You and I are exposed to toxins everyday that disrupt the body’s natural processes from household cleaners to beauty products. Overtime, these toxins can accumulate in our bodies. Some people retain more toxins than others due to stress, specific nutrient deficiencies, high-sugar and low protein diets, increased exposures, difficulty excreting waste, and genetic differences.
While you cannot completely eliminate your exposure to toxins, it is possible to make a significant impact by limiting daily exposure. Many of these toxins disrupt immune function, hormone balance, and neurological function. With some simple changes, you can improve your and your family’s health.
Avoiding Toxins in Food
Some foods expose you to toxins like pesticides and other chemicals. It is important to buy all-natural, whole foods whenever possible. The Environmental Working Group provides two lists to help you buy produce. The Clean 15 is a list of produce you can eat liberally because they contain the least amount of pesticides. The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce you want to by organic because they contain the most pesticides.
One of the best ways to help your body eliminate toxins is to increase the amount of clean water in the diet. Remember, the solution for pollution is dilution. It is important to use glass bottles and containers instead of plastics, and avoid the epoxy linings inside metal food cans because they may contain hormone-disrupting BPA.
For extra detoxification, avoid sugar, eat more broccoli and other members of the Brassica family, and avoid fish with high mercury content such as farmed or Atlantic salmon, shark, swordfish, tuna, or sea bass. In addition, choose foods high in lean protein like wild, grass-fed, grass-finished meat that is free of hormones or antibiotics. Pea and rice protein are also great proteins for shakes and smoothies.
Avoiding Toxins at Home
Your home is another area where you may be exposed to toxins, also called indoor air pollution. Indoor toxins include cigarette smoke, chemicals that get tracked in on the bottom of your shoes, and off-gas from vinyl shower curtains, construction materials, new furniture, carpets, and dry cleaning. To clean up the indoor air quality, try HEPA air purifiers, air filters, indoor houseplants, taking off shoes, proper air duct cleaning, and environmentally-friendly construction materials. For your yard, there are lots of natural alternatives and companies that focus on healthier herbicides and pesticides. Also consider your car exhaust and workplace and what potential toxins you are exposed to and could possibly avoid on a day-to-day basis.
Avoiding Toxins in Personal Care Products
Other hidden toxins are the chemicals used in cosmetics, cleaners, laundry soaps, air fresheners, and other household products. Pay special attention to your personal care products because they are applied directly to your skin. Avoid products with fragrances, dyes, and parabens. Your local health food store will have natural cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions. You can also check the quality of your current cosmetics in the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. In addition, health food stores have all-natural household products like laundry soap and multi-purpose cleaners.
Okay, now what?
Now that you have limited your daily exposure, you can take cleansing a step further if needed. A common test we do here at Integrative Health is a heavy metal test. This test can help determine your body burden and the depth of cleansing needed.
Cleansing may include specific diet protocols, targeted supplementation with liver support, and therapies such as sauna therapy, constitutional hydrotherapy, colon hydrotherapy, or heavy metal chelation.