cents. You can buy a 16-ounce bag of organic edamame in pods at a supermarket for $2.79 or edamame in pods at Trader Joe's for $1.79.
Nutrition info per serving: 90 calories, 10 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 10% of the Daily Value for iron, and 6% of the Daily Value for calcium.

15. Dried Lentils

Great for: Casseroles, salads, soups and stews, and more. Lentils are the most user-friendly of the beans because they cook quickly without pre-soaking. Generally you just need to cover 1 cup of lentils with 3 cups of water or broth and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
What's a serving? 1/4 cup dried lentils.
Price per serving: 10 cents. You can buy a 16-ounce bag for $1.29. Each 16-ounce bag makes about 13 servings of lentils (if 1/4 cup dry is a serving). That small bag of lentils is deceiving because the lentils are dried, but once cooked, you will see the value.
Nutrition info per serving: 120 calories, 10 grams protein, and 11 grams fiber.

Source:  http://www.webmd.com/



Is Organic Food Better for You?

You're trying to eat healthy, and you know that means choosing plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. But as you wander the aisles of your local market, checking out the fresh produce, meats, and dairy products, you realize there's another choice to make: Should you buy organic?

Advocates say organic food is safer, possibly more nutritious, and often better tasting than non-organic food. They also say organic production is better for the environment and kinder to animals.

And more and more shoppers seem convinced. Even though organic food typically costs more --sometimes a lot more -- sales are steadily increasing.

"We've had a strong 20%-a-year growth rate since 1990," says Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). She also says more land is going into organic production all the time -- up to 2.35 million acres in 48 states as of 2001.

But many experts say there's not enough evidence to prove any real advantage to eating organic foods.

"There's really very limited information in people on actual health outcomes with consumption of these products," says David Klurfeld, PhD, chairman of the department of Nutrition and Food Science at Wayne State University in Detroit. "We don't know enough to say that one is better than the other."

So before you decide whether organic food is worth the price of admission, let's take a look at the issues.

What Qualifies as Organic?


Before October 2002, states followed varying rules for certifying and labeling organic products. But now all organic foods are grown and processed according to strict national standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To meet these standards, organic crops must be produced without conventional pesticides (including herbicides), synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. Organically raised animals must be given organic feed and kept free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Organic farm animals must have access to the outdoors, including pastureland for grazing.
If a food has a "USDA organic" label, it contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients, and a government-approved expert has inspected the farm where it was produced to make sure the farmer follows USDA requirements.

"Before the standards went into effect, you never knew what you were getting," says Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, director of nutrition for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. "My comment to people always used to be, 'Buyer beware,' so I'm thrilled that now we as consumers can be confident that when we buy something organic, it really does adhere to certain established standards."

Is Organic Food Safer?

"If you're talking about pesticides, the evidence is pretty conclusive. Your chances of getting pesticide residues are much less with organic food," says John Reganold, professor of soil science at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.
Reganold points to a large-scale study done by the Consumers Union. Researchers looked at data from more than 94,000 food samples and 20 different crops. They found that organically grown crops consistently had about one-third as many pesticide residues as the conventionally grown versions. Organic foods also were far less likely to contain residues of more than one pesticide.

Even so, the amount of man-made pesticide residues found in conventional foods is still well below the level that the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed unsafe. The real issue is whether these small doses, over years and decades, might add up to an increased health risk down the line.

"Is it going to make a difference? I don't know," says Reganold. "But it's something to think about, and we're the guinea pigs."

Man-made pesticides aren't the only threats to food safety. There is also the question of natural toxins produced by the plants themselves. In this arena, conventional foods may actually have the advantage.

Because organic production steers clear of synthetic insecticides and herbicides, organic crops usually contend with more pests and weeds than conventional crops. This means the organic plants may produce more natural toxins.

"Plants can't get up and walk away. If they're being attacked, they've got to sit there and take it. So they may resort to their own chemical warfare," explains Carl Winter, director of the FoodSafe program and an extension food toxicologist at the University of California, Davis.

These natural pesticides could be just as harmful to people -- or even more so -- than the synthetic pesticides used in conventional agriculture. One familiar example is solanine, a substance produced by potatoes as they turn green, which can make you ill if you ingest too much of it.

Another safety concern that has been raised about organic food is the issue of manure fertilizers. Some critics fear that using manure to fertilize organic crops might increase the risk of contamination by dangerous microbes like E. coli.

"The organic farmers talk about the soil being more alive on organic farms than conventional farms. That life isn't just insects and worms; it's loaded with bacteria," says Klurfeld.

But organic production standards do include strict rules on the composting and application of manure. And there's little evidence that organic food has bacterial contamination more often than conventional food.

"The organic system is the only one with agricultural standards that prohibit the use of raw manure within a certain time frame between harvests of crops for human consumption," says the Organic Trade Association's DiMatteo. She adds that bacterial contamination usually happens because of improper handling after the food has left the farm, and conventional food is just as likely to be affected.

Whether the issue is bad bacteria or pesticide residues, experts agree that the best way to safeguard yourself is to thoroughly rinse all fruits and vegetables under running water. You should even wash items with inedible skins, like melons and citrus fruits, because cutting the rind with a knife can bring contaminants to the inside.

Is Organic Food More Nutritious?

Right now, no one can say for sure whether organic food is any more nutritious than conventional food. A few studies have reported that organic produce has higher levels of vitamin C, certain minerals, and antioxidants -- thought to protect the body against aging, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But the differences are so small that they probably have no impact on overall nutrition.

"So far nothing is definitive, but there really hasn't been a lot of money expended on looking at the nutritional benefits of organic products," says DiMatteo. She points out that studies done before the USDA national standard went into effect are likely to be invalid, as there were then no reliable controls on organic production methods.

There is one nutritional certainty, though. If you want to get the most from your food, eat it while it's fresh.

"Nutrients like vitamin C do oxidize over time. So even though the nutrients might be higher in organic food to begin with, if it's sitting in your refrigerator, you could lose that benefit," says Zelman.

Plus, fresh food just tastes better. This may be one reason people sometimes report that organic foods have more flavor. Because organic farms tend to be smaller operations, they often sell their products closer to the point of harvest. So don't be surprised if the organic fruits and vegetables in your market taste more "farm fresh" than the comparable conventional produce.

Is It Worth the Cost?

Whether or not organic food really is safer or more nutritious, advocates say there is one more compelling reason to go organic: The health of the environment and society as a whole.

"Toxic and persistent pesticides do accumulate. They accumulate in the soil; they accumulate in the water; they accumulate in our bodies," says DiMatteo. "So by eliminating the use of these pesticides and fertilizers in the organic production system, we are not contributing any further to this pollution."

But food experts caution that while the big picture is important, you must make the decision that makes the most sense for you. If you can manage the higher price, and you like the idea of fewer pesticides and a more environmentally friendly production system, organic food may be for you. But don't skimp on healthy conventional foods just because you think you need to save your pennies for the few organic items that you can afford.

"The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and grains. And eat variety. From my perspective, it doesn't matter whether they are organic or conventional," Winter says.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/