Toxins are everywhere…they’re all around us! The foods we eat and the products we use every day are loaded with chemicals, preservatives, dyes, colors, sweeteners and much more. All things we are not designed to process and that impact our body at a cellular level. These chemicals, in addition to the trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, caffeine and alcohol we ingest, are making it difficult for our bodies to keep up. Indeed, even the most diligent of “clean eaters” will come in contact with toxins in their daily life, either from the surrounding environment or just from their own metabolic processes.
The question is how much of these toxins and pollutants are too much…and can we do anything about it? I think we can.
Your body works very hard to remove harmful toxins and built-up waste and pollutants. It does this with the help of the GI tract, kidneys, liver, lymphatic system and skin. When toxic overload occurs, it can manifest itself in various ways. Inflammation is the first step in a cascade of problems that can lead to diabetes, heart disease, migraines, bloating and gas, food intolerances, fatigue and even cancer. Although some exposure to toxicity is beyond our control, we are not helpless. Our daily food decisions can go a long way in limiting our net toxic load. Cleansing is a great way to support and fuel the body’s natural detoxification systems. You might think the only way to detox is to buy expensive shakes or starve yourself on a juice fast, but that’s just not the case. You can detox naturally and safely simply by changing your diet.
Below are 5 tips to get you started on a detox lifestyle:
1. Start Eating Cleansing Foods. Foods that naturally decrease inflammation in the body should be staples in your diet. These foods support whole body detoxification and provide healing nutrients to all your cells. Plant-based foods like fresh fruit, vegetables and dark leafy greens (i.e., kale, spinach, chard) are like medicine to your cells and should be the foundation of your diet. Protein and essential fatty acids found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive and coconut oils, and cold water fish are also important.
2. Eat High Fiber Carbs. Toxins need to get out of the body and fiber helps greatly in this process. High quality carbohydrates like fresh vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains are the best sources of fiber and are the body’s vehicles of elimination. Fiber improves regularity, provides bulk to the stool and binds toxins in the GI tract for rapid elimination.
3. Drink Water. Water is another important tool for flushing out toxins. Start drinking water with every meal and cut back on soda, alcohol and coffee. Squeeze fresh lemon and orange juice and sprinkle herbs like mint and rosemary into your water to add flavor and natural sweetness. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day!
4. Exercise and Sweat Daily. Sweat is one of the body’s exit routes for toxins. Regular exercise and stretching not only improves circulation and oxygen delivery, but it also helps to release and eliminate toxins that are stored in our fat cells. Saunas and warm Epsom salt baths can also help to excrete toxic residue through sweat.
5. Take Detox Supportive Supplements. Supplements can help support the liver and kidney with detoxification. Dandelion and burdock root have been used for centuries in detoxification as well as milk thistle for liver support. Probiotics and digestive enzymes can help with digestion and elimination. A high quality multivitamin containing vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E and minerals like magnesium, calcium and selenium is also key. Omega 3 fats like DHA and EPA are also potent anti-inflammatories.
Use these simple tips to live a detox lifestyle every day! Feel confident that you’re taking steps to provide your body with the regenerating nutrients it need to aid in its own natural repair and healing. And know that you’re working towards limiting the effects of toxins in your food and the environment.
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The Supplemental is a blog for "Life...supplemented", a forum for discussion around healthy diet, supplements and exercise. Our panel of experts who share a variety of fresh and innovative perspectives, will provide ways to live a healthier life and inspire you to make smart choices.
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