We run into so much exposure from chemicals in our modern world, and hear so much about the possible effects, that it’s a little understandable when people consider drastic diets to try to remove toxins from the body — the lemon water-only fast is probably the most extreme example.
But most of these diets are promoted with a vague description of what toxins are and how their eating plan, or lack thereof, is supposed to remove them from the body.
As it turns out, most of us have bodies that do this pretty well on their own through a process based in the liver and gastrointestinal system. The liver converts most waste and potentially harmful substances into bile and other substances that are then secreted by the body through the kidneys, lungs, skin and other organs.
These are completely natural processes that happen on their own, and we can promote them through healthy practices that don’t require an extended fast or an expensive commercial diet:
Limit your exposure
When possible, avoid using, ingesting or inhaling the substances you’re concerned about. Pay attention to air pollution advisories and avoid going outside during dust storms. Reduce your use of highly processed foods and drink filtered water when possible. Avoid harsh household cleaners and personal care products, and avoid using plastic food containers.
Drink more water
Staying hydrated is essential to keeping your blood flowing and organs functioning at peak capacity. It aids digestion and transports waste products to be secreted through urine, perspiration and respiration. Water is vital for detox, but it can’t fill all of your dietary requirements.
Consume food with high antioxidant content
Chronic inflammation comes from many sources, including irritants like chemicals and pollution that tax your body’s immune system. Antioxidants reduce this kind of inflammation by neutralizing the free radicals that result from this reaction. Veggies like beets, broccoli, onions and spinach, fruits like cherries and berries, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and many nuts fit this bill.
Reduce your sodium intake
Salt causes your body to retain excess fluid, which can allow waste products and toxins to build up. Aside from decreasing salt in your diet, the best way to reduce excess fluid is actually to drink more water, which will overcome your body’s propensity to secrete an antidiuretic hormone when it contains too much salt and not enough water.
Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night keeps all of your organs functioning the next day, but it’s a particularly important time for the brain to eliminate toxins that impede its function, including byproducts of natural neurological processes that can have dire consequences if they’re allowed to linger. One of these is beta-amyloid, which has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.