Assisting Your Body With Detoxification
Updated: May 23
We are seeing a lot of buzz around detoxing lately. Toxins can come to us through water, food, skin contact, and the air. Toxins can and do negatively affect every part of our body. Toxic can even have effects on the brain that include poor memory and concentration, erratic behavior, word confusion, mood issues, headaches, vertigo, and cravings. Common toxins can be absorbed through the skin (when you rub in a cream, for example), ingested (when you eat or drink), or inhaled (when you breathe). *
With proper guidance, your body is perfectly capable of eliminating toxins and doesn’t require extreme diets or expensive supplements to target such detoxification.
You can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system to ensure the best functioning of your overall health. This article explains some common misconceptions about detoxing along with several evidenced-based ways to rejuvenate your body’s detoxification system.
Let’s look at the detox diets said to eliminate toxins from your body, improve health, and promote weight loss. They often involve the use of laxatives, diuretics, and other foods thought to have detoxing properties. The term “toxin” in the context of detox diets is loosely defined. It typically includes pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, and processed foods — which all negatively affect health. However, popular detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove or the mechanism by which they supposedly eliminate them and no evidence supports the use of these diets for toxin elimination. While detox diets don’t do anything that your body can’t naturally do on its own, you can optimize your body’s natural detoxification system. Your body is designed to eliminate toxins on it’s own. Only when your organs are healthy, can they effectively detox your system.
What organs do you need to keep healthy for optimal detoxification? Your main detox organs are your liver, kidneys.
The bowels and urinary tract are extensions of these organs as wastes exit your body. The skin (via sweat) and the lungs (via breathing/expelling CO2) are also considered detoxification organs.
How do you keep them healthy? What you surround yourself with and put in your body regularly.
Here are some other topics to consider when helping your body do what it does best and remove toxins.
More than 90% of alcohol you consumed is metabolized in your liver. Regular or heavy drinking can severely damage your liver function by causing fat buildup, inflammation, and scarring. When this happens, your liver cannot function adequately and perform its necessary tasks of detoxing the body. In a nutshell, when the body wants to remove toxins, it is done in a two step process in the liver and intestines. It is important to consume amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other supportive and useful compounds to facilitate optimal detoxification processes.
Antioxidants protect your cells against damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help your body fight oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals and other toxins that increase your risk of disease. Examples of antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like moringa and matcha green tea have some of the highest amounts of antioxidants.
Foods High in Prebiotics
Gut health is crucial for keeping your whole body in check including your detoxification system. Your intestinal cells have a detoxification and excretion system that protects your gut and body from harmful toxins, but in order to do so, your gut must be loaded with prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut called probiotics. The good bacteria in your gut can become unbalanced with bad bacteria from use of antibiotics, poor dental hygiene, and diet quality. If you’ve recently been on an antibiotic or taking over the counter drugs consistently, it is important to give your gut the proper healing regime to get back on track. A morning prebiotic followed with a nightly probiotic supplement. Medications cause an unhealthy shift in bacteria that can weaken your immune and detoxification systems and increase your risk of disease and inflammation. Eating foods rich in prebiotics can keep your immune and detoxification systems healthy. Good food sources of prebiotics include tomatoes, artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, and organic oats.
Organic Herbs and Herbal Tea
Our list to help your body and incorporate in your foods are Cilantro, Schisandra, Red Clover, Dandelion Root, Burdock, Nettle, Milk Thistle, Artichoke Leaf, Hibiscus Flower, Ginger, and Parsley. These are a few and the most commonly used. Visit our store for blended teas or get individually.
Ensuring healthy sleep each night is key to support your body’s natural detoxification system. Sleeping allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts that have accumulated throughout the day. One of those waste products is a protein called beta-amyloid, which contributes to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Without proper sleep, your body does not have time to perform those functions, so toxins can build up. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night. If you have difficulties staying or falling asleep at night, lifestyle changes like sticking to a sleep schedule and limiting blue light emitted from mobile devices and computer screens prior to bed are useful for improving sleep. Herbal teas, essential oils, and magnesium have also been scientifically shown to promote sleep and help calm your body at night.
Increase Water Intake
This is a big one...another often recommended healthy habit. Water does so much more than quench your thirst. It regulates your body temperature, lubricates joints, aids digestion and nutrient absorption, and detoxifies your body by removing waste products. Your body’s cells must continuously be repaired to function optimally and break down nutrients for your body to use as energy. However, these processes also release wastes into your body in the form of urea and carbon dioxide which cause harm if allowed to build up in your blood. Water works by transporting these waste products, efficiently removing them through urination, breathing, or sweating. Despite the common belief that you should aim for 64 oz of water a day, the adequate daily intake for water is 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women. You may need more or less depending on your diet, where you live, and your activity level.
Get a water filter!
Lemon Water in the morning is an excellent way to start the day withe citrus flavonoids in lemon to help your stomach break down food, balance your pH, promote digestive health, and will give you a boost in energy first thing!
Avoid Added Sugar and Processed Foods
We discuss this topic a lot. Maybe in every article written, we recommend avoiding the ingredient “sugar” whenever possible. Sugar and processed foods are thought to be at the root of today’s public health crises. High consumption of sugary and highly processed foods has been linked to obesity and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. These diseases hinder your body’s ability to naturally detoxify itself by harming organs that play an important role, like your liver and kidneys as we have discussed.
Don’t even allow the junk food in your home. You’re more likely to avoid it if it’s not constantly accessible! Organic fruits and vegetables frozen or fresh. Get creative with them and you will enjoy them more.
Decrease Sodium Intake
Consuming too much sodium can cause your body to retain excess fluid, especially if you aren’t ensuring proper intake. This excess fluid buildup can cause bloating and make clothing uncomfortable. If you find yourself consuming too much sodium, you can detox yourself of the extra water weight. While it may sound counterintuitive, increasing your water intake is one of the best ways to eliminate excess water weight from consuming too much sodium. By increasing your water intake, your body reduces the secretion of the antidiuretic hormone and increases urination, eliminating more water and waste products.
Regular exercise is associated with a longer life and a reduced risk of many conditions and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. While there are several mechanisms behind the health benefits of exercise, reduced inflammation is a key factor.
Toss the toxins...in your home!
Switch to natural home, health, and beauty products. Choosing natural, organic can reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. The less chemicals in your body, the less your detox system has to work. Get air purifying plants, and put them to use all over your house!
You can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system and improve your overall health by staying hydrated, consuming less sodium, getting active, and following an antioxidant-rich diet that incorporates organic foods, herbs, and pre/probiotics. Sounds a lot easier than trying dozens of different unproven products, huh?
If you would like some guidance on where to start, stop in to chat with Jamie!
Michael Silbert, DC
Jamie Vess, Next to Nature
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