While most of us would enjoy spending a hot summer day frolicking in a cool, refreshing, crystal clear swimming hole, there are not very many who would choose to dip even one toe into the chemically laden “toxic soup” that has permeated so many aspects of our environment. Unfortunately, we live in a toxic world where chemicals, carcinogens, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and industrial pollutants are nearly inescapable. The fact is that over 80,000 chemicals are found in everyday items, including wrinkle-free clothing, fire retardant furniture, household cleaners, beauty products, plastics, and packaging materials. The majority of these chemicals have not been tested for health risks, but are assumed to be safe until proven otherwise. Environmental and industrial chemicals can be found in our food supply, soil, air, and water.
This constant stream of exposure can have a measureable negative impact on the health of our natural world and on the general health of citizens worldwide. While bodily processes strive to combat and eliminate both environmental toxins and those naturally produced through normal bodily chemical reactions, the body is not well equipped to handle the barrage of pollutants we are exposed to on a daily basis. Studies have shown that even healthy people may have numerous cancer-causing environmental and industrial chemicals in their bodies. Frighteningly, chemical pollution begins in the womb. Research has shown that chemical exposure is so ubiquitous that hundreds of chemicals can be found in umbilical cord blood of newborns. While our bodies have built-in defenses to stop or correct the damage these toxins can do, over time toxins can build up inside the body causing unhealthy genetic changes to our cells and overtaxing our immune and detoxification systems.
Exposure can be minimized through mindfulness, diligence and knowledge. By decreasing the number of toxins we put into our bodies, we can improve and optimize the body’s natural detoxification processes. If you have unexplained fatigue, insomnia, bloating, sluggish elimination, irritated skin, mood swings, persistent headaches or low-grade infections, your body may be in need of a detox. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, board certified internist and internationally recognized expert in the field of Functional and Integrative Medicine, you can actively support your organs of elimination to aid your body in performing more efficiently. A concentration on fresh, nourishing foods and targeted nutrients will aid in neutralizing or eliminating not only environmental toxins, but also the internal toxins the body creates as it performs its normal everyday functions. According to Dr. Lipman, reducing toxic exposure helps to boost energy levels, reduce bloating, improve sleep and digestion, relieve aches and pains, clear up skin issues and maintain long-term good health.
- Avoid plastic water bottles and canned goods that are lined with BPA, an industrial chemical that has been found to interfere with hormone production, secretion, function and elimination.
- Switch to beauty products that do not contain phthalates and triclosan. Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical linked to liver toxicity and thyroid hormone dysfunction. Phthalates are a group of chemicals known as plasticizers used in personal care products, adhesives, detergents and flooring. According to the CDC, phthalates are found in measurable levels in the general population, the health effects of which are still being studied.
- Minimize use of chemically based household cleansers and substitute with natural alternatives.
- Eat clean with whole unprocessed foods, organic when possible. Limit your toxic load by eliminating harmful foods and irritants, such as added sugars and refined and processed foods.
- Reduce stress levels to normalize cortisol levels, as elevated levels can slow liver detoxification processes.
- Support optimal digestion with fiber-filled fruits and vegetables, and digestive enzymesthat enhance nutrient availability. Beets, cabbage, broccoli and chlorella are excellent detoxifying foods. Drink several glasses of water with fresh lemon daily to stimulate liver enzymes to help flush toxins and ramp up digestive elimination processes.
- Break a sweat each day to release toxins through the skin. High concentrations of phthalates, BPA and heavy metals found in perspiration suggest that sweating is a very good way to eliminate toxins.
- Try restorative yoga to encourage blood and oxygen flow and help eliminate toxic emotions and thoughts. Twist poses that massage and stimulate intestinal organs help to relive bloating and restore regularity.
- Dry brush the skin to stimulate the lymphatic system, which is responsible for eliminating cellular waste products. Dry brushing encourages the movement of lymph fluid which must rely solely on muscle movement. Dry brushing exfoliates dead skin cells, unclogs pores, promotes healthy skin and helps to break down cellulite that accumulates in fat cells. Use a long handled natural bristle brush, begin at the feet and brush in long sweeping motions toward the heart.
- Prioritize sleep, which is fundamental to support elimination processes, cellular renewal and overall good health. Sleep is critical for brain detoxification. An NIH funded study suggested that sleep clears the brain of damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration.
- Supplement with a multivitamin, vitamins C and D3, and omega-3 fish oil to support immune and overall health.
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Types of Pollution. http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/Types_of_Pollution
Formaldehyde in clothing and textiles. www.nicnas.gov.au/communications/publications/information-sheets/existing-chemical-info-sheets/formaldehyde-in-clothing-and-textiles-factsheet
Why Are Trace Chemicals Showing Up in Umbilical Cord Blood? http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/chemicals-umbilical-cord-blood/
Our Bodies Have So Many More Cancer-Causing Chemicals Than We Thought. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/06/carcinogens-cancer-chemicals-environmental-working-group-list-pesticides
3 – Day Summer Reset. http://res.mindbodygreen.com/doc/be-well-clean-eating-3-day-summer-reset.pdf
10 Ways to Detoxify Your Body. http://life.gaiam.com/article/10-ways-detoxify-your-body
Why Sweating Is The Best Way To Get Rid of Toxins. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15166/why-sweating-is-the-best-way-to-get-rid-of-toxins.html
Beat Belly Boat with Yoga. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20737691,00.html
Brain My Flush Out Toxins During Sleep. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/brain-may-flush-out-toxins-during-sleep