By Denise Keyser
Let’s face it; we live in a toxic environment. We breathe, eat, bathe and walk in various forms of toxins. A study by the Pesticide Action Network found that in 9,282 Americans, an average of 13 pesticides were present in each person. Toxins can be found in the brain and nervous system, hormone system, reproductive system and immune system — sometimes manifesting as birth defects and abnormal development.
Toxins can come from our foods, pesticides, plastics, smoking, stress, reduced immune system (prescriptions), processed foods, sugar and many other sources. Testing is available to measure the amount of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl), chlorinated pesticides, volatile solvents, parabens, heavy metals, BPA (industrial chemical bisphenol A) and other toxins in our bodies.
A good cleanse/detox program that includes clean foods, supplements, tidying up your environment and reducing stress can reduce the impact toxins have on our body. The difference between a cleanse and detox are (and both are important):
Cleanse: “Cleans out” the digestive tract with the use of laxatives or high fiber content.
Detox: Excrete toxins from the organs or tissues, and does not affect the gut or bowels.
Some reasons to undertake a cleanse/detox include weight loss, toxin removal, better digestive health, boosting immune function, elevating mood, increasing energy and improving complexion. Any toxins in our blood tend to manifest themselves on our skin in the form of acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, canker sores and many other chronic skin conditions. Detoxification can be accomplished through the use of water, foods, supplements or essential oil blends. Other organs to consider detoxing are bowels, liver, kidneys, lungs, blood and the lymph system.
Avoid chemical/toxic exposure by drinking purified, filtered water (half your body weight in ounces), eating organic foods, purchasing natural cleaning products, using safe personal care products, not using plastic containers, avoiding mercury and fluoride, not using pesticides in your house or lawn, reducing stress and boosting the immune system.
Foods to eat during cleanse/detox include organic greens (like kale), cruciferous veggies (like broccoli and cabbage), deep-colored fruit and veggies, proteins (beans, nuts, seeds, chicken or fish). While cleansing or detoxing, avoid processed sugar, coffee, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs and red meat. Research the dirty versus clean dozen food products to avoid common pesticides.
Detoxifying your liver is a good start. The liver is the major filter in our bodies where toxins can be stored. During a detox, waste products from the liver will be excreted either through the gall bladder, bowels (bile) or kidneys (urine).
A variety of supplements and essential oils can be useful as a detox aid. A complete listing is beyond the intent of this article, but ensure you get a good quality supplement from a reputable manufacturer that does not contain fillers and ingredients that are not useful. Visit your health food store and discuss your needs with a knowledgeable staff member.
Denise Keyser is owner of Coast Health and Nutrition, located in Gulfport. To learn more, call (228) 831-1785 or visit www.coasthealthandnutrition.com.