With all the environmental and food toxins that are so prevalent in today’s society, it’s no wonder there are increasing rates of chronic disease. In fact, the average person is exposed to over 100 toxic chemicals each day!
You can make meaningful changes to your lifestyle to significantly reduce your exposure to toxicants and promote the health of you and your family. Before making any lifestyle modifications, talk to your doctor to see if these changes are right for you.
Increasing circulation improves nutrient delivery and waste removal processes within your body. Your skin is also the largest detoxification organ of the body: the majority of toxicants we are exposed to actually come out via the sweat. Daily physical activity or sauna use will support your body’s innate ability to remove harmful chemicals. Don’t forget to hydrate with filtered water!
2. Buy organic whole foods
Significantly reduce your intake of pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides by choosing to buy organic, unprocessed foods. If cost is a concern, focus on buying organic for the most highly sprayed produce. Processed foods, canned food, and fried foods contain other toxicants besides pesticides due to their method of preparation and packaging. It is best to minimize your intake of processed foods and focus on whole, unprocessed foods for the majority of your diet.
3. Eat more garlic, broccoli, and fiber
Vegetables in the cruciferous (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, and allium (garlic, leeks, onions) families are very high in nutrients that support healthy detoxification. Fiber binds to toxins in our digestive system prevents their absorption into our bloodstream. It also helps support regular bowel movements, and thus the removal of toxicants.
4. Use organic, non-toxic products in your home and on your body
There are natural, synthetic-chemical-free products to clean your home, do your laundry, and wash dishes. Your skin is the largest organ and highly absorbent of chemicals! Choose non-toxic products for your shampoo, makeup, toothpaste, lotions, and other personal care products. Visit www.ewg.org/skindeep to rate the products you currently use and to find healthier alternatives.
5. Find out if you have a high toxicant load or impaired detoxification
Sometimes preventative measures are not enough to clear your body of built-up toxins. Talk to your naturopathic physician if you think toxins may be causing your health-related conditions (like headaches, acne, eczema, fatigue, food allergies, environmental sensitivities).
Following these 5 basic guidelines will help decrease your toxicant exposure while also supporting healthy detoxification pathways in your body. Ask your doctor if these lifestyle approaches are right for you.
Katherine Carvlin, ND
Katherine Carvlin is a licensed naturopathic physician specializing in environmental medicine. She practices at the Institute of Complementary Medicine in Seattle, WA