Research over the last several decades indicates that the pathology of almost all age-related or chronic diseases is caused by multifactorial elements such as diet, exposure to environmental agents (toxins), and genetic risks. The data suggests that nutrition, as well as lifestyle changes, can modify the pathologies of chronic diseases including those associated with toxic build-up (1).
Toxins come from everywhere – air pollution, plastic packaging, canned goods, pesticides, in our food supply such as mercury in fish, cosmetics, medications, toys, flame retardants, and the list goes on. Some people would argue that levels of individual toxins found in our food and environment are not significant enough to cause harm. Evidence is suggesting otherwise, low doses of toxicity are a concern as are compounded effects of multiple exposures which is the greatest concern.
Toxins like to be stored in fat cells. A person who is overweight potentially will carry high loads of toxins. The body in an attempt to rid of them becomes depleted in antioxidants and this is a contribution to inflammatory states (cardiovascular disease, IBS, arthritic conditions, mental health disorders, etc).
The toxins disrupt the bodies endocrine function i.e. hormone function. They can mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogen’s, androgens and thyroid hormones. The body ultimately suffers from altered metabolism and hormone imbalances (2).
It isn’t just the liver and kidneys that assist in detoxification. The gut is a major player as well. It is estimated about 25% of detoxification processes are within the gut. A lot of the toxins that enter the body comes from food and if a person has a “leaky gut”, ” these toxins aren’t being detoxified in the gut. Instead, they are entering the body’s bloodstream and potentially produce unwanted symptoms.
Furthermore, if a person has too many of the undesirable microbes in the gut, they will also produce more toxins. Healing the gut, therefore is important, maintaining the integrity of the gut lining and ensuring there is the right balance of good and bad gut bacteria.
If wastes build up in the body, a person gets sick. Toxicity is linked to almost every disease thus it is imperative detoxification is working well.
The key to detox can be summarised into three areas:
- Enhance the body’s capacity to detoxify.
- Get rid of the wastes effectively
- Reduce exposure to toxins.
In enhancing the body’s detox capacity, nutritional intervention has been shown to result in demonstrable improvements in health by lowering the toxicant burden of people (3).
Following some guidelines, a person can improve their bodies detoxification capabilities to help eliminate toxins, wastes and reduce inflammation.
Fantastic foods for detoxification include:
- Brussel sprouts: Brussel sprouts contain good fibre to promote elimination and they boost liver detoxification increasing enzyme activity (4).
- Beetroot: Beetroot contains an array for vitamins and minerals for enhanced detoxification. It boosts the key enzyme in the liver and reduces cell damage (5)
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds are loaded in fibre allowing wastes to be excreted from the body easier. They also are high in antioxidants helping protect the liver.
- Nuts: Nuts are a nutritionally dense food with an array of nutrients. Particularly rich in antioxidants and fibre they help fight free radicals and keep you regular (6)
- Green tea: Green tea has numerous demonstrated health effects, including antioxidant functions and enhancement of the detoxification liver enzymes (7)
Eating in a way that supports your body’s detoxification pathways every day is the best way to ensure optimal health. However, no one is perfect all the time. Modern-day life also makes it difficult, toxins cannot be avoided completely. Genetics is another issue. If a person has gene variations in the ones relating to detoxification, they need to be more careful than others.
If you feel you need extra detox support check out Elizabeth’s Detox 6 Week Program,
it is your health reset, the foundation to better health.
Alternatively, if you’d like to read more on detoxification read the post here. on the signs of poor liver detoxification.