Toxins are everywhere these days. Just recently I heard on the radio about how driving on the freeway can expose you to a very significant amount of toxins. This is due to the gasoline and exhaust, particles from the break pads, etc. However, if the windows are closed and the air conditioning is put on circulation, the amount of air pollution on the freeway is reduced by about 75%.
But before you start to panic and take the side streets, keep in mind that the human body is able to deal with and excrete toxins very efficiently. Even if the toxic molecule has never been seen before in nature (such as a pharmaceutical or a synthetic pesticide), our liver is able to modify and package it up for excretion from the body, in urine, feces, or sweat (this is known as biotransformation).
I feel the term “detox” often brings to mind activities such as saunas, crazy green drinks, intense health retreats, etc. But keep in mind that clearance of toxic compounds from the body via the liver, gallbladder, and intestines requires important enzymes, amino acids, micronutrients, and fibers. Therefore, as a nutritionist, I feel eating various healthy foods and consuming key supportive nutrients is one of the best and safest ways to assist the body to detoxify.
Examples of foods that are superstars for detoxification are fibers like rice bran fiber, insoluble fibers like from blackberries or potato skins, leafy greens, celery, ground flaxseeds, beets, broccoli sprouts, green apples, garlic, ginger, etc. There are many more. Most of them either help with proper bile flow and clearance (bile helps us excrete toxins), offer gut support, or supply key nutrients that stimulate detoxifying enzymes.
Glutathione is very popular these days. And rightly so. It is a powerful detoxification molecule used by the body to quench toxic compounds, especially those that the liver cannot deal with effectively, such as heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and benzene, hazardous substances which all of us have by now accumulated. Therefore, I feel maintaining healthy levels of this compound is very important. Some foods that support glutathione are cruciferous vegetables and proteins (containing the key amino acids). Supplements include NAC, L-glutamine, taurine, gotu kola, selenium, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle, cordyceps, etc. Supporting glutathione can improve energy and even help support pain reduction and flare ups in inflammatory diseases as well as chemical intolerance.
There are also many steps you can take that can reduce your exposure significantly, even though we live in a toxic world. Examples are: avoiding heating plastics in the microwave with food, reducing consumption of canned foods and beverages, not using pesticides in your garden, and eating organically grown fruits and vegetables.
I have to finish this post with a plug for my 2 or 3 week detox program. It is a fantastic protocol for losing weight, supporting markers like cholesterol reduction, and not to mention improving energy, reducing bloating, etc. It involves healthy eating, which I know can be very challenging, but on this program it doesn’t have to be. I provide you with shopping lists, important resources and advice, as well as comprehensive meal planning and recipes. Also, just eating this way for 2-3 weeks can help the body to “reset” in terms of inflammation, metabolism, etc. Click here to see my program. Mention you read my blog post and receive a 25% discount on the program and the recommended supplemental detox powder.