4 Simple Steps to Naturally Detoxify Your Body
Let’s make it simple….we are all bombarded by toxins day in and day out through the food supply, the water we drink, bathe, and swim in, personal hygiene and cosmetic items we use, and the air we breathe. In addition to these external toxins, we also have internal toxins that are created by improper digestion or hormone imbalances.
Never before has the human body been presented with such a heavy burden of foreign substances to metabolize and eliminate. There are over 80,000 chemicals in use today and only a fraction of them are ever tested for safety! Over 90% of chemical pesticides are found in our food supply alone. In addition, excessive use of fast food, caffeine, and alcohol are prevalent among adults in the US, and don’t forget the widespread use of over-the-counter and prescriptive medications to top it off. All of these components tax the human body beyond its natural capabilities of detoxification.
The formal definition of detoxification is: The process where we convert internal & external toxins into substances that can be removed from our body.
Most toxins are fat soluble or better known as “fat-loving” and seek out our fat and nerve cells, reproductive organs, and the liver to reside. We can’t dodge these toxins but when our body is overloaded with toxicity and our natural detoxification organs can’t keep up in removing the toxins, problems occur with our health and unexplainable symptoms present themselves.
Toxicity, infection, and hormone imbalances make it impossible to lose weight and feel good. Toxins burn cell membranes, irritate the lining of blood vessels, and damage the mitochondria (power house) of our cells. In order to reduce the risk of health problems like heart disease and cancer from toxin exposure, proactive steps must be taken to detoxify and eliminate and reduce toxins from the body.
The most common toxins found in the human body include:
The most common warning signs of toxicity include:
In addition to the symptoms mentioned previously, if you find yourself relating to one or more of the conditions listed below you would definitely benefit from detoxification:
- Chemical sensitivities – this is sensitivity to odors like cologne, perfume, deodorizers, scented candles, etc.
- Sensitivity to or poor tolerance of medications or nutrition supplements
- Thyroid or hormonal issues
- Skin disruptions like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, or rashes
- Don’t sweat appropriately – when you work out hard or go into the sauna, you don’t sweat very much
- Constipation – this is defined as <1 bowel movement a day
- Excess cellulite
- Edema or water retention – may see more around your ankles with sock lines, waist with waist lines, fingers with your rings tight
Now that you understand how toxicity affects your health, and perhaps relate to some of the signs and symptoms you might be experiencing, what can you do? You start by eliminating them, in other words…you don’t take them in! Here are some simple tips to start reducing the amount of toxins that would otherwise be stored in your body fat.
- Let’s start with the air you breath– We often think of pollution as something outside but the truth is the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can be just as polluted as the outside air. The air inside your home can be contaminated by lead (in house dust), formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, carbon monoxide, volatile chemicals from conventional cleaners, microscopic dust mites, mold and pet dander. It’s important to make sure that you change the air filter in your home every three months. Be sure to have routine inspections of the furnace before operating in the fall. Install carbon monoxide detectors inside the home and on each floor if you live in a multiple level home to detect carbon monoxide poisoning. If the home has moisture, identify the source and properly eliminate it and remove water damaged materials from the home to eliminate harmful mold and dust mites that can create serious health problems. Keep the humidity inside the home around 30%- 50% to help keep allergens under control, and if needed purchase a dehumidifier to reduce moisture. Make your home a smoke-free zone. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, which is associated with increased risk of multiple health conditions related to breathing in second hand smoke. Finally, eliminate the use of conventional household cleaners and switch to natural/organic household cleaners to decrease exposure to chemicals and toxins that pollute the air quality.
- Don’t drink that water- We know that water is a life sustaining source, however not all water is created equal. Tap water is tainted with toxins that are dangerous to your health, so caution should be taken when drinking and bathing using tap water. Do yourself a favor and invest in a filtration system or at least purchase a filter for your drinking faucets and shower heads to reduce your exposure to harms toxins. The EPA’s lenient standards allow for common toxins like arsenic, boric acid, formaldehyde, pesticides, lead, fluorosilicic acid, and harmful bacteria such as E.coli in the tap water. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, harmful pharmaceutical medicines like antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones are found in the drinking water supply. That’s a pretty scary list so make sure you take action to protect yourself and don’t forget to change your filters frequently to ensure good health by reducing exposure to these toxins. In addition, you can check the TRI (Toxins Release Inventory) report for chemicals in your area by visiting the EPA website.
- Stop! Don’t eat that-Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body that contains essential nutrients to support health, but some food sources also contain dangerous toxins that can make you sick, fat and feel like crap. It is difficult to know where to begin because our food supply is so tainted with substances that are harming our health, but let’s take a look at some of the issues with conventional products:
Let’s start with meat. We are told we need to make protein a priority at all meals and snacks to support our resting metabolism, balance blood sugar, build lean muscle tissue, and support the immune system, however if we are consuming protein sources from conventionally raised animals it may be doing more harm than good. Conventionally raised animals are fed diets that consist of grains such as soy and corn. The animals ingest the grains that are treated with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers and then stored as toxins in the fat of the animals. The animals fed grain diets also have higher Omega-6 levels which contribute to inflammation. When selecting proteins from animals its best to purchase pasture-raised, grass-fed, or all natural choices. Look for the organic label to ensure that it’s been raised without hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. When selecting seafood avoid anything farm raised and choose wild caught. Simply swapping your proteins out for less toxic options will increase your intake of Omega-3 and decrease your toxicity. One thing to note about eating organic meat is that it does not have to cost you your whole paycheck. I often look for discounted meats that are close to the sell by date, buy them in bulk and freeze them when I get home for later use.
Dairy products should be organic as well for all of the same reasons mentioned above but specifically to reduce exposure to recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that is marketed to dairy farmers to increase milk production in cows. It has been used in the United States since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, but its use is not permitted in the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Cows treated with the rBGH tend to develop infected udders and are treated more heavily with antibiotics to reduce infections. Bovine growth hormone levels are not higher in milk from cows treated with rBGH, however the milk from cows treated with rBGH have another hormone known as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels that are much higher. This raises concern because the hormone IGF-1 helps some types of cells to grow. Research indicates that levels of high IGF-1 correlate with development of certain tumors, potentially increasing the risk of cancer.
I often refer my clients to cured meats because they are an easy way to add protein to the diet especially when you are on the go. However, cured meats are another area of concern due to the long shelf life and added preservatives. These preservatives know as nitrates or nitrites slow down the breakdown of fats in the package, and unfortunately your body too! So make sure to read the labels and look for “naturally uncured” or “nitrate and nitrite free” varieties of bacon, sausage, deli meats, jerky and smoked salmon. Applegate is one of my favorite brands for naturally cured meats and they taste the same as the artificially cured alternatives but are safer because they use natural ingredients like sea salt and celery juice to preserve the meats.
We’ve all been told an apple a day keeps the doctor away but if that apple has been treated with pesticides you might want to pass. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. The negative health effects of pesticides are numerous and depending on the type of chemical it can have carcinogenic effect, or may affect hormones and the endocrine system. You can view a full list of the EPA’s human health risk assessment of pesticides on the web. Produce should make up 50% of the food on your plate so make sure that you purchase organic produce for the “dirty dozen” and choose a variety of items from the “clean fifteen”.
The Dirty Dozen are the fruits and vegetables that have the highest levels of pesticide residue and are ranked starting with the most toxic.
The Dirty Dozen:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Imported nectarines
- Imported grapes
- Domestic blueberries
The Clean Fifteen are the fruits and vegetables that are pesticide-free in non-organic form.
The Clean Fifteen:
- Frozen sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
Finally, it’s important to note that we need to avoid artificial sweeteners that are not found in nature. Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), c yclamate, alitame, acesulfame-K, and neotame are manmade chemicals used to sweeten products. The problem with these artificial sweeteners is that each one has a different chemical makeup with potentially different side effects; however they are all derived from known dangerous chemical compounds. Unfortunately, limited research has been done on these artificial sweeteners to know exactly the extent of danger they present to the human body. So to be safe, avoid artificial sweeteners and use natural sweeteners like honey and raw cane sugar, but remember to use these in moderation because they can have toxic effects to the body as well.
- Don’t forget to sweat- Using the dry sauna can be very helpful for excreting toxins from the body. The infrared light penetrates the skin deeper allowing for the ion bonds of large water molecules to break up into smaller particles releasing toxins by trapping them into the sweat. Not all toxins are excreted through sweat and some are released into the bloodstream and are eliminated via the liver, kidneys, and bowels. For optimal results, use the dry sauna a minimum of three times a week for 15 minutes or as tolerated. Consult with your physician if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant before using the sauna. It’s important to note that you must rinse off immediately after exiting the dry sauna to ensure that the toxins have been removed and are not absorbed back into the bloodstream through the skin.
I could go on and on about other things that we can do to detoxify the body, but I will wrap it up here. I hope that you have found this information to be beneficial and that you will start detoxing your body one step at a time. You can take it one step further by following a detoxification program that assists the liver in phase 1 and phase 2 of detoxification to remove harmful toxins trapped in the liver tissue and fat cells of the body. For more information on how to detoxify, please contact me.