Decrease your toxic load with these 5 quick tips
Your body has a huge potential and capacity to heal and repair.
It just needs a little nudge in the right direction.
Modern diets and lifestyles, which have increased our toxic load.
Through exposure to pollution, daily household and industrial chemicals, as well as plastics and heavy metals, your toxic burden is likely to be a significant factor in your journey to outstanding health.
Detoxification: more harm than good?
Investing some time and effort in a proper bi-yearly program can be a great decision and a wise investment.
However, the wrong detoxification program can do more harm than good.
This can leave you looking, feeling and performing worse than you ever have before (something we’ve seen many times in our clinics).
Here are 5 quick tips that will help to optimise your body’s natural ability to detoxify itself safely and effectively:
1/ Ensure optimal bowel function
Optimised bowel function is a critical factor in effective detoxification.
If you’re not passing well-formed stools a minimum of once a day (and 3 times per day is optimal!), you’re not enabling your body to get everyday toxins and waste products out of your body.
Even worse, some of the nasties in your poop can get re-absorbed into your body!
In our Functional Medicine clinics, we often see people who aren’t ‘going’ regularly – sometimes once every few day, and in a few cases once per week!
If pooping regularly isn’t the case for you, then consider moving towards a higher fibre, less processed, and more whole-foods diet (which you should do anyway before heading into a detox).
Temporarily avoid caffeine, dairy, soy, sugar, gluten-containing grains and all processed foods – this can really help to improve intestinal system function.
Taking a fibre supplement is also a good move. A tablespoon of ground flax seeds every morning is a good source of soluble and insoluble fibre.
To get your intestinal system moving, you can also consider a magnesium citrate supplement (between 400 and 800mg daily with food).
A vitamin C supplement (1000-2000mg day, although this dose can be much higher) can also help.
Both magnesium and vitamin C are known to stimulate bowel movements at the right dose.
2/ Support Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification pathways
The first question you might be asking yourself is what the heck Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification processes are!
Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification processes are metabolic pathways that are functioning in your body, all of the time.
They are important for breaking down substances in your body, and specifically in your liver, so these broken down substances can safely be excreted.
These critical processes are dependant on having plenty of nutrients that act as either cofactors for enzyme driven reactions, or serve as molecules that can bind to a ‘toxin’ for safe elimination from the body.
Foods that support Phase 1 and Phase 2 processes include: the cruciferous vegetables, which are high in di-indole methane (DIM);
Foods that are high in sulphur can also be beneficial:
Other supporting foods include:
Eating organic where possible is also a good idea.
You can find our article on organic food here, which includes a list of the most important organic foods to eat.
Taking antioxidants in supplement form such as alpha lipoic acid, n-acteyl cysteine (NAC) and glutathione, can really boost detoxification and protect cells from free radical damage.
Free radical damage can happen during a detox when you get a lot of nasty toxins released from your tissues into your body.
These toxins were safely stored in your body, wrapped in fat tissues, for instance.
When they get released from those tissues, they’re free to cause damage again.
Antioxidants can help to limit the damage during a detox, where you’re freeing up a lot of toxins at once.
3/ Stay well hydrated
Water is a critical factor in helping your body to efficiently perform basic detoxification processes.
Water helps every cell in your body, as well as your liver and kidneys, to excrete toxins and waste products, and carry them out of your body.
Without optimal amounts of water, your body can struggle to get rid of these toxins and waste products, which means they can build up in your tissues.
You should aim for a minimum of 2 litres of pure/filtered water throughout the day.
Vegetable juices, herbal tea and so on all contribute to meeting your daily intake.
Fruit juices should be avoided.
If you find it hard to drink that much water, start out by getting into the habit of drinking a pint (half a litre) of water first thing in the morning.
Then fill a 1.5 litre bottle of water and keep it with you / on your desk during the day.
Then when the bottle is empty, you’ve had 2 litres.
You might not get there right away, but you’ll be well on the way!
4/ Keep moving!
Regular exercise stimulates blood flow to all of your tissues, and increases sweating!
Increased blood flow carries toxins and waste products away from your cells and tissues, ready to be processed and excreted.
Exercise also promotes fat loss, and since many toxins are stored in fat, it’s a good way to naturally increase detoxification.
Movement can also contribute to better digestive system function.
In our modern world, we spend a lot of time sitting, which isn’t great for moving food through your intestinal system.
5/ Find a far-infrared sauna
Use a far-infrared sauna 3-4 times a week, for around 20-30 minutes.
Far-infrared saunas are amazing for detoxification.
Due to the different way that these type of saunas work, they can liberate substances from your body that other saunas cannot reach.
Traditional saunas are still a really good method of detoxification though (before we get abusive mail from the entire population of Finland!).
Detoxification is something that’s happening in your body all of the time.
We can help our bodies to be more efficient in these processes all of the time, through some of the simple strategies above.
And we can also be more mindful in living a cleaner life, where we expose ourselves to fewer toxins and potential toxins every day.
Although beneficial, detoxification doesn’t (and shouldn’t) be something you ‘do’ once or twice a year.
If you are undertaking a dedicated detoxification programme, which should be used as a more in depth part of an ongoing process, programs can be as short as 3 days, or as long as 30 days.
Obviously the longer a dedicated programme can be sustained, the more benefit you should see and feel.
Some beneficial side effects of a healthier internal environment include:
Some pretty compelling reasons to spruce up your detoxification strategy!
To your optimised, healthy future,
Dee & the Coho Health team