Our diet is a huge source of those unwanted toxins, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, heavy metals, parabens, and molds that seep into our food and water. Additionally, everyday items like shampoo, detergents, household cleaners, clothing, and furniture contain harmful synthetics that leech into our systems.
Even when we try to eat a clean, healthy diet, the water we drink is contaminated from all of the plastic bottling and BPAs, as well as all of the plastic packaging our food touches.
We breathe in pollution and second-hand smoke, and constantly absorb heavy metals.
In fact, there are so many toxins in the air, water, and ground around us that’s they’re impossible to avoid.
Our skin, kidneys, liver and cardiovascular systems work overtime to repel or process all of those foreign substances, but they wreak havoc on our bodies. When our organs are overloaded and saturated with these toxins, they can’t easily break down or expel them all, so they end up getting stored in our fat tissue, and then get carried through the bloodstream to our brain, lungs, heart, eyes, stomach, sexual organs, and liver.
Needless to say, most people are not living in optimal health these days with all of these toxins they're absorbing. They may experience something as simple as fatigue, digestion problems, bloating, soreness and muscle aches. Or, over time, heavy metals and other toxins can cause much more serious harm, like memory loss, migraines, and premature brain aging, as well as contribute to many cancers.
But there are effective techniques to flush these harmful toxins from our diet, starting with certain great foods, vitamins, and minerals.
Here are our 20 tips for detoxifying your body and improving your health:
- Eating garlic and onions is a great natural detox, as they’re high in sulfur, which helps your body produce more glutathione, an important antioxidant that facilitates removal of toxins from the body. Garlic and onions also contain compounds that help prevent kidney damage caused by exposure to toxins, as well as ridding the body of heavy metals.
- Vitamin B1 improves the body's ability to excrete lead by inhibiting absorption. A diet with vitamin B-rich foods like peas, spinach, and pistachios will help drop levels of lead in the blood.
- Even something as simple as a high-fiber diet helps our body to detoxify by removing waste.
- Do you love avocados? Then keep eating them, because our favorite green fruit (as well as sunflower seeds and almonds), is extremely high in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that shields the body from methylmercury, helping heal your liver – the body’s main detoxifying organ.
- A simple and easy small glass of lemon juice helps strengthen the liver and stimulates glutathione production, helping your body flush unwanted toxins.
- Collard greens and almonds are rich in calcium, which shields your body from absorbing lead.
- Kimchi – the fermented food that's a staple in Korean food – is a lactic acid bacteria that naturally degrades pesticides that end up in your body. Likewise, Kombucha – a fermented, sweetened black or green tea - is now a popular health drink that will help your body detoxify.
- A diet with plenty of healthy probiotics will help protect your system from harmful toxins caused by BPA exposure, as well as other heavy metals and cancerous nitrosamines.
- Don't forget to drink plenty of filtered water every day (GOOD filtered water that's not from plastic bottles!) to help your kidneys and bowels flush toxins.
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral that helps the kidneys eliminate cadmium toxicity.
- Cilantro (sometimes called Chinese parsley) empowers your system to rid itself of heavy metals like lead and mercury – which we get in high doses from our contaminated drinking water!
- A form of green algae called Chlorella helps your body reduce levels of stored mercury in your muscles, bones, and gastrointestinal tract.
- Try milk thistle or beets if you want to strengthen your liver’s ability to remove toxins from the blood.
- Of course, the best way to reduce toxin levels in your system is to avoid ingesting them in the first place. So make a conscious effort to cut out any "foods" that contain artificial colors, flavors, chemicals, pesticides, additives, preservatives, or BPAs from plastic and other packaging.
- If this seems like a lot to remember and plan (trust me, being unhealthy and getting sick will take far more work), just focus on “eating the rainbow” – with plenty of colorful leafy greens, red beets, orange carrots, purple cabbage, blueberries, etc.
- Eat organic! Fresh, organic produce helps you reduce intake of organophosphate pesticides and other hazardous chemicals.
- The best way to incorporate all of these healthy foods you’re your diet is by juicing! Start the morning by adding dandelion greens, cilantro, parsley, and plenty of other ingredients to your fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and your body will have all of the nutrients it needs to help your organs get rid of toxins.
- Cut sugar from your diet. In fact, sugar is one of the most damaging and toxifying substances we can put in our bodies, but the average western diet takes in sickening amounts of the sweet stuff. So read the ingredients and eliminate all sugar, including the hidden corn syrups, artificial sweeteners, and most high glycemic fruits (mangos, cherries, banana, etc.)
- Sleeping more will help your body achieve optimal performance, and that includes the healthy ability to detoxify. In fact, a chronic lack of sleep in our society has been linked to higher rates of illness, disease, and obesity, as well as declines in cognitive function. Yet, two-thirds of Americans say that they’re not getting enough sleep during the week, and 60% say that they have problems sleeping on nearly a nightly basis!
- We need a strong population of gut bacteria, or microbiome, to help detoxify our bodies. Without it, our immune function, nervous system, and hormones are compromised. The first thing you can do for a healthy microbiome is to reduce or cut out caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods, and maybe even gluten and dairy. Then, add plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, antioxidants (in the form of vitamins A, C, and E), turmeric, L-Glutamine, and other probiotics.