Toxins are a part of life. We are exposed to them at all times through the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. To cope with it, the body has its own, very efficient filtration system, which removes most of the toxins that would otherwise harm us. Problem solved? Not quite, the toxic onslaught of today’s modern lifestyle can sometimes be a bit too much for our bodies to handle.
The main organ we have to thank for helping to keep our bodies toxin free is the liver, (although the kidneys, lungs and even skin play their part). The liver filters the blood, removing and breaking down those substances that have the potential to cause damage. It does this in two phases. The first phase involves breaking down toxins into a toxic intermediate known as a free radical. Phase two then works to make these free radicals harmless.
Free radicals are, as you may know from some of our other articles, extremely detrimental to our health. They attack every cell in the body, and cause the oxidization and breakdown of bodily functions. For this reason, it is particularly important that the liver, and the antioxidants you consume, are able to neutralise them as soon as possible – and sometimes, thanks to an unhealthy lifestyle, phase 2 can fall behind. If left unchecked, these free radicals can actually do more damage than the original toxin they were made from.
The best way to deal with this is to simply reduce the amount of toxins you expose yourself too, and here are our tips in achieving just that.
One of the worst things in the modern Western lifestyle is the reliance on heavily processed junk foods. These foods are often referred to as ‘dead’ foods, as they contain little to no nutritional value, and are full of toxins, chemicals, free radicals and hard to digest materials. Instead, eat fresh fruits, vegetables and small amounts of fresh meat. The closer the product is to its original raw form when you buy it, the better it will be from you. Plus, not only will eating fresh food reduce your toxin intake, the boost in nutrition will also improve your body’s ability to deal with them.
Check the ingredients of makeup before you buy it. If it contains things like phthalates and triclosan, then avoid it. These are endocrine disruptors, as well as hormone mimickers, and they will prevent parts of your body from doing their jobs properly.
In order to try and minimise potential damage toxins cause, the body will try to dilute them. The problem though is that this can cause the toxins to be stored in fat – preventing them from being filtered out. By following a healthy fitness regime, and staying in good shape, you can prevent this from happening and ensure toxins are processed properly.
Things like alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and recreational drugs all put extra stress on the liver, and can even make it less efficient at its job.
Pharmaceutical and prescription medication can put a lot of strain on the body. Make sure you know how your meds effect you, and talk to your doctor as to how they can potentially affect your body.
Exercising can cause toxins to be gradually expelled through the skin in our sweat – so make sure you are getting regular exercise!
When toxins are neutralised by the liver, one of the ways they are expelled through the body is in our stool. Constipation leads to the recirculation of toxins, so ensure you are getting enough fibre to keep your gut moving!
Many household cleaners create a by-product known as dioxin, if this gets into your body it disrupts hormones, acts as a carcinogen and prevents the liver from preforming efficiently.
It doesn’t matter how healthy the food inside is, cans are lined with BPA, which can linger in the body for up to 100 years. To make things worse, it over stimulates the phase 1 filtration of the liver, creating more free radicals than the body can keep up with.
This is one of the best ways to give the body time to re-energise and catch up with demand. You should try to get between 6-8 hours of sleep a day, if not, you are going to end up putting too much stress on yourself.
You cannot fully avoid toxins, they are a natural part of life, and your body has the equipment to deal with it for the most part. Problems only occur when you neglect yourself, and allow yourself to get into a situation where toxins can build up beyond your capabilities. Hopefully, with the above tips in hand, this isn’t something you should ever have to worry about!