The 7-day detox plan has gotten a bad rap, thanks to influencers who have turned it into a quick-fix fad diet aimed at instant weight loss. The truth is, most healthy people don’t need to detox. Our bodies can naturally eliminate toxins through an extensive system that involves the gut, liver, kidneys, and several other organs.
However, if you’re looking to clean up your diet and start eating healthy, the detox diet meal plan seven days can help you. It is essentially a clean eating program that involves eating more fruits and vegetables to help your body do its job of cleansing itself of toxins.
Before we get started on the detox meal plan, let’s look into what toxins are and how clean eating might help your body function better.
Does Your Body Have Harmful Toxins?
Your body is constantly working to maintain a healthy balance of key nutrients and chemicals. Some of these substances can cause problems if they accumulate in your body over time – we call those toxins.
Toxins come from our environment and also from the foods we eat. Some foods, like ultra-processed ones, often have additives that some people believe may be toxic to the body. The more processed a food is, the less natural it tends to be, and therefore, the more additives it contains (10).
Most of us have been exposed to toxins from different sources without even knowing: pesticides and other chemicals in our foods; lead paint in old homes; impurities in water; mercury in fish; air pollution; formaldehyde in tissues and shampoo; cigarette smoke; alcohol – the list goes on.
Not only are our bodies combating external substances that enter the body, but we also produce their own chemicals, such as urea, carbon dioxide, and lactic acid, which must be eliminated from the body (3).
How Can Clean Eating Help Your Body?
By eating natural foods that are close to their source (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains), you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs for detoxification. Also, by avoiding processed foods, you may be reducing your toxin exposure.
- Weight gain, obesity, and diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney damage
- Decreased immunity
- Gut problems
- Hormonal imbalances
When Should You Detox?
A detox diet plan can be a good reset when you have consumed a large number of unhealthy substances, especially those that your body can’t easily eliminate on its own. This might include recreational drugs, cigarettes, medications, caffeine, alcohol, and perhaps foods that you don’t tolerate well. . In most cases, detox isn’t necessary to help restore the body’s balance and function properly, but it can help you reframe your mindset and serve as a starting point for building healthier habits.
If you want to lose weight, going on a 7-day detox can help you become accustomed to healthier eating habits that will lead to weight loss over time. You may also find that eliminating foods that your body doesn’t process well can help reduce bloating, gas, constipation, and other digestive problems.
What Do I Eat On A 7-Day Detox Diet?
You don’t need a juice cleanse or smoothie diet to reset your eating habits. A 7-day juice cleanse might be harmful because of its extremely restrictive nature since you won’t be getting enough nutrients on such a diet, and this puts you at risk of complications. The same applies to the 7-day smoothie weight loss plan. It is not the safest or most sustainable option for people looking to improve their health.
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Foods To Eat On The 7-Day Detox
Focusing on home-cooked meals with whole foods will get you back on the right track. Some foods to eat while on the detox include:
Vegetables are rich in phytochemicals (7). These are naturally occurring plant chemicals that have many health benefits. While on the detox diet, it’s good to include vegetables in most of your meals. Also, half of your plate should be filled with brightly colored vegetables.
Some vegetables are especially useful due to their detox properties. They include:
- Collard greens
- Brussel sprouts
Fruit is an important part of the detox diet plan. Berries, for example, are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals that support digestive function (7). Not only do fruit provide fiber, water, and vitamins, but they also act as natural sweeteners. While on the detox diet, try to eat the fruit in moderation; it can be easy to overeat certain fruits like bananas or grapes.
Some fruit is especially useful for their detox properties:
- Apples (with skin)
- Pears (with skin)
- Berries (especially cranberries)
- Watery fruits like grapefruit
- Melons (especially cantaloupe)
Grains are a major source of fiber and B vitamins. They also provide magnesium, selenium, and chromium, which help regulate blood sugar levels, boost metabolism, and reduce cholesterol. There is evidence that a diet rich in whole grains reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes (15).
A high fiber diet helps reduce inflammation and slow down digestion so your body can better manage blood sugar levels, regulate bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels, and improve heart health. High-fiber foods are especially beneficial to those suffering from diabetes or obesity (11).
Some high-fiber whole grain foods include:
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
Lean Animal Protein
Lean animal protein is an important part of the detox diet plan. Animal proteins are high in essential amino acids, which play a role in muscle repair and growth (1). When you’re on a reduced-calorie meal plan, preserving lean muscle mass is vital.
Some animal proteins include:
- Fish (salmon, tilapia)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck)
- Lean beef
Beans And Legumes
Beans and legumes are good sources of plant-based protein. They’re also rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, and iron (12). If you’re on detox and would like to stick to a budget, the foods below are some of the most affordable protein sources.
Some beans and legumes to include in your diet are:
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
Healthy fats can be great for health, but they still have calories that should be taken into account while you’re on the detox diet. Using healthy oils like avocado oil or olive oil is fine, but stick to the appropriate serving sizes of nuts or avocados since it’s easy to overdo it on these foods. It’s recommended that healthy fats account for 25-35% of your daily caloric intake (9).
Some healthy fat sources include:
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Avocado oil
- Almond butter
- Nuts (in moderation)
- Chia seeds
- Fatty fish like salmon or mackerel (avoid fried fish)
Some people choose to eliminate dairy out of their detox diet meal plan. Whether you eat dairy products or not comes down to personal preference and possible intolerances. A dairy-free meal plan may include substitutes such as:
- Soy milk
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Rice milk
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Probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, can help boost the immune system and support a healthy gut (4). Research has found that some probiotic-rich fermented foods also contain antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that have various health benefits (6).
Prebiotic Fiber Foods
Prebiotics are fibers found primarily in plants that feed the good bacteria in your digestive tracts. These beneficial bacteria then produce substances that fight against harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive tract. Not only does prebiotic fiber feed your “good” gut bacteria, but it also helps keep you full and regular (5).
Some prebiotic foods include:
- Bananas (in moderation)
Healthy Sweetener Options
The detox diet meal plan doesn’t have to be devoid of sweet tastes – they just have to come from natural sources (8). As always with any type of sugar, moderation is key. A few examples are:
- Monk fruit extract
- Maple syrup
- Coconut sugar
Some artificial sweeteners are okay as well, but choose ones without any side effects or health risks. These include:
How To Start The 7-Day Detox Plan?
Five days before you begin your detox diet plan, progressively eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars, saturated fats, and all processed foods. This will help your body grow accustomed to clean eating and prevent intense cravings.
During the seven days of this detox, start the morning with half a lemon squeezed into warm water or cleansing herb tea. Follow with a brisk walk, bike ride, yoga, or swimming. You’ll also drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses each day, to help the kidneys filter out waste from the blood (14).
- Breakfast: Green smoothie made from spinach, carrots, mint, and chia seeds
- Lunch: Vegetable soup
- Snack: Yogurt topped with frozen raspberries and chia seeds
- Dinner: Roasted salmon salad
- Breakfast: Overnight oats topped with fresh berries
- Lunch: Egg and avocado on whole-wheat toast
- Snack: Roasted peanuts
- Dinner: Beef and vegetable stew
- Breakfast: Oatmeal made with almond milk, topped with strawberries and almonds
- Lunch: Lentil salad made with olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley
- Snack: Apple slices dipped in almond butter
- Dinner: Zucchini noodles with grilled chicken breast
- Breakfast: Smoothie with raspberries, mangoes, and peaches
- Lunch: Salad made of chopped romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and avocado
- Snack: Cottage cheese, olives, and cucumber slices
- Dinner: Baked tilapia patty on a bed of sautéed spinach leaves; serve with brown rice
- Breakfast: Muesli with raspberries
- Lunch: Black bean salad
- Snack: Homemade trail mix
- Dinner: Roasted veggies and wild rice
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and avocado on whole-wheat toast
- Lunch: Gazpacho soup
- Snack: Carrots and hummus
- Dinner: Oven-baked salmon served with steamed vegetables and brown rice
- Breakfast: Egg omelet stuffed with spinach and cheddar cheese
- Lunch: Brown rice and lentil bowl topped with a dressing of your choice
- Snack: Apple slices dipped in almond butter
- Dinner: Chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread accompanied by your favorite veggies as a side
The Bottom Line
If you are an otherwise healthy individual who has been eating healthy, there is usually no need for a detox. Being consistent with clean eating habits is enough to keep you on track. But if you have been consuming large amounts of processed food (i.e., refined carbohydrates low in fiber), then you could benefit from the 7-day detox diet plan because it will help you transition to more natural foods, whether or not you want to lose weight.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Biochemistry, Essential Amino Acids – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Combined Toxic Exposures and Human Health: Biomarkers of Exposure and Effect (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Excretion – an overview (n.d., sciencedirect.com)
- Health Benefits of Probiotics: A Review (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health Effects and Sources of Prebiotic Dietary Fiber (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health-Promoting Components in Fermented Foods: An Up-to-Date Systematic Review (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health-Promoting Components of Fruits and Vegetables in the Diet (2013, academic.oup.com)
- Natural Sweetener – an overview (n.d., sciencedirect.com)
- Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults (2021, jandonline.org)
- The Effects of Ultra-Processed Food Consumption—Is There Any Action Needed? (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre (2020, mdpi.com)
- The Role of Legumes in Human Nutrition (2017, intechopen.com)
- The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between (2019, health.harvard.edu)
- Water, Hydration and Health (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Wholegrain Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Evidence from Epidemiological and Intervention Studies (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)