Detox is definitely a buzzword, what does it really mean? In my practice, I find that patients use the word ‘detox’ in a variety of ways. Let’s clear up the confusion. Our bodies are detoxifying every moment of our lives. In this article, I will focus on some simple practical tips to naturally support your detoxification system.
Our detoxification system is quite complex and the major players are our liver, kidneys and GI tract. Our liver processes not just the chemicals we are exposed to daily but also things we produce naturally such as hormones and bilirubin. Some of what the liver processes goes back into our bloodstream to be filtered through our kidneys and excreted through our urine. Other substances are deposited into bile to be dumped into the intestines. Our liver produces roughly 3.5 cups of bile every day! Here is an important piece- when that bile binds to fiber it leaves our body through our stool. Regular bowel movements are a very important part of our detoxification system. Laxatives are not the answer, a healthy diet rich in fiber is!
If our detoxification system is sluggish or compromised it impacts every aspect of our health. The best way to ‘detox’ is to avoid chemical exposure in the first place! We are exposed to foreign compounds on a daily basis from the water we drink, to the air we breath, to the chemicals in our food. Reducing entry of chemicals into our system is paramount.
My favorite tool to help avoid toxins in our environment is the Environmental Working Group (EWG)s free app called Healthy Living. This app has a barcode scanner that makes it easy to decode the labels on everything from food to toothpaste.
Some practical ways to enhance your natural detoxification process include:
Drink ½ body weight (lbs) in ounces of water daily
Consume a diet rich in vegetables, especially vegetables in the brassica family such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts.
Get your body moving. Physical activity moves our lymphatic system which helps remove waste. Bonus if you work up a nice sweat!
Eat 25+ grams of fiber daily. Excellent fiber sources include legumes, avocado, chia, flaxseed, artichoke hearts and oats.
Have 1 BM per day. If you struggle with constipation consuming adequate fiber and water is a good place to start.