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Ready for a spring clean? Your gut needs one too!

Written by: Marilyn Linton, QMI Agency
Apr. 29, 2013

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Washing the windows, cleaning the closets, and shaking out the rugs? Well, it isn’t just your living space that needs a spring cleaning -- so does your gut, says Toronto naturopath Dr. Mubina Jiwa.

“There are so many things for the digestive system to break down, especially when we’re eating a lot of processed foods, so we need to give it a chance to do its own spring cleaning.”

Increasingly, Canadians are embracing the notion of detoxing and cleansing as part of overall health. But Dr. Jiwa prefers the term “spring cleaning” because many of the cleanses and detox programs she sees are not necessarily good choices. One reason is their lack of personalization: One size does not fit all when it comes to cleanses.

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And while she might suggest milk thistle tea to help cleanse the liver, she is not in favour of juice fasts “unless it’s only a day or two and under supervision,” she says. “You need to know you are getting proper nutrition.” She says some people who try programs that suggest lemon juice, maple syrup and spices to lose weight and detoxify can end up with cramping and diarrhea. “Suddenly, their system is a mess!”

The body has an inherent ability to heal itself and that goes for the intestines. Dr. Jiwa says that when we eat a poor diet, inflammation builds up and damages the lining of the gut. “This puts the gut on a 911 alert.” (Inflammation also causes water retention which may add extra pounds.)

Some bodies are good at managing inflammation, but chronic inflammation may be a sign of food intolerance and can cause joint pain, migraines, skin conditions and digestive upsets. “There’s such a strong connection between what goes on in the gut and the rest of the body,” she believes.

“Lots of over the counter detox kits have negative results because they are not personalized,” she notes, explaining that if food intolerance is suspected, with a simple pin prick blood test, today’s food intolerance tests can scan 250 different foods to see which may be worth eliminating from your diet.

“We need to put our gut on vacation, give our gut a rest.” The best way, she believes, is to eat no processed foods and to concentrate on whole fresh foods. “Now that spring is here and our vegetables and fruits are beginning to come to market, it’s a perfect time to create a conscious routine to promote gut health. The best part of a detox is that it can instill healthy eating habits for a long time.”

 

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