If you’re starting down a path of making healthy changes in your life, detoxing can help to reset your body for this new journey. Even if you’ve been on this healthy journey for a while, detoxing from time to time can boost your energy, enhance your immune system and even improve mental clarity.
A healthy human body can handle certain levels of toxins just fine because it has an amazing detoxification system built right in:
· The intestines have an enormous amount of bacteria (gut flora) which protects you and neutralizes toxic substances.
· The kidneys flush out toxins through urine.
· The liver filters out toxins that circulate in the blood.
· The lungs filter the air we breathe and get rid of toxins through exhaling and coughing.
· The skin sweats out toxins.
· The lymph nodes serve as a series of internal cleaning filters.
But in this day and age, our bodies are subject to more toxins than ever. We simply can’t handle the high amount of toxins we encounter on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, it's possible to have more than 200 toxins in your blood even before you are born. This is precisely why we should make daily choices that help our bodies detoxify.
Where do I start?
The benefits of detoxing will be minimal if we don’t first reduce our daily toxic exposure. Starting small will help you to stick with it. Here’s a starting point to grow from:
1) Start with filtering your water and drinking lots of it. Chlorine disrupts gut flora and fluoride drains the body of magnesium. The Medical College of Wisconsin research team found a close connection between cancer and chlorinated water.
2) Eat more vegetables. Buying only organic will keep pesticides/herbicides off of your plate. But if you can't afford it, try using the Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen as a guide - http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
3) Spend some time in the sauna sweating those toxins out. If you have access to one, an infrared sauna is even better since it works more deeply. When compared to traditional Swedish saunas, infrared saunas allow you to eliminate about seven times more toxins.
4) Add probiotic supplements and fermented foods to your diet. This will improve your gut flora which will help you deal with toxins. As a side benefit, your digestion and immune system will also improve.
5) Add detoxing herbs to your daily routine. Some examples are:
· Dandelion Greens
· Milk Thistle
· Garlic (not exactly an herb)
· Burdock Root
6) Add some apple cider vinegar to your drinking water. ACV has great cleansing properties. It helps the body to remove toxins before allowing them to accumulate. It's also known to aid digestion, detoxify the liver, purify the blood and improve circulation.
7) Epsom salt baths. Not only does this flush toxins through your skin, it also contains magnesium which provides a calming effect.
8) Dry brushing gets your lymphatic fluid moving, helping to detox the body. It also exfoliates your skin and increases circulation. It involves brushing your skin with a firm-bristled brush. Start at your feet and work your way up. The idea is to always brush towards your heart to help the lymph fluid flow properly.
9) We’ve been adding things into the diet. Now let’s look at what we can remove:
· Start with processed food and high fructose corn syrup (yes, this includes most sodas).
· GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). By the way, most processed food is made with GMOs in order to make a cheaper product.
· Conventional dairy products. There are 4 levels of pasteurization. When milk is heated beyond 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the enzymes are destroyed making it harder to digest. And certainly stay away from products with hormones, such as rBGH.
· Hydrogenated oils like canola, shortening, cottonseed, peanut and vegetable oil. These are highly processed and contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which are inflammatory.
· Soy products. Corn and soy are the top two genetically modified crops making it difficult to find organic soy. Furthermore, even organic soy can create estrogen imbalances in males and females.
· Other commonly allergenic foods such as gluten, eggs, corn, peanuts and artificial sweeteners.
10) Sometimes, we need more than just minor improvements; we need a full body cleanse. This is where the order in which we cleanse becomes important. You don’t really want to release a flood of toxins into a system that isn’t capable of properly eliminating them. By starting with the colon and kidneys, you’re helping the body to be more efficient with removing toxins. This will also help your body deal with your daily toxin load as well.
The exact order in which to detox has been a topic of debate. Typically, it will look something like this:
1. Colon (Intestinal)
5. Lymphatic System
Although purchasing a cleansing kit isn’t necessary, there is no shortage of kits to be found. Look for cleanses that are low in sugar, use organic ingredients and remove common food allergens. Don’t be afraid to go slow. Remember, this isn’t a race. If necessary, there are other types of targeted cleanses for parasitic, candida (yeast) and heavy metal chelation.
Take the next step
Removing harmful chemicals in our homes can go a long way to help reduce our toxic load. There are many hidden sources of toxins that we encounter every day without realizing it. Even some "health foods" can be toxic. Always read labels and try to buy organic. Some places to look for hidden sources of toxins can include:
· Teeth – Some dentists will use amalgams or “silver fillings” which contain fifty percent mercury. The effects of mercury toxicity are vast and mimic many other conditions. There is no safe level of mercury exposure.
· Cookware – Metals can leach into the food being cooked and non-stick coatings can chip away into your food.
· Flame retardants – This is often added to many household items such as furniture, electronics, appliances and even baby products. Flame-retardant chemicals have been linked to decreased fertility, thyroid problems, cancer, and more.
· Plastics – Plastics are everywhere. They can leach bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates into our foods and beverages (especially when heated). Both of these chemicals mimic hormones in the body.
· Personal hygiene/household products (toothpaste, deodorant, makeup, perfume, soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, etc.) – Try to switch all products to safer alternatives. What you put on your skin does get into your body.
Obviously, there are many more ways to detox and even different orders in which to do it. The main point is to consider how we encounter toxins daily and to continually look for ways to reduce our toxic load and improve our detoxing efficiency.
Health is contagious. Finding or creating a small support group can double your efforts.
Guest blogger* - Steve Parish, Flightglobal
* The views expressed in the articles by our bloggers are the opinion of the author only and if anyone has any concerns and /or is already taking medication or has a medical condition, should seek their GP or specialists advice first before taking any supplements or trying any new treatments.