Detoxification: Decreasing Toxic Burden

The terms detoxing and cleansing have become common language in regards to promising weight loss, more energy, better sleep, hydration, blood sugar balance, and overall enhanced functioning of the digestive and immune systems and the liver. On a quest to encourage healthy cells throughout your body, detoxification is a powerful endeavor to explore if you suffer from a chronic disease or are an athlete seeking to gain a performance edge.

Detoxifying is naturally part of our daily cycle and is managed by two major organs, those being the liver and the kidneys. The liver and kidneys are the powerhouses that filter out the junk and direct it to elimination pathways within our body, the colon and urinary tract. The liver is the hub of detoxification. When we neglect our liver through a lack of nutrients or overburden it by an increased toxic load, the liver’s capacity to detoxify becomes compromised.

A question to ask is, ‘What are the circumstances to our body if we accumulate more toxins than our detoxification and elimination pathways can manage?’ Here is where toxic burden comes into play. Toxic burden is the accumulation in our bodies of chemical compounds found in our food, air and water. If not properly managed, toxic burden can result in disease of the immune, neurologic and endocrine systems. Common symptoms from toxic burden include autoimmunity, asthma, allergies, cognitive deficit, mood changes, reproductive dysfunction, changes in libido and glucose dysregulation.

To optimize your health and decrease toxic burden contaminating your body, detoxification proves to be incredibly beneficial. Along with detoxification, look to choose organic, unprocessed foods, environmentally friendly cleansers, reduce the use of plastics, use over-the-counter drugs sparingly (or not at all if able), do what is possible through lifestyle modifications to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, and use quality non-toxic skincare products. We have all been exposed to toxins, so by eliminating foods and chemicals from the diet and environment, the body will be better able to repair tissues and eliminate toxins which can help you to feel better faster, enjoy better health, and live longer.

Where to start? Begin to practice detoxification and making healthy lifestyle changes to control toxins on a daily basis. By doing so, you will be supporting your organs and your body with thank you. If you do not feel comfortable taking on detoxification on your own, consult with a practitioner who can tailor a program to your specific needs and guide you through the process.

Below are some detoxification tips to consider as you take on cleansing your body:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
    • Best way to cleanse the kidneys
    • Drink up to 50% of your body weight in fluid ounces
  • Eat plenty of salt
    • Helps detox your body properly
  • Eat plenty of deeply colored fruits and vegetables 
    • Look to consume 7 servings or more per day
    • Food options: Artichokes, Broccoli, Leafy Greens (Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Kale, Cabbage), Pomegranate, Winter Squash
  • Eat meat raised by local farmers and organic products
    • Look to purchase products from local farmers where pesticides are not sprayed on the food in the farm fields
  • Avoid fatty and fried foods, alcohol and caffeine 
    • These foods and drinks compromise liver detoxification
  • Drink green tea as an alternative to coffee
    • Consume 4-6 cups per day
  • Incorporate spices into your meals
    • Options: Chilies, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric
  • Ensure you have one to two well-formed bowel movements daily
    • Without proper bowel movements, fewer toxins are excreted from the body
  • Be active
    • Incorporate some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes per day
  •  Sweat
    • Try incorporating vigorous exercise, hot yoga, and/or visits to the sauna
    • Our skin is a major organ of elimination
    • Make sure to shower right after an intense sweat session
  • Eat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime
    • This allows your body to focus on detoxifying rather than digesting while you sleep
  • Eliminate personal care and makeup products full of chemicals
    • Pay attention to personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, hand soaps, fragrances, makeup, and others that contain chemicals known to not be safe
  • Avoid plastics
    • Plastics leach chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system
  • Use natural non-toxic cleaning products
    • Many store-bought cleansing products contain ingredients full of chemicals, which is unhealthy for our bodies to ingest and absorb

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