Many people equate a cleanse, or detox with a juice fast, or maybe a diet that includes eating mainly one item such as cabbage soup for a week. There are many different “detoxes” out there, but in reality, our bodies already have a built in process of detoxing to rid itself of environmental and food toxins, led by the liver. What we can do is take the time to focus on how to support our body in the process.
HOW DOES THE BODY DETOX
The liver is the organ most responsible for detoxing, but the lymphatic system also clears out waste, along with help from the kidneys, lungs and even the skin. The liver is typically able to metabolize toxins. When there is an excess of toxins, they can accumulate in fatty tissues, such as the brain, breast, and adrenal glands. This can lead to brain toxicity, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, infertility, and even cancer.
There are a few phases of liver detoxification.
“The liver can, for example, remove alcohol from your blood and get rid of by-products from the breakdown of medications.” -G. Cologne
Phase 1 consists of the breakdown process and uses enzymes that neutralize toxins, such as caffeine or alcohol. Phase 1 is referred to as the oxidation reduction phase. Free radicals are created by oxidation, but they are neutralized or turned into water in Phase II by antioxidants. It makes sense that consuming antioxidants can help to support this process. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, iron and B Vitamins are good choices.
Phase 2 is the phase which moves the toxins out of the body by making them more water soluble. It is also known as conjugation. Glutathione, sulphate, and glycine are highly involved in this process. Cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and leafy greens, and foods rich in B12 can help to support this phase. The molecules created in Phase 1 are now made into more water soluble compounds and excreted in the urine. When there is an excess of toxins, this is when they begin to be stored in fat tissues. These stored toxins can recirculate in the blood stream and lead to chronic disease. The waste products are eliminated from the body via the kidneys or gall bladder. This explains why elimination through the bowels is so important. Pooping is a way for the body to eliminate toxins. When you are constipated, toxins are able build up in the bloodstream.
TRIGGERS OF TOXINS
What can cause toxins to build up in your body? These days, there are many ways to be exposed to toxins.
- pesticides/conventional food
- food additives
- medications including antibiotics
- hormones in foods
- lack of movement
- food sensitivities
- personal care products
- cleaning products
SYMPTOMS OF TOXIC OVERLOAD
- brain fog
- digestive issues including bloating, gas, and constipation
- eczema and acne
- acid reflux
HOW TO SUPPORT THE PROCESS
Eating a healthy diet and removing all sources of toxins in the diet is key. A good place to start is with a diet that eliminates the most common food sensitivities, as well as processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Additionally, reducing your exposures in the products that you use in your home and at work is a must. Last, a focus on exercise and sleep is necessary to support the body. Some suggestions for foods to eat were listed above.
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