Helping your body to detoxify itself adequately is crucial in the modern world where we are bombarded with toxins from almost every angle. Eating the right foods to detoxify the body will help keep you in a state of optimum detoxification, which in turn will keep your skin clear, your mind sharp, and your immune system firing on all cylinders.
The body truly is an amazing thing, and is in a state of constant detoxification day and night, 24/7, every day of our lives. It never stops being busy filtering and expelling the harmful toxins, chemicals, parabens, fertilizers and heavy metals that are continuously entering systems from our exposure to modern life.
Where Do All These Toxins Come From?
If we live in big cities we are exposed to car exhaust fumes and industrial chemicals, or if we live in the country we may be exposed to fertilizers and pesticides from our neighbouring farms. The water we drink has been treated with chemicals to make it ‘safer‘ for human consumption, and the standard diet is filled with chemical additives, preservatives, trans-fats, refined sugars and pesticides.
And it doesn’t end there unfortunately, as pretty much everything we use on our bodies, including shampoos, soaps, perfumes, toothpaste, creams and make up, are all filled with many harsh chemicals, parabens and other toxic nasties too! These make their way into your system, disrupting hormones and doing all sorts of other damage on their way.
Then there is the home itself, which has been cleaned with another host of chemicals such as bleaches or other highly toxic products. On top of that we may spray our air with yet more synthetic chemicals in the form of air fresheners which are actually designed to be directly breathed straight into our bodies.
This constant toxic assault may slowly build up in our system and cause damage!
Now you can see where all these chemicals are coming from you can see the scale of the problem and start to work on finding solutions. I mean, it’s little wonder most of us feel under par, tired and lacking in energy and zest when our body is battling to detoxify itself from what would otherwise be a deadly chemical assault.
We weren’t designed to deal with the environment we find ourselves in now and it shows in many of us. We are plagued by lack of energy, dull and listless skin, mental illnesses, and many other modern day diseases. We are obviously LOSING this battle. That is why it is vital we take steps today in giving our detoxification systems a helping hand and not rely solely on our over burdened bodies to do all the hard work.
It’s true, the body is designed to detoxify itself but it can only do this to a certain extent, then toxic overload may take hold and cause the immune system to start breaking down, thus causing all sorts of problems for us in the long term.
6 DETOXIFICATION SYSTEMS
1. THE LIVER
The liver produces enzymes that destroy toxins in the body, which are then expelled through the urine or bile. If the liver gets overloaded, it slows down and toxins can accumulate in the blood.
2. THE KIDNEYS
The kidneys are two small organs that are shaped like beans and are located just below the rib cage. Every day they filter between 120-150 quarts of blood, they divert those filtered toxins to the bladder where they are then expelled as urine.
3. THE LUNGS
Our lungs help us detoxify from the toxins that are in the air we breath, and every outward breath we take is dispelling those toxins. To enhance this effect you should always breath deeply and properly as this will maximize the cleansing potential. Just probably best not to do this in a highly polluted place.
4. THE INTESTINES
Digested foods pass through the intestines where the nutrients are absorbed. The intestines keep your bacteria in balance and break down toxins by producing their own natural antibiotics; they are a very important part of the body’s detoxification process.
5. THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
Part of the immune system, the lymph is full of white blood cells. These cells take toxins from the cells and transport them to the lymph nodes where they end up being destroyed before they can do any damage in the body.
6. THE SKIN
As the biggest detoxification organ, our skin is covered in tiny sweat glands that not only regulate our body temperature, but also expel toxins through sweat.
All of these organs do their best, but the fact is our bodies can’t always break down and expel these toxins and so they get stored in our fat tissue (tissue that will keep replicating itself until space gets used up, causing weight gain and obesity). This is the body’s way of storing away safely the substances that it cannot break down and expel in the normal manner.
This seems to work fine for a while, but eventually these substances will find their way into the bloodstream and invade organs such as the liver, heart, brain, stomach and reproductive system. Particularly toxic to the brain cells are heavy metals, these can cause all sorts of problems to our memory and cause brain ageing, headaches, even migraines.
FOODS TO DETOXIFY THE BODY
Rather than going on a very limiting (and sometimes dangerous) detoxification plan (especially if not done with a professional) you should just try adding as many of these detoxification foods to your diet as possible and they will help support your body’s natural detoxification processes
Apples are are great detox food as they contain a whole heap of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, terpenoids and flavonoids. One particular flavonoid called phlorizidin helps stimulate bile production, and it so happens that one of the ways the body rids itself of toxin is through the bile.
The soluble fiber in apples called pectin helps eliminate food additives and metals out of the bloodstream. Organic apples are best for detoxification purpose as conventional ones are usually highly pestcided and thus defeat the object.
Being highly alkaline, lemons stimulate the release of enzymes and convert toxins into water soluble substances where they can then easily be expelled from the body. They are also high in vitamin C, so therefore stimulate the production of glutathione – which is the main antioxidant the liver uses during detoxification.
Pomegranates, with their very high content of healing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, potassium, folate and many other phytochemicals, will boost the immune system and help support the detoxification process overall. If eaten with their seeds the effects will be enhanced as the seeds will act as roughage, dragging impurities out of the digestive tract.
This great detoxifcation booster comes from the seeds of the plantago avata plant. It is high in soluble fiber AND a colon cleanser, which means it will literally drag impurities out of your system.
It is very important when using psyllium husk to make sure you drink at least 8oz of water with it as it swells up and can then cause blockages in the digestive tract. You can use up to 1 tbsp 3 times daily as a method of detoxification – or just once in the morning like I do as part of my everyday diet to keep things under control.
Also known as flaxseeds, these act in a similar fashion to psyllium husk (although I wouldn’t recommend using both on the same days). They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have the added benefits of regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar, helping with anxiety and depression, and may also reduce the risk factor for some cancers, including breast, colon, lung and prostate.
Or cilantro as it is otherwise known, is an incredible little herb that is choc full of vitamins A and K. Just nine sprigs will not only boost your brain and memory power, but will provide 27% of your recommended vitamin A, and 52% of your vitamin K (which is great for bone health).
When it comes to detoxing, coriander is first rate at assisting the body to eliminate itself of heavy metals. Studies show that during a coriander cleanse participants had a significant increase of aluminium, mercury and lead in their urine – proving that their bodies were eliminating these toxins at an accelerated rate.
Broccoli sprouts contain twenty times more sulphorphane than ordinary broccoli. Broccoli sprouts help the liver detoxify from environmental pollutants in particular, but also have the added benefits of helping to prevent hypertension, osteoarthritis, some cancers, heart disease, allergies and diabetes
SPIRULINA AND CHLORELLA
More of natures true superfoods, these two are great detoxifiers of heavy metals in the body. Detoxifying the body will kick start your weight loss because toxins are stored in fat cells, which need to keep replicating as we keep putting more bad stuff in and loading them up.
These fresh water algae are one of the highest sources of plant proteins and boast good amounts of vitamin A, magnesium, calcium and iron, are also anti diabetic. Chlorella in particular can help ease fibromyalgia.
This is a wonderful detox food as it contains up to 20 times more minerals than other vegetables. The align found in seaweed is able to absorb toxins from the digestive tract. Kelp is higher still in align than other seaweed and not only helps us to detoxify heavy metals, but also has the amazing powers of helping the body to detoxify from radiation exposure.
Green seaweed is high in chlorophyll, which is an amazing detoxifier as it contains fibers that bind to, and eliminates toxic substances, which in turn helps the liver do its job more efficiently.
DR. SCHULZES SUPER FOOD POWDER
This super food powder has a fantastic mix of spirulina, blue green algae, spinach, seaweeds, and many other fruit and vegetable extracts. This stuff is also POTENT in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.
It is one of the most powerful green powders I have tried and you can literally feel it working within 15 minutes. Expect a boost of energy and a glowing complexion, especially with regular consumption. This is my number one supplement that I take every day for energy, antioxidants, glowing skin, and immune health.
OTHER POINTS TO REMEMBER:
Along with these foods you will need to make sure you minimise all junk foods and added sugars, and eat a wholesome and healthy diet of mainly fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses and wholegrains. A diet based on plant based eating will keep your body alkaline and in a constant state of better detoxification. This is due to all the antioxidants and nutrients in most plant foods.
For information on how to make your diet more plant based a good place to start is to read my beginners guide to ‘Plant Based Eating’.
Physical exercise is another must in the toxin elimination process, as sweating through exercise causes the body to start shifting all those deep seated toxins that are stored in our fat cells. This in itself is a CRUCIAL part in helping the body to detoxify. Try and aim for at least 3 x 40 minute sessions of good cardiovascular/weight bearing exercise a week and make sure that you SWEAT!
If you need inspiration on how to incorporate more exercise into your life then you may want to read my post ‘The Importance of physical exercise’. Here you will find the easiest ways to get more active no matter how much time you have and on ANY budget.
Important- If you have knowingly been exposed to heavy metals that you need to detoxify from then you should always work with a trained professional before embarking on a detox program. Removing metals too quickly, and using the wrong substances could be detrimental to health.
If you have anything to ask me about detoxification then I would be happy to help. Just post in the comments thread below this article. Thank you.