When you hear the word “detox,” you might think drug detox, or alcohol detox, or wheatgrass enemas. That’s not what I’m referring to here. When I talk about detoxification, I mean the science of how your body gets rid of waste.
If waste builds up, you get sick and fat. The key becomes figuring out how to enhance your body’s capacity to detoxify and get rid of waste while minimizing your exposure to toxins.
In her book The Need For Balance: Body, Mind, Spirit, Lorraine LaJoi says there are approximately 80,000 toxic chemicals registered for use in the United States. Very few have been tested for their long-term impact on human health. And let me tell you, the results aren’t pretty for those that have been tested.
According to the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average newborn baby has almost 300 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood, so imagine how many you have been exposed to in your life.
Altogether, how can we not be affected by this massive amount of poison?
Numerous culprits contribute to toxicity. Among them include:
- Heavy metals, mercury and lead, petrochemicals, residues, pesticides and fertilizers.
- Food allergies, environmental allergies, molds and toxins from molds.
- Our standard American diet (SAD indeed).
- Stress. The mental, emotional and spiritual toxins that affect us include isolation, loneliness, anger, jealousy, hostility, which all translate into toxins in our system.
- Medications. Often we need medications, but the reality is that most of us are over-medicated. Modifying lifestyle and diet often provide better, safe alternatives to medication.
- Internal toxins, things like bacteria, fungus, and yeast that are inside our gut and may be affecting us, as well as hormonal and metabolic toxins we need to eliminate.
I could go on, but you understand just what a massive toxic load most of us carry. The simple truth is that we are living in a sea of toxins that destroys our bodies and brains. Signs that you’re toxic include fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, gas, bloating, and headaches.
In a healthy body, the process of detoxification runs smoothly. When you become toxic, the mechanism for detoxification in the liver gets sluggish, and certain toxins can remain active longer than we want or than our systems can handle. This makes us sick and impedes normal metabolism. It also causes fluid retention, bloat, and puffiness.
If you are overweight, you are toxic by definition, because most environmental chemicals like pesticides and plastics are stored in your fat tissue. As you lose weight, you need to flush out the toxins that get released from your fat tissue. Otherwise, they can poison your metabolism and impair weight loss.
In fact, nearly every chronic disease on the planet has links to toxicity, including dementia, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and digestive issues.
I’ve helped numerous patients reduce their toxic load. While some require more advanced tactics, these five strategies become a good starting point to reduce your level of toxins:
1. Incorporate detox foods.
Cruciferous vegetables, herbs and spices, green tea, and sulfur-containing foods like barnyard eggs are among the foods that help your liver detoxify.
2. Add detox nutrients.
N-acetylcysteine, milk thistle, and vitamin C are among the nutrients that play a role in detoxification. Everyone should take a good multivitamin with optimal amounts of zinc and selenium, as well as fish oil.
3. Fix your gut.
Gut imbalances are a key source of toxins for many. Fixing your gut might require visiting a functional doctor. Most people see dramatic improvements eliminating food sensitivities like gluten and dairy.
4. Get moving.
This helps your blood and lymphatic circulation do its job. Whether you're a novice or pro, you'll benefit from some kind of exercise plan that you enjoy.
5. Detox your mind, heart, and spirit.
This is just as important as detoxing your body, and it’s an area few of us ever think about as a source of toxins. Whether it involves yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, find something that works for you and do it regularly. My UltraCalm CD is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.
Optimal daily detoxification also requires drinking 8 to 10 glasses of filtered water, minimizing drugs including caffeine and alcohol, sweating regularly, and avoiding sugar in all its forms like the plague.
Incorporating these steps will help to correct problems caused by toxicity, maximize your body’s own detoxification capacity, and help you safely eliminate toxins stores in your body.
Remember, getting rid of toxins and learning how to optimize your detoxification system is essential for losing weight and creating lifelong vibrant health.
If you’ve ever done a detox, what was the biggest benefit you received? Did you find maintaining the program challenging? Share your story below or on my Facebook page.
And are you ready to learn more about what anxiety, brain health, and your diet all have in common? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Dr. Mark Hyman.