Here’s a troubling statistic: currently, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer, and 1 in 3 will develop cancer of any kind in their lifetime. What’s more, rates of infertility (for both women and men), birth defects, and developmental disorders are rising at a rate that is unexplained by the evolution of human genetics alone.¹
What does this mean?
Outside influences are having a major negative impact on human health! (for more on this, check out this video by the Environmental Working Group).
Specifically, environmental influences on health and disease include exposure to:
- heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides
- microbes such as bacteria, virus, and fungi
- chemicals and pollutants
At this point, you might be thinking, how the hell do I avoid all of those things?! And the truth is, you can’t. No one can. In the world today, these environmental factors are so ubiquitous that the average baby is born with more than 200 toxins already in his or her body!¹
So what can we do?
While it is crucial to decrease our exposure to the above environmental influences as much as possible (by eating organic, drinking filtered water, buying household and personal care products without harmful chemicals, etc), it is also crucial to do all that we can to keep our bodies capable of proper detoxification.
And I’m not talking about a juice cleanse here or there.
Below are 4 simple steps we can take to help detoxify our bodies daily (yes, daily!):
Exercise increases circulation, which helps to increase the body’s rate of detoxification. *Bonus* try adding weekly or monthly massage or sauna to your routine. All of these steps will increase circulation, but exercise and sauna have the added benefit of sweating, which, according to a review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012, may potentially “assist with removal of toxic elements from the body.”²
There’s really no prim and proper way to say it. Everybody poops and we should all be pooping daily. Fiber plays a big role in daily bowel movements, and unabsorbed fiber binds toxins in the body and takes them out of the body in the poo. So, aim to eat at least 15g of fiber per 1000 kcal consumed daily (good sources include whole fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and bran), and enjoy your daily sit on the toilet.
Most of the human body is made up of water, and hence, water plays a critical role in maintaining optimal function of all physiological processes, including detoxification. As Dr. Jeffrey Bland explains, “as water is lost and not replaced, the concentration of substances within cells increases, pH changes, and enzyme function is altered. Muscle cramping, sore muscles, reduced mental clarity, constipation, fatigue, and increased sensitivity to toxic substances all increase during states of dehydration.”³
Average adequate intake for water is about 2 liters daily, but will depend on activity level and climate as well. Make water more fun by infusing it with fresh fruit or herbs, or drink fresh brewed and unsweetened green tea. Aim to keep your urine a pale yellow color.
Load up on cruciferous veggies
Cruciferous veggies (i.e. brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale, arugula, collard greens, cauliflower, bok choy, etc) are rich in sulfur-containing glucosinolates, which, when broken down by the body, ultimately help to increase the rate of detoxification. Unless you have hypothyroidism, cruciferous veggies are safe (and delicious) to eat daily!
The bottom line is, proper nutrition, hydration, and activity can work wonders in helping our bodies to detoxify all the environmental gunk we are inevitably exposed to.
Question, comments? Leave ’em below! I love to hear from you!
Cook, K. 2012, July 23. 10 Americans. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-kc3AIM_LU
Sears, M., Kerr, K., Bray, R., (2012). Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review. Journal of Environmental and Public Health.
Bland, J. “Air and Water.” Published in Jones, D., (2010). Textbook of Functional Medicine. The Institute for Functional Medicine. Federal Way, WA. p. 128