Human beings regularly eat, drink, breathe, and handle toxins without even a thought of the damage to ourselves or potential exposure to our loved ones. In fact, a recent article in the British Medical Journal quotes a study estimating that 75 percent of most cancers are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors, including exposure to chemicals. Another report by the Columbia University School of Public Health shows that approximately 95 percent of cancer is caused by diet and environmental toxicity. Alarmingly, other studies show that most Americans have somewhere between 400 and 800 chemicals stored in their bodies, usually in fat cells.
Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere including our water, air, and food. Most do not realize the accumulating health effects because they are subtle, beginning with general health symptoms such as fatigue, forgetfulness, and increased illnesses. The full impact may not come until we are diagnosed with a chronic health condition and/or disease.
With all the environmental and dietary exposures to chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins, how do we improve our health?
We begin with the removal of substances harmful to our bodies. Detoxification, detox for short, is the body’s natural, ongoing process of either eliminating or neutralizing toxins from the body.
Toxins include anything that can possibly harm body tissue, even waste products that are excreted from normal cell processes, such as ammonia, lactic acid, and homocysteine, as well as man-made toxins to which we are exposed. Our liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, skin, blood, and lymphatic systems work together to make sure that these toxins are changed chemically into less harmful compounds and excreted from the body.
The blood, for example, transports nutrients in from the foods we eat and transports waste products out to the liver. The liver is a key organ for detox because it has over 400 functions and filters over one liter of blood every minute. Our bodies are detoxifying 24 hours a day!
Detoxification Through Healthy Living
Next, a diet that supports the body’s ability to efficiently remove toxins and to maintain or improve our health will amplify the natural detoxification performed by your body. If your health is impaired, improving your diet will facilitate efficient elimination. Sadly, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in fat, sugar, refined grains, fast foods, and processed foods and low in water, fiber, and fresh nutrient-dense food. Our body’s pathways of elimination become overburdened due to the lack of vitamins and minerals necessary for all the functions of the body. This leads, eventually, to chronic health difficulties and disease.
- Eliminate processed or refined foods.
- Eliminate sugar, artificial sweeteners, and additives.
- Increase water intake to 8 – 10 eight-ounce glasses per day (filtered).
- Eat whole, organic fruits.
- Eat at least 5 – 7 servings of green, leafy, red, and orange vegetables (organic preferred).
- Choose free-range, organic eggs, meats, poultry, and wild-caught fish.
- Eat organic grains, nuts, beans, and seeds.
- May need to avoid dairy and gluten as they often create sensitivities.
- Exercise regularly according to your doctor’s recommendations.
- Get restful sleep, preferably 7-8 hours per night.
If you have not been committed to healthy eating, a lifestyle change is needed and foundational in improving your body’s ability to remove toxins. However, you can make important changes on your own that would strengthen your health and the body’s ability to efficiently remove waste. Remember, the human body has tremendous potential to improve, and you can start today by making healthier decisions about what you eat!