DETOX DIET AND SPORT

Detoxifying diets, or "detox", have the virtue of cleansing some of the organs in the body, the liver in particular, which is like the body's own water treatment plant. But many of these kinds of diets are way too restrictive and incompatible with too much physical activity or sports. There are a few rules to follow.

WHY GO ON A DETOX DIET AND WHEN?

Our body continuously comes in contact with toxins, whether through the lungs (pollution, tobacco, etc.) or through the digestive system (pesticides, preservatives, colourants, etc.). This is compounded by the consumption of some medicines (all of them go through the liver, except for suppositories), eating too much fatty/sugary foods or eating grilled (or overcooked) meats. Stress and physical activity add to this build-up of toxins.

The body can reach a point of saturation at which it struggles to eliminate waste, for example after the festive season if you've beein doing a lot of partying. These toxins then start accumulating and they have a negative influence on your health and your physical performances. Toxin saturation can result in a multitude of consequences: chronic tiredness, sleeping badly, dull skin, digestive or intestinal troubles, bags under your eyes, pain in your joints and/or muscles, greasy or dull hair, water retention, migraines, acute stress, depression… A controlled detox diet can therefore be perfectly healthy and beneficial, as long as it's done before a sports season or in-between seasons. The best time to do it is during the winter, because a sportsperson's immune system comes under strain at this time of year.

It's important to take your detox seriously, setting that period aside as exceptional, because during that time, you won't be in very good physical condition to do a sport, even a low-intensity sport.You also have to leave one or two weeks between finishing your diet and taking up sport again. Additionally, your detox should never last longer than one week. Another rule is to avoid monophagy, which is to eat only a single type of food for several days. Even though it might cover your energy needs, your intake will be qualitatively unbalanced and that will cause deficiencies.

detox-diet

WHAT FOODS SHOULD I EAT?

Lemon

As well as being rich in vitamin C and potassium, this food promotes the elimination of toxins and hidden fats in your body. On top of that, lemon brings down the levels of cholesterol in your blood, boosts your immune system and helps prevent certain types of cancer. Lemon juice is therefore the key element of a detox diet.

Apple

Rich in vitamin C and minerals, this fruit helps reduce the absorption of fats. Note that the vast majority of vitamins and minerals in apples are found just under the skin, so you shouldn't peel it, just rinse it properly.

Artichoke

This vegetable is actually a type of "domesticated" cardoon. It has powerful purifying properties acting on the liver and is a diuretic (due to its high concentration of potassium) and so promotes the urinary elimination of toxins. Artichokes also help cell regeneration and act as appetite suppressants.

Beetroot

Its bright colour gives it all away: this is a vegetable loaded with antioxidants. On top of that, it helps regulate intestinal transit and eliminate fats.

Grapefruit

This fruit has anti-cholesterol and anti-diabetic properties. As well as being very low in calories, grapefruit is also beneficial to the heart, helping its proper functioning.

Carrot

Carrots are rich in fibre, which facilitates intestinal transit, they're also full of antioxidants and potassium: potassium promotes kidney drainage.

Pineapple

Rich in enzymes, this fruit helps digestion and is therefore considered a "fat-burning" food. Note that most of the beneficial properties of pineapples are found in the stem, not in the fruit itself.

Garlic

This vegetable contains sulphur, which helps the body regenerate white blood cells. These cells play a role in eliminating the toxins present in your body.

Crucifers

This family includes cabbage, radish, turnip, broccoli, watercress, etc. These foods are loaded with antioxidants and therefore help the liver eliminate toxins. Additionally, raw cabbage is very rich in vitamin C.

Kiwi

Said to be "anti-ageing" because of their high content of antioxidants and vitamin C, kiwis also facilitate intestinal transit.

Chicory

These have a diuretic effect and have a powerful antioxidant effect thanks to a high content of selenium.

 

Facts about selenium: it's an oligo element (simple atom, therefore smaller than a molecule) that's primarily found in seafood but also in eggs, giblets, meat, wholemeal ceral and legumes. This element plays an important role in some hepatic, cardiac and muscular metabolisms. It also helps strengthen the immune system. A selenium deficiency in food intake can cause muscular fatigue, cardiac arrhythmia, or weakening of the immune system. Conversely, an excess of this oligo element can reduce the robustness of dander (nail and hair) and skin, and cause digestive problems and fatigue.

 

Fermented milks

Very rich in probiotics, they hlpe strengthen and balance your intestinal flora.

Dandelion

This flower helps synthesize bile and then evacuate it. 

Fruits of the forest

Fruits of the forest, or red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates), are rich in ellagic acid, which gives them strong antioxidant properties.

A DETOX DIET EXAMPLE: "CABBAGE SOUP" FOR SPORTSPEOPLE

- 4 litres of water

- ¼ green cabbage or Kaloy

- ½ cauliflower

- 3 onions

- 4 carrots

- 1 bunch of chopped parsley (to add after cooking)

- Pepper + curry ou turmeric

- 2 stock cubes

Let it simmer (without the persil) until the carrots are well cooked. Eat one bowl in the evening for 5 days and eat your other meals in moderation, preferably incorporating the foods mentioned previously.

The essential thing to bear in mind is that a detox diet can be perfectly suited to a sportsperson's daily live as long as it's carried out strategically: good timing (during the winter, before the sports season or between seasons) and not too restrictive (avoid monophagy). Take it easy on the days you're doing the detox diet and the days that follow in order to avoid the risk of injury or excessive tiredness..

Etienne

Etienne

I've always been into sports, and for the last 5 years I've focussed on triathlons; I prefer long distances (marathons, IronMan®...). My little moment of glory came when I finished first among the French at the 70.3 world championships in September 2017 in the US. I'm also a nutrionist dietician alongside my work at Decathlon and I work with lots of sportsmen and women, helping them with their nutritional preparation for sport. Physical activity and healthy eating? Two (great) solutions to staying in shape!

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