Let your liver do less work by detoxing once in a while.
Can you imagine the amount of toxins and chemicals that pass through your body daily? A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that the average person has 60 percent of the 75 chemicals tested in the body and these range from synthetic fragrances to common household chemicals. Many of these chemicals may be harmful and contribute to the potential development of certain chronic diseases and illnesses.
We shouldn’t be surprised. In fact, from the moment we wake to the moment we retire for the night, we are exposed to an incredibly huge amount of chemicals. The personal care products we use contain synthetic fragrances and preservatives; the processed foods we consume contain food additives that do not contribute to our health in any way; and the air we breathe may comprise volatile organic compounds, especially if our office is new or recently renovated.
Our body is bombarded with toxins every day. And we often neglect how our body might take it due to the simple reason that it hasn’t broken down yet. So, we embrace convenience over health unwittingly. We eat processed foods because they are so easy to prepare and because they are so time-efficient. Just like coffee drinkers who cannot resist their morning cuppa, most of which comes from an easy-to-tear sachet. The choices make it convenient too. Less sugar? Low fat? The choices to unhealthy living are endless.
What does the body deal with all these toxins? Basically, most toxins enter our bloodstream through inhalation (air pollutants), swallowing (food intake), and skin (personal care products like shower gel and body lotions). These toxins pass through our liver where they will be broken down and removed from the blood in the form of perspiration and others before they can cause more harm to the body. Imagine the amount of work the liver has to do every day!
That’s where detoxification comes in. Much as we want to live cleanly by consuming whole foods and saying no to coffee, sometimes it is strenuously difficult to do so. We can however help our liver to carry out its function better by embarking on a detox plan.
Contrary to the common perception that a detox means only an all-out food fast or juicing diet– methods that are advocated by many to be beneficial to help bodies detox — a clean and healthy diet comprising vegetables and fresh fruits can work too to aid liver detoxification. Moreover, for some of us, fasting is not that feasible an option and the juicing diet is not entirely beneficial too due to the lack of nutrients such as protein. A clean diet is still the better option to derive a more complete set of vitamins and minerals we need for daily functioning. Let’s look at what it comprises:
Load up on Glutathione in our foods
Glutathione is an antioxidant and compound comprising three amino acids. It is an important compound that our body needs because it helps to fight free radicals and detoxifies the body of harmful substances or toxins. As we age, the amount of glutathione also diminishes; all the more we need this antioxidant in our body daily. Consuming foods comprising glutathione or aid in its synthesis will help to ensure a steady stream of this antioxidant within our body. Some of these foods are:
Vegetables containing sulphur: broccoli, cabbage, watercress, cauliflower, onions, and garlic are some examples.
Milk thistle: it is a flowering herb native to Mediterranean countries. According to WebMD, it is used to treat liver problems like hepatitis and cirrhosis. Milk thistle is believed to aid the liver to detoxify.
Fruits: Oranges, peaches, and watermelon are fruits containing a high amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant said to help in the synthesis of glutathione in the body. Another powerful detoxifier is lemon. Squeeze some lemon in your water and make it part of your drinking routine.
Pycnogenol: derived from pine bark, pycnogenol contains substances that help in the blood circulation. WebMD says that eating this could stimulate the immune system. Many anti-ageing products contain pycnogenol.
On top of these detox foods, we should also eat foods that aid in the removal of toxins faster. One way is to load up on fibre foods such as pears, apples, bananas, and whole grains. A steady diet rich in fibre helps to move waste and toxins easier out of the body.
Besides eating particular foods that help in detoxification, we should also make an effort to avoid consuming foods that make our liver do double duty. Fried & fatty foods, refined sugar, salt, and alcohol could be damaging to the liver if taken in excess over a period of time, so try to minimise their intake. Organic farming however ensures that foods are free from pesticides and chemicals. Consuming organic foods from meats to vegetables and fruits can help you to steer clear of the chemical overload.
When we exercise, we work up a sweat, flushing toxins out of the system. Exercise aids in blood circulation too, moving the lymphatic system and enhancing the general well-being of a person. There are lots of reasons, good ones of course, for engaging in a vigorous round of exercise, be it games or sports.
Tap on natural living
Besides eating whole foods and avoiding other unwholesome ones, we can consider cutting down on personal care and household cleaning products that are laden with chemicals. One way is to use natural products for household cleaning for example. White vinegar and baking soda are excellent household cleaners.
Consider also using natural, organic personal care products from shampoos to body creams to minimise exposure to more chemicals. Moving to the organic lifestyle might take time and effort. And it might not be so easy to find a product that is suitable for your skin type or condition. However, being conscious about the possible impact of toxins on your body and taking steps, even little ones, will help to improve your health in the long run.