People often ask why we need to actively detoxify. Their reasoning is that the body is already handling this process through the extensive activities of the liver, kidneys and other organs of elimination. We shouldn’t need assistance.
These queries are on solid ground, theoretically. However, the vast array of chemicals, heavy metals, radioactive particles and toxic compounds in today’s world isn’t something our bodies evolved to handle. We need extra detox support to survive this modern-day chemical onslaught.
But there’s more to this approach. Detoxification and cleansing rituals have been central to traditional healing systems for thousands of years – long before pesticides, air pollution and chemically-contaminated drinking water.
Ultimately, the most compelling reasons to detoxify revolve around the potential consequences of neglecting this process. Allergies, autoimmune disorders, neurological diseases, dementia, diabetes, cancer and much more have been linked to environmental toxins.
Furthermore, detoxifying the body increases vital energy, boosts immunity, reduces chronic inflammation and brings a host of other benefits. When done in the fall, a gentle detox program can improve digestive health, metabolism, energy and immunity in preparation for the cold winter months and of course, cold and flu season.
Start with diet
It’s not difficult to identify natural detox foods; they’re generally the ones with the richest colors. Raspberries, blueberries, beets, dark leafy greens, and carrots are all rich in antioxidants and polyphenol compounds, powerful health promoting compounds crucial for any comprehensive detox. They’re also high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion and elimination.
I also recommend fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, kefir and others, which boost immunity and aid detoxification. They full of healthy probiotic bacteria, which again are essential for gastrointestinal health, as well as immunity, detoxification and more.
Stock up on cruciferous vegetables: kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, arugula and others. In addition to being nutritionally dense, they are also extremely potent detoxifiers. Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that a drink made from broccoli sprouts helped remove benzene and other environmental pollutants from the body.
The beauty of detoxifying foods is that there are so many of them, it’s really hard to go wrong. Just make sure they’re unprocessed and as fresh as possible.
Here’s a partial list to get you started.
- Apples are high in fiber and flavonoids, which support liver function, immunity and inflammation response. Apples also provide pectin, which is excellent for digestion.
- Artichokes help us detoxify by boosting liver, gallbladder and kidney function.
- Beets are rich in fiber, vitamins, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Like artichokes, they are great for the liver. Beets also help the body produce glutathione, a powerful detoxifier.
- Flax seeds are high in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, which support heart health, as well as detoxification.
- Garlic contains allicin, a compound that helps the body eliminate toxins and also has anti-bacterial properties.
- The spice turmeric supports digestion and has been traditionally used to treat liver ailments.
- Sea vegetables are well known for their ability to remove heavy metals and radioactive isotopes. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
One of the best detox supplements is modified citrus pectin (MCP), which has a strong affinity for a number of toxins, particularly heavy metals.
Pectin is a common ingredient in jams and other foods and is excellent for digestive health, as noted above. However, because its molecules are quite large, pectin isn’t able to absorb through the digestive lining into the circulation. MCP solves that problem by enzymatically breaking up pectin molecules, making them much smaller and more available throughout the body.
This bioavailability is particularly important while detoxifying. MCP is known for its ability to chelate heavy metals, including mercury, cadmium and lead. To achieve this, it’s critical that it get into the blood stream. Clinical studies confirm that MCP removes up to 74 percent of heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic from the circulation, without affecting essential minerals.
In addition to heavy metals, MCP also removes a problematic protein called galectin-3. When overexpressed, galectin-3 causes inflammation and is linked to a variety of conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Another botanical that provides critical detox support is sodium alginate. Derived from brown kelp, alginates are good at removing radioactive isotopes, and were given to victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Alginates also do an excellent job of removing heavy metals, and remain in the digestive tract to grab toxins and prevent them from being reabsorbed into the circulation – a common problem with other detoxification methods.
I recommend a detox formula that combines MCP and alginates into one supplement. Pectins and alginates form molecular stacks, which create pockets that trap heavy metals and other toxins. Once they are trapped in this molecular structure, the body can easily remove them.
A lot of people shy away from detoxification because they feel it’s going to be difficult. They may think they have to starve themselves or make elaborate recipes, or eat only one type of food for weeks at a time. But the beauty of a comprehensive detox is that you don’t have to do any of those to succeed. In fact, with just a few moderate lifestyle changes – more fruits and vegetables, increased hydration, exercise and targeted supplements – it’s not only easy to detoxify the body and improve overall health, but it can be a celebration of greater energy, vitality and overall health.