The word “cleanse” is everywhere today. Much like the word “natural,” it has been bandied about so much in marketing and promotion that it has seemingly lost its integrity. Every supplement company, blog, podcast, magazine and celebrity seems to be touting the benefits of a doing a cleanse to improve energy, detoxify the body, improve mood and even trigger weight loss.
Is cleansing a useful therapeutic tool that should be part of your regime, like taking your car into the mechanic for an annual tune-up, or just a gimmick to sell supplements and services?
Why Do A Cleanse?
When the balance of “good” to “bad” gut bacteria gets thrown out of balance from poor diet, inactivity, stress, lack of sleep or environmental factors, a cleanse can be very therapeutic for reestablishing a healthy gut microbiome. If you suffer from gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, loose stool, brain fog, joint pain, poor immunity, eczema, psoriasis, fatigue or other digestive discomfort, then doing a digestive or colon cleanse can be very therapeutic.
However, you should never start a cleanse with the goal of losing weight. Despite claims from most cleansing products that you’ll lose weight, it’s not the kind of weight you want to lose. Virtually all the weight lost during a cleanse is water, lean muscle and glycogen (the carbs in your muscle) so don’t try to impress your friends with how much weight you lost during your cleanse. The goal of cleansing should be to improve digestive function, plain and simple.
In fact, cleansing goes back for millennia across cultures around the globe with the intent to support the health of the digestive system. Your digestive system is truly the foundation for overall health as it is intimately connected with your immune system, detoxification pathways, inflammation, etc. So, how should you go about cleansing?