After my personal “D Day” (Diagnosis Day), what stood out most shockingly from all my health research was the alarming impact of toxins on our bodies. A 2009 study from the Environmental Defense Group shows that we are exposed to over 200 toxins daily, such as pesticides, personal care products, plastics, pollution – and those are just the p’s. Our bodies can often handle toxicity through processes in the liver, but that’s not always the case. Before signing up for week-long intense body detox and cleansing strategies that involve juicing and often induce the dubious feeling that you are starving to death, try the following protocols that support your body’s natural detoxification. These methods are simple, effective and easy on your purse or wallet. Such as:
Drink It Down
Squeeze the juice from a lemon into a glass of water first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before breakfast. This Vitamin C-rich drink stimulates HCl (hydrochloric acid), a critical ingredient needed by the stomach not only to digest and absorb nutrients, but also to expel waste. The lemon’s citric acid helps flush toxins from the colon, gallbladder and liver that might otherwise be absorbed by the body’s tissues. Foods high in Vitamin C help to boost glutathione, an antioxidant naturally created in the body. A master detoxifier, glutathione helps to expel the body’s toxins.
Most of us know the benefits of staying hydrated. Fluid and waste from every cell in the body is picked up and carried away by lymph vessels. Water consumption is essential in order to support the lymphatic system’s task of flushing out waste and toxins. Drinking two quarts every day might seem daunting, but remember that amount includes herbal teas and fruits/veggies with high water content (plus your glass of lemon water!).
Another way to give your lymphatic system a boost and improve toxin elimination is to get a long handled brush with natural bristles and do daily “dry skin brushing”. Starting on your feet and with broad sweeping motions, brush your skin in a circular motion (always towards your heart) and then shower off. You will improve your skin appearance by regenerating skin cells and stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation, and your body’s largest organ, the skin, will appreciate it! On the other hand, be mindful of what you put on your skin. The skin care products that you slather on contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals and can be an endocrine or hormone disruptor. Click here to research what’s in many skin care products.
Breathe It In
We get so wrapped up in our activities that we almost forget to breathe. By consciously practicing deep breathing, you’ve found another way to enhance lymph vessel movement throughout your body. The additional oxygen circulating throughout your whole system helps to detox your cells. And it can be a good stress reducer, if not a relaxer of jangled nerves. One effective routine is to quietly and slowly breathe in deeply, hold to the count of twelve, and then exhale quietly and slowly over ten seconds, wait fifteen seconds and repeat. You can do this anywhere, even sitting by a podium waiting to deliver a big speech.
Sweat It Out
Sweat therapy: Historically, working up a sweat has been valued by many cultures as a form of cleansing (except of course when delivering a talk). Exercise = perspiration = detoxification. Also consider sweat therapy using a sauna – such as the infrared sauna. Compared to conventional saunas, “far infrared ray” therapy (FIR) is thought to be more effective at detoxing an array of heavy metals and chemicals. It’s also a good alternative for those whose health makes it more difficult to raise a sweat in more vigorous ways.
Eat Detoxing Foods
Finally, the diet. We all know that we have to limit saturated fats, refined sugars and alcohol as a part of our toxic burden. Fiber-rich foods, along with promoting digestive and bowel health, will help to support your body’s detoxification pathways as well as help to lower cholesterol. The liver produces bile acids from our cholesterol stores to aid with fat digestion. When these bile acids bind to fiber and are eliminated from the body, the liver must produce more bile acids, thus lowering cholesterol levels. Be sure to include small amounts of high fiber whole grains or seeds such as chia, hemp and flax. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts contain sulforaphane, providing top-notch detoxing plus potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.