Our bodies are bombarded with toxins every minute of every day. Most of the time we are able to transforms these toxins into harmless molecules that can be eliminated. Unfortunately, our ability to detoxify is compromised by increasing exposure to toxins found in our environment and a lack of the nutrients needed to fuel the process.
Doug Broman, doctor of chiropractic at Maple Grove’s Broman Chiropractic, offers some sobering facts: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 4 billion pounds of chemicals were released into the ground in 2000, threatening our natural groundwater sources. Over 260 million pounds of chemicals were discharged into surface waters (i.e. lakes and rivers), nearly 2 billion pounds of air emissions were pumped into the atmosphere, several thousand food additives were intentionally added to our food supply, and thousands more slip into the food supply unintentionally during harvesting, processing or packaging. In fact, the average American eats about 124 pounds of additives each year.
While these facts can seem overwhelming, our livers, and to a lesser degree other tissues, are designed to cleanse our bodies. Consuming low-allergen foods is a good way of boosting the body’s natural abilities, but sometimes an intentional detoxification program is an important first step in reversing the effects of overexposure. “Detoxing is about going back to the basics—eating real food and taking proper supplementation to help your body reset and function optimally,” says Jennifer Sweeney, doctor of chiropractic at DC Wellness.
Broman uses detoxification in advance of weight loss programs. “Slow metabolism and poor digestion results in a metabolic syndrome resulting in obesity, altered body composition and insulin resistance,” Broman says. Detoxification can affect a body’s metabolic rate and aid in better digestion in order for a healthy dietary routine to reverse or hinder obesity.
“Amazing changes can be made in the body when you eliminate the toxins and give it the nutrients it needs to repair itself,” adds Sweeny. ”When you go back to the basics—cutting out sugar, processed foods, highly allergenic foods, etc. your body stops craving the unhealthy foods and starts craving the healthy foods.”
Detoxification often consists of a measured period of eliminating foods that cause sensitivity. Additionally this effort can be enhanced with substances that encourage the evacuation of toxins or supplements that provide important nutritional support.
Changes in dietary habits can be challenging, but with the ever increasing amount of toxic load we ask our bodies to process, we owe it to our liver, if not our entire body, to make it as easy as possible to live a long and healthy life.
Doug Broman shares advice for reducing toxin exposure and supporting detoxification.
Common Ways to Reduce Toxin Exposure
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming.
- Eat organic foods, particularly meats.
- Drink a lot of purified water.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
- Use prescription and over-the-counter medications only when absolutely necessary.
- Limit exposure to pesticides and herbicides.
- Use protective gear when working with pesticides, paint and other toxic substances.
- Use air purifiers.
- Avoid living or working near industrial plants or areas of high vehicle traffic.
Ways to Support Your Body’s Detoxification Capacity
- Lose weight. Simply put, this means calories consumed minus calories burned. There is no fast solution here. It is eating less, eating wisely and exercising more, and doing it for a long time.
- Avoid foods high in calories and low in nutrient value. Avoiding foods such as breads, starch, red meat and dairy products, which are high in fat, is helpful. Shunning foods containing high fructose, such as soda and candy, is also recommended.
- Do exercise programs that include 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular training, including interval training and weightlifting. These produce a higher metabolic rate and allow a higher calorie burn throughout the course of the day.
- Current research indicates that a Mediterranean diet composed of fish, fruits and vegetables in conjunction with an active lifestyle generates the best outcomes.