Though distasteful to think about, we live in a sea of chemicals that have a significant impact on our health.
Endocrine disorders and chronic inflammation are just two of the conditions influenced by the unnatural particles (and even some natural ones) in the air we breathe, the food we eat, beverages we drink, and products we use on a regular basis.
Although we lack the individual ability to eliminate toxins from the environment or to monitor their levels in our daily lives, it is within our control to minimize or avoid exposure.
To Detoxify Your Body, Avoid These Toxins
1. Insecticides and pesticides. They are a major contributor to Parkinson’s disease.
2. Pharmaceutical drugs. They deplete the body of nutrients and energy. For example, statins deplete coenzyme Q10 and diuretics deplete precious potassium and magnesium. So, if you need to take medications you want to supplement accordingly.
3. Alcohol. Overindulgence ages the body.
4. High-fructose corn syrup. This sweetener is added to thousands of processed food items and is particularly prominent in soft drinks. It promotes inflammation, obesity, and liver dysfunction.
5. Mold. It grows in dark, damp places and can cause severe allergic reactions. The Energy Star Web site, a government-funded resource, offers good tips for mold control. Go to energystar.gov and search “mold.”
6. Cigarettes. Each puff contains thousands of compounds you don’t want in your body. So to detoxify your body, you want to stop smoking.
7. Soft drinks. These drinks contain too much sugar or artificial sweeteners that cause inflammation, plus phosphoric acid that leaches calcium out of bones.
8. Trans fats. These unnatural fats have been removed from many foods, but you still need to be on the lookout for them. Because trans fats promote inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, avoid consuming, or cooking with, anything containing fats that are hydrogenated in order to detoxify your body.
9. Chlorine. Although this chemical is used to disinfect most public water supplies, it reacts with naturally occurring elements in water to form toxins called trihalomethanes. These have been linked with asthma, cancer, and heart disease. Chlorine has also been shown to interfere with thyroid function. Limit your time in chlorinated pools or spas, as chlorine is absorbed through the skin, and shower immediately after exposure. If your tap water tastes bad (potentially from too much chlorine), opt for spring water in glass bottles. I like the brands Acqua Panna and Voss.
10. Perfumes, cosmetics, and aluminum-containing deodorants. Perfumes and cosmetics contain all kinds of chemicals that are absorbed into the body. Use essential oils instead of perfumes, and make sure your cosmetics are made with natural and organic ingredients. The aluminum in deodorants may cause inflammation in the armpits and may contribute to breast cancer.
11. Xenoestrogens. These man-made chemicals, which are used in many common everyday products, have estrogenic properties and can affect sex hormone activity. They may also increase the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast, uterine, or prostate cancer. Common sources of xenoestrogens include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, polycarbonate plastic bottles (including those used for drinking water), and food containers. Do not microwave any food with wrapping or containers made with plastic. Better yet, don’t microwave at all.
12. Processed meats such as baloney, ham, and especially hot dogs. They contain nitrites, which, in addition to being preservatives, are toxic to the GI tract and contribute to the formation of cancer. To detoxify your body, avoid these nitrite laden meats.
13. Heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Big ocean fish—think tile fish, shark, tuna, and swordfish—have the highest mercury content. Limit your fish consumption to smaller species such as Atlantic halibut, Spanish mackerel, scrod, and wild salmon. When eating tuna, opt for light chunk tuna, not albacore, and make sure it’s packed in water. Avoid fresh water fish altogether. Also, limit your consumption of farm-raised fish—it tends to have higher mercury levels than wild-caught fish.
14. Radon. This odorless, invisible gas seeps from the ground into houses through cracks in foundations, and it poses a real health danger. Radon toxicity is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. One out of 15 homes in the country may have elevated radon levels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So, to detoxify your body test your home for radon.