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Is it healthy to detox with salt?

Feeling sluggish, itchy, bloated and achy all over? Think you could use a detox? Detox, detoxification or body cleanse is the process through which toxins accumulating in your system are removed with the help of water, fibrous food, juices, exercise, meditation or pranayam. The toxins that we speak of are the by-products of food, chemicals that enter your system through cosmetics, clothes or air, pesticides in food or mycotoxins generated by mould. What all these toxins have in common is their ability to accumulate in your system and manifest as various types of ailments such as acne, fatigue, weight gain, halitosis, constipation, muscle pain and even irritability and mood swings.

The commonest and possibly the easiest way to detox is through water because it can literally wash your system clean, dislodging all the accumulated waste and carrying the toxins out of your body. But as efficient as water is, the health world has taken a fancy towards a new type of detox that involves sea salt. How exactly is a salt detox done? Salt detox fanatics recommend doing a salt cleanse on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. Sea salt is ground to a coarse powder after which it is added to warm water. The saline water is then had on an empty stomach, sip-by-sip.

Unlike table salt, which is processed, sea salt is rich in minerals like magnesium sulphate, calcium sulphate, calcium chloride and potassium chloride.1  Salt water is said to course through your stomach, cleansing it by sloughing off all the accumulated toxins and nourishing your body with its rich mineral repository. As awesome as it sounds, what do the experts think of it?

Won’t recommend it

Contrary to what the salt-water detox fanatics say, experts don’t recommend a saline cleanse at all! Dietician Geeta Shenoy says, “We use salt water only to induce vomiting, as a means to clean the stomach of any residue. It’s mainly because the human body can’t take too much salt at one go and starts expelling it out of the body and not because salt has any special cleansing powers.”

Dietician and nutrition consultant Ranjani Raman, founder, Nutrilife says that the detox cannot be considered as a one-size-fits-all solution. She sums up her opinion about salt detox: “Although salt can help balance certain minerals and has a mild antibacterial effect, I wouldn’t recommend saline detox to anyone. Salt detox is not recommended in many cases, especially in hypertension where it is said to aggravate the symptoms. It is also dangerous for people with diabetes, low blood pressure, kidney problems, oedema and cardiovascular problems. Saline detox can also be bad for those who don’t drink enough water because salt can cause dehydration.”

According to experts, a detox with just water is far safer. “It’s better to detox with fibre-rich fruits and vegetables. The human body is equipped to clean itself without any external aid,” says Ranjani.


1. Lee, B.-H., Yang, A.-R., Kim, M. Y., McCurdy, S., & Boisvert, W. A. (2017). Natural sea salt consumption confers protection against hypertension and kidney damage in Dahl salt-sensitive rats. Food & Nutrition Research, 61(1), 1264713. http://doi.org/10.1080/16546628.2017.1264713

Image source: Shutterstock

Published: September 25, 2017 3:50 pm

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