If you’ve been feeling a bit blah and short on energy, you might chalk it up to the inevitabilities of aging. However, much of what we chalk up to aging is, in reality, caused by a buildup of toxins in the body. If you’ve noticed any of the following issues, you may well be suffering from toxic overload. Even if you haven’t, introducing plenty of body cleansing foods into your diet can keep toxins from cropping up.
Stubborn weight - If all your diet and exercise efforts aren’t enough to get those extra pounds to budge, toxins may be to blame. Many toxins build up in the fat cells, making it harder to lose the weight. If toxins are the problem, you may not want to lose the weight too fast, as it can cause the toxins to pour into the rest of the body, causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Adding body cleansing foods to your diet can help remove these toxins gently, so they can be eliminated and the fat will be easier to lose.
Exhaustion - If you just can’t seem to get going, no matter how many hours of sleep you get at night, you may be overloaded with toxins. Toxins in the body create physical stress, which can lead to adrenal fatigue and exhaustion, and some toxins can directly impact the adrenal glands. Incorporating more body cleansing foods will not only help remove toxic overload, but provide much needed nutrients to help you recover.
Insomnia - When toxins accumulate, your hormone levels suffer. Normally, cortisol levels are highest in the morning and drop throughout the day. Toxins can cause evening cortisol levels to be too high for good sleep.
Brain fog - Many toxins have a direct influence on the brain and can leave you feeling spacy or unable to concentrate.
Headaches - Many toxins, especially MSG and aspartame, can cause headaches.
Irritability - Some toxins, particularly xenoestrogens, can cause hormonal imbalances, which can lead to mood swings.
Body odor - If you find yourself with bad breath, foul gas, or body odor, it’s a sign that your channels of elimination are not able to keep up with your toxic load.
Constipation - Regular, daily bowel movements are critical to eliminating toxins from the body. If you are constipated, your body is reabsorbing those toxins. Water, fiber, probiotics, and magnesium can all help you have more regular bowel movements.
Muscle aches - Some toxins trigger pain receptors, leading to spasms and pain. This may happen almost immediately, or could be delayed.
Skin problems - You may not realize it, but your skin is one of your organs of elimination. When the liver is overloaded, the skin tries to excrete some of the excess toxins, leading to rashes, boils, and breakouts.
Toxins are defined as anything that interferes with normal cell function or structure; the modern world is filled with such substances, including heavy metals, pesticides, food additives, hormones, microbial toxins, liver toxins, and protein byproducts.
One of the most important keys to wellness is to find ways to minimize toxins from accumulating in the body, preferably with a diet that includes plenty of body cleansing foods. The more toxins that build up in the body, the less able your body is to do what it needs to do, and the more vulnerable you become to illness, aging, and adrenal fatigue. Complete detoxification involves removing toxins from the bowels, kidneys, lungs, liver, and blood, as these are the channels by which toxins are removed and eliminated from the body.
When you start eating more body cleansing foods and fewer unhealthy foods filled with toxic additives, a few things will begin to happen. First, toxins that have been building up in the digestive tract will be swept away, allowing for toxins in the liver, kidneys, and blood to be removed. You’ll begin to be able to think more clearly, as brain fog due to toxins in the brain clears. In time, you’ll notice less desire for such substances as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, and even sugar. Finally, your adrenal glands will recover and you’ll have more energy and be better able to cope with stressful situations. You may also notice that your cravings for sugar, caffeine, and fatty foods gradually being replaced by cravings for healthy, body cleansing foods.
As toxins build up, adrenal fatigue advances and symptoms become more severe. As adrenal fatigue advances, the body becomes less able to rid itself of toxins, and they continue to accumulate – now faster than before. As adrenal fatigue advances and the body has more trouble eliminating toxins, it is critical that the detoxification process be done carefully and gently, in a way that toxins removed from the tissues can be eliminated from the body rather than being reabsorbed. A diet rich in body cleansing foods is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this.
An aggressive detoxification program may lead to a flood of toxins that the body cannot eliminate, which can cause unwanted side effects such as fatigue, brain fog, fever, dizziness, insomnia, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and chills, among others. This is sometimes referred to as a healing crisis. Introducing more body cleansing foods can help gently remove toxins in such a way that these side effects are minimized.
As adrenal fatigue becomes more advanced, the glands become less able to excrete cortisol. As cortisol levels drop, the gallbladder is less able to recycle bile effectively, while the body loses the ability to metabolize fat effectively. This leads to an increased burden on the liver, which causes even more toxins to accumulate. To make matters worse, many sufferers turn to a diet filled with preservatives and other toxins, as these foods are more convenient to buy, prepare, and eat than body cleansing foods.
Toxic overload and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome present a vicious cycle with the liver struggling to cope with increasing toxic load. To complicate matters, the damage cannot be detected with traditional diagnostic tools, as all of this is occurring within the individual cells. Because of this, many individuals are told their symptoms are all in their heads and that the condition is not real.
Before we talk about body cleansing foods to incorporate into your diet, let's first talk about avoiding toxins. After all, it makes little sense to continue bombarding your body with additional toxins at the same time that you're trying to rid yourself of toxins.
Pesticides - Pesticides and herbicides are used in conventional farming to prevent crops from being attacked by bugs or choked out by weeds. However, these chemicals have been linked to birth defects, cancer, neurological disorders, developmental disorders, and infertility. Recent research found that a common weed killer was linked to a 10% weight gain in lab animals. One of the best ways to avoid these chemicals is buying organic. If buying organic is not an option, soak your produce in vinegar, ozone, or activated charcoal to remove pesticides before cooking or eating. To save money on organic produce, focus on fruits and vegetables that are eaten with the skin on, such as apples and carrots. Most of the pesticide content tends to be on the surface, so things like bananas, oranges, and watermelon are less critical. The best body cleansing foods are fresh, organic, and pesticide free.
Preservatives - Many preservatives, in particular BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), have been determined to be carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. BHA is used in hundreds of processed foods and is also found in food packaging and cosmetics. BHA and other preservatives are used to prolong shelf life by preventing oxidation and retarding rancidity. Preservatives may also disturb hormone balance and interfere with male fertility. The best way to avoid toxins is to avoid processed foods in general. However, that is not practical for many people, especially those with adrenal fatigue. If you simply cannot help purchasing processed foods, check labels and avoid BHA, BHT, polysorbates, sodium benzoate, sulfites, potassium sorbate, and nitrates.
Dairy - Conventionally produced dairy products are made from milk from cows given recombinant bovine growth hormone to increase milk production. This growth hormone has been linked to increased levels of insulin like growth factor in dairy products. This growth factor has been shown to be a significant risk.
Sodium Aluminum Sulphate and Potassium Aluminum Sulphate - These additives are used to adjust pH in baked goods, as an emulsifier in processed cheese spread, in food colorings, and as a firming agent for pickles and pickled products. The aluminum in these ingredients has been linked to negative reproductive and neurological developmental, as well as behavioral effects.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) - BPA is found in many plastics, including the linings of food and beverage cans. This chemical mimics the effects of certain hormones and may increase your risk of some cancers, infertility, obesity, and diabetes. The best way to avoid this chemical is to choose fresh, dried, or frozen foods over canned. When heating food in the microwave, be sure to use glass containers and look for BPA free water bottles and storage containers.
Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate - Sodium nitrite and nitrate are used as a preservative in cured meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. These preservatives have been linked to several different cancers. Be sure to read labels, even on packages with the words 'uncured' or 'no added nitrites/nitrates', as many of these use celery juice as an alternative which can also be high in nitrates.
Fried foods and foods cooked on high heat - Many foods, especially meats, produce carcinogenic chemicals when cooked on high heat, over an open flame, or fried.
Artificial Food Coloring - Artificial food colorings are made from petroleum byproducts along with known carcinogens. They have been linked to hyperactivity, behavioral issues, and neurological problems.
Artificial Sweeteners - Artificial sweeteners may be an even bigger problem than sugar. Research shows that artificial sweeteners trick the brain into craving more sweets.
Artificial Flavors - If you see artificial flavors on a food label, this means that the food has been so heavily processed that much of the natural flavor is gone and the manufacturer has replaced it with a blend of potentially hundreds of chemicals.
This is much to keep in mind and this list only touches the tip of the iceberg of all the toxins that may be found in food. Just remember to look at the ingredients label, and if you see the word artificial or any word that you cannot easily pronounce - you are not looking at a body cleansing food. While this will not protect you from some toxins, such as pesticides or growth hormones, it will protect you from many toxins.
To remove toxins from your body gently and effectively, focus your diet on the following body cleansing foods:
© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.