Just living in our chemical-filled world can introduce toxins into our bodies. Many of these toxins can occur naturally, while others are by-products of food processing and agriculture. Still other toxic substances can lurk in commonly-used food and beverage containers.
Holistic Nutrition can support our bodies in its natural detoxification functions to reduce the effect of toxins we encounter every day in processed foods or the environment. To better your health, be mindful of reducing ingested and environmental toxins. Here are some simple things you can do each day to lighten up your toxic load.
Hydrate, Get Micronutrients, and Detox with Lemon Water in the Morning
Start your day with a tepid (room-temperature) glass of water and the juice of ½ a squeezed lemon. Lemon juice contains citric acid and has a mild detoxifying affect. Starting your day with lemon water gives you hydration, antioxidants, electrolytes and a boost of vitamin C: all important factors in the detoxification process.
The Importance of Hydration
There is no kinder, easier, and simpler form of self-care than drinking 2 liters of fluids every day. If you drink caffeinated beverages, live in a humid or hot climate, or exercise you need more. But let 8 cups be your goal.
We get some of our hydration from food, which is why it’s important to seek foods that are naturally high in water content. Water-containing vegetables include lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, celery (salad, anyone?). Fruits that are full of hydration include strawberries, cantaloupe, oranges, peaches, and watermelon. H20 helps your liver, kidneys, colon, and skin to do their detoxifying work better by flushing out tissues, stimulating bile production and supporting enzyme exchange within your organs.
Strengthen Your Liver with Liver-Friendly Foods
Your liver is one of the most important organs. It requires key micronutrients to help detox your body. Some of the nutrients that help your liver stay healthy and do its job are B-Vitamins including B-6, B-12, and folic acid, Vitamin C, the mineral selenium, and proteins and amino acids including glutathione, glycine, cysteine, and choline. In order for a detox and cleanse to be safe and successful, you should ensure your liver is supported with these important nutrients so that it can handle toxins as they are released from body tissues and are processed by your liver.
Liver-friendly foods include these nutrients are bitter greens like chicory, dandelion greens and arugula; and, better known, dark green cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These green foods along with garlic help to increase the liver’s natural detoxification enzymes. Other liver-supporting foods include apples, avocados, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, and green tea and turmeric.
Make Organic Choices
Does choosing organic really make a difference? Yes, it does. Health Canada has officially identified 44 different toxic substances, including PCBs, toluene, and styrene, present in our food and other parts of the environment. Some toxins are not yet officially acknowledged as toxic, yet can cause health problems, including weed-killers like glyphosate (Roundup) which has been named a carcinogen by the World Health Organization.
Start with choosing organic versions of foods that are recognized by The Environmental Working Group as one of the “dirty dozen”. These foods, which include #1 (Strawberries) and #2 (Spinach) and ten other common fruits and vegetables, are those which as conventionally-grown foods, are most-heavily contaminated by pesticides. The Environmental Working Group also has a list of the “Clean 15” foods which contain lower amounts of pesticides when grown conventionally. That said, always wash every food thoroughly whether organic or conventionally-grown.
Finally, Just Breathe.
“Beauty sleep” is a thing. Make sure to get proper rest so your body can rejuvenate and restore itself. Practice self-care by taking a nap, reading a book, meditating, or just spending quiet time doing something you. Stress itself is toxifying and it makes it harder for our bodies to deal with the toxins present in our internal and external environment. Letting go of the sometimes- toxic expectations of others (and yourself!) is another way to feel your best naturally.