Toxins – They Are Everywhere
Whether we like it or not our day to day world is full of undesirable pollutants or toxins which make eating healthy a challenge. And the more ‘advanced’ our way of life the more likely we are to run into toxins on a daily basis and the greater the need for a detox diet.
So what are toxins?
Answers.com gives a good brief definition of a toxin as follows:
A poisonous substance, especially a protein, that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues but is often also capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies or antitoxins.
Where Do We Find Toxins
Unless you live in a hermetically sealed environment they are everywhere – be they chemicals, cleaning products, your clothes, manufacturing processes or vehicle exhaust They are in the air we breathe, in the foods we eat, and in the water we drink. So in practical terms they are impossible to avoid.
Now our bodies are really quite amazing and they naturally work to get rid of these toxins but the high levels of pollution that we often face today can be overwhelming to our system. In addition as we age our toxin load tends to increase if we have not done anything about the build up in previous years.
Not only are toxins everywhere as noted above they also come in different guises which have different impacts. Some affect the nervous or neurological system. Many pesticides affect the nervous system.
Then there are what are called heavy metals – now this is not a scientific definition – but in medical usage as opposed to chemical – it generally refers to all toxic metals regardless of their “weight”. One of the interesting facts is that our body needs small trace quantities of some of these of these heavy metals – humans need iron, zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese and molybdenum. However excessive amounts can cause problems and lead to illness, disease and even death.
A final factor with any form of metal poisoning is that they are cumulative in the body and therefore over time more gets stored in your body.
Volatile Organic Compounds
This another group of toxins frequently found in and around the home. Volatile means they have a low boiling point and because of this they have a high vapor pressure at room temperature. As my old chemistry master said if you can smell it its volatile. And this characteristic applies to many of the items found in and around the home such as paint thinners, paint, many building materials, clothing treatment and some cosmetics.
In fact the list for volatile organic compounds it is extremely long and they are often found in the most unusual of places. Many of these products are a product of the petrochemical industry.
Eating Healthy Is The Key
So the question is what can we really do to avoid or mitigate the influence of all of these toxic substances which we come into contact with on a daily basis. And the answer was seen to be quite clearly first to avoid as much contact as possible, which is really not totally practical. Then to look at how we can remove or mitigate the impact of these toxins on our body.
A key factor in all of this is to develop healthy eating habits. This means being sure to eat foods that detoxify the body naturally wherever possible. So the one thing that you can do to help your body in the detoxification process is to be sure to pick organic foods whenever you can.
Organic foods are foods grown without chemicals and pesticides so eating them will not add any extra toxins to your body.
Eating Non-organic Might be Cheaper but…
While non-organic foods are frequently less expensive, they have usually been subject to spraying with pesticides as they were being grown. So it is likely they will have some residual toxins in the product. In fact if you read the precautions and instructions on many pesticide products you will find that there is something called a ‘withholding period’ that is often associated with a particular plant or product. One authority defines it as follows;
The withholding period is the minimum length of time (days or weeks) stated on a chemical product label that must elapse between application of the chemical and the harvesting, selling or using of the agricultural produce.
For example you may see a withholding period of 10 days for a particular pesticide. So any fruit or vegetable that has been sprayed should not be supplied for humans consumption earlier than 10 days after the last spraying or dose.
The same principle often applies to animal products or the feed which they are given because there may be a residual toxins within their flesh if they were to be consumed shortly after a particular medicine or growth stimulant is used.
What We Don’t Know Can Still Be Harmful
For most of us all of these aspects of our food production are essentially sight unseen. And it is not the sort of thing that we think about as we traverse the supermarket aisles. Nonetheless these practices and precautions exist which means that even if we do not think about them they are still occurring.
So although we do not like to think about it, or maybe it does not even occur to us, many of the products we use and a lot of the food that we consume may have a small residual toxin component despite all the regulatory restrictions.
Small residual amounts of toxins from the pesticides sprays used to control pests on the foods grown for us go into your body. This adds an extra load on your detoxification system.
Try Eating Healthy Organic Food
So what can we do to reduce the possibility? The obvious answer is to eat less of the mass produced fruits and vegetables and decide on eating healthy organic produce. While this means spending a little more on organic foods now it may well save you a lot of money in medical bills later on.
Eating Healthy – Vegetables
Vegetables, preferably organically grown, of course, are among the best natural detoxifiers there are. Juicing or even eaten raw there are a number of vegetables to consider – onions, carrots, asparagus, artichokes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, garlic and artichokes are all beneficial.
The Mediterranean diet has incorporated it for centuries. Best eaten raw but even when cooked it is still of value. One way to use it is to mash up a clove and wait 10 minutes for the chemicals to activate.
Mix it with a small amount of virgin olive oil to make a great garlic spread
Add it to the top of your pasta or spread it on bread for a healthy treat.
Most folk know that broccoli is one of the real stars when it comes to anti oxidants. But what they often do not know is that broccoli sprouts are even better than the floret heads.
And the sprouts are so easy to grow right there in your kitchen. Use a sprout grower or even just a jar and a small section of netting. In under 7 days you can have your first crop of sprouts. Then they can just keep coming. All they need is water and a little care
All of the those green leafy foods provide lots of good things for your diet. Spinach, kale, alfalfa, silver beet, arugula and wheat-grass all help by adding chlorophyll to your diet. And this helps your digestive tract eliminate toxins
These rather ‘fearsome’ looking vegetables are well-known for helping detoxify the liver. They have a high vitamin C content and are full of fiber. As well as this they contain iron, potassium and manganese and several antioxidants
Eating Healthy – Fruit
When eating fruit for detoxification purposes you want to be sure to use fresh fruits, either the whole fruit or in a freshly made juice. (Best not to use a commercial made juice because it will likely have been pasteurized.)
And another tip – eat your fruit by itself at least two or three hours before or after any other types of food.
Eating Healthy – Extra Things
Many of the things that we think of as ‘extras’ in our food such as herbs and spices are also helpful in detoxifying the body
Green tea has been known for its high antioxidant qualities for years. It helps flush your system with its fluid content and improves liver function as well.
Mung Beans have been used in the east for many thousands of years. Exceptionally easy on the digestive system they work their way through your system absorbing any toxic trace left on your intestinal wall.
Parsley is often thought of as just a garnish for our plates or food but it is actually a great detoxifying food as it is a powerful tonic that flushes the kidneys. It is also high in vitamin C and great for assisting with bad breathe. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/bad-breath
Seeds and Nuts
Many of the seeds and nuts that we have ignored previously can play a significant are very beneficial too. Try eating a small portion of them instead of having some other ‘health’ snack. Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower flax, and hemp are all seeds that you can consume safely. Just keep a check on how many you consume.
Herbs and Spices
Other herbs and spices that are wonderful for detoxifying the body include milk thistle, dandelion, marshmallow, turmeric and ginger.
Eating Healthy – Wrap Up
Eating Healthy is the key to many things in life. And the topic has only just been scratched here. If it is a subject that interests you then do some further research on you own if you have not got all the answers here.
Making sure that you are eating healthy by choosing the right foods, full of antioxidants, that detoxify the body as well as doing a periodic body detox to help to offset the accumulation of toxins that can be so harmful to your health.
And remember this is not medical advice. Whenever you make any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle, even for eating healthy foods, it is always best to consult with your medical practitioner or health care professional beforehand.