Detox your brain


Lemongrass - watch out, it's got chemicals in it.

It’s January, so fun is off the menu. Now is the season of the ‘detox’. It’s time to realign your chakras, cleanse your liver and generally take leave of your senses.

We all know that healthy eating is good for us, and that inhaling tons of food and drinking gallons of booze over Christmas and New Year probably wasn’t the best idea. The reason we know this is that years of research have shown that better diet = better health. So why can’t we apply this logic to the rather unscientific idea of a ‘detox’??

Just to be clear, I don’t think it’s crazy to swear off the wine for a month or too or to make a resolution to eat more fruit (although it can be difficult). But believing that eating some blueberries will make you look 10 years younger is definitely wishful thinking.

You can read dubious detox advice in pretty much any women’s magazine you pick up. One of my favourite nuggets explained that the water you drink must be lukewarm, not cold, as cold water could ‘shock your system’. It must have been tough for our nomadic ancestors to cope with the constant trauma of drinking cold water. Thank goodness we have mixer taps to give us an unending stream of tepid liquid in this brave new technological world!

Clearly some people actually believe this is ‘science’, but what’s really scary is that magazines and newspapers seem to think it’s ok to print ‘health’ advice that doesn’t have any evidence to back it up.

So just in case your brain’s been exposed to any of this hazardous printed material, here’s a different kind of detox for the new year:

Detox for your brain – the truth is out there!

Colonic irrigation
No, you don’t need expensive external help to clean your insides out. That’s what your digestive system does all by itself. Isn’t evolution amazing?

Cleansing your liver
The liver breaks down anything nasty you’ve consumed (like alcohol) and conveniently gets rid of it for you. So cleansing your liver is a bit like washing a bar of soap… it doesn’t really make sense.

Fruit and veg are pretty super, but eating a kilo of broccoli a day is not the best way to stay healthy. There isn’t any  one ‘superfood’ that will cure all your ills.

Antioxidants are clever things that do lots of different jobs in the body. You probably eat plenty in your food already, so you don’t need to drink lots of green tea in the hope that the magical antioxidants will zoom straight to the wrinkles in your face and fill them up.  For more about the complicated world of antioxidants, have a look at the Cancer Research UK blog.

What is a chemical? Hmm… let’s ask Wikipedia. Well, apparently it’s a ‘material with a specific chemical composition’. Like water, for example. Or oxygen. So if something from the healthfood shop says it’s ‘chemical free’, you really should ask why they’re charging you for a bag full of nothing (not even air!). Perhaps the definition should also include ‘marketing concept’. In case you really have bought something that’s chemical free (clue: you haven’t), send it to Neville Reed at the Royal Society for Chemistry and you could win £1 million!!

Phew I think that’ll do for the moment… but there’s plenty more bulls*** out there so be careful! And watch out for those chemicals. They’re everywhere.

2 Responses to “Detox your brain”

  1. Guy Says:

    Good to see that ‘Angry Nell’ is back in town!

  2. Rebecca Says:

    Hurrah! I got worried when I saw the detox in the title but was v glad to see that you are ranting away. Also, perhaps homeopathy should be next (but with a coda on placebo effect)?

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