Living in a chemically-oriented society has made toxicity a much greater concern for the 20th Century. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average American consumes four pounds of pesticides each year and has residues from over 400 toxic substances in their body. More than 3,000 chemical additives are found in the foods we eat. The incidence of many toxic diseases has increased as well, with cancer and cardiovascular disease at the top of the list. Arthritis, allergies, obesity, and many skin problems are other troubles that occur as a result of toxicity. In addition, a wide range of symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, pains, coughs, gastrointestinal problems, and problems from immune weakness can all be related to toxicity.
Toxicity can occur on an internal and an external level. We are exposed to toxins daily and can acquire them from our environment by breathing, ingesting, or coming into physical contact with them. Also, most drugs, food additives, and allergens can create toxic elements in the body.
On the internal level, our body produces toxins through its normal, everyday functions. Biochemical, cellular, and bodily activities generate free radicals. When these are not eliminated, they can cause irritation or inflammation of the cells and tissues, blocking normal functions. Internally, fats (especially oxidized fats and cholesterol), free radicals, and other irritating molecules act as toxins. Functionally, poor digestion, colon sluggishness and dysfunction, reduced liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, respiratory tract, and skin all add to increased toxicity.
Microbes, including intestinal bacteria, foreign bacteria, yeasts, and parasites, produce metabolic waste products that we must handle. Our emotions and stress generate increased biochemical toxicity. A normal functioning body was created to handle certain levels of toxins; the concern is with excess intake, production of toxins, or a reduction in the processes of elimination.
Toxicity occurs in our body when we take in more than we can utilize and eliminate. A toxin may produce an immediate or rapid onset of symptoms or cause long-term, negative effects.
If our body is working well, with good immune and eliminative functions, we can handle our basic everyday exposure to toxins. Through detoxification, we clear and filter toxins and wastes and allow our body to work on enhancing its basic functions.
OUR GENERAL DETOXIFICATION SYSTEMS
• Respiratory–lungs, bronchial tubes, throat, sinuses, and nose
• Gastrointestinal–liver, gallbladder, colon, and whole GI tract
• Urinary–kidneys, bladder, and urethra
• Skin and dermal–sweat and sebaceous glands and tears
• Lymphatic–lymph channels and lymph nodes
Our body handles toxins by neutralizing, transforming, or eliminating them. The liver helps transform many toxic substances into harmless agents, while the blood carries waste to the kidneys; the liver also dumps waste through the bile into the intestines, where much of it is eliminated. We also clear toxins when our body sweats. Our sinuses and skin may also be accessory elimination organs, whereby excess mucus or toxins can be released.
Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body by neutralizing or transforming them and clearing excess mucus and congestion. Detoxification also involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce intake of toxins and improve elimination. Avoidance of chemicals (from food or other sources), refined food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and many drugs help to minimize the toxin load. Drinking extra water and increasing fiber by including more fruits and vegetables in the diet are steps in the detoxification process.
Almost everyone needs to detoxify. We detoxify to clear symptoms, treat disease, and prevent further problems. We also detoxify to rest our overloaded organs of digestion.
With a regular balanced diet, devoid of excesses, a less intense detoxification will be indicated. However, when we eat a congesting diet higher in fats, meats, dairy products, refined foods, and chemicals, detoxification becomes more necessary. Who needs to detoxify is based on individual lifestyle and symptoms of toxicity. Common toxicity symptoms include: headache, fatigue, mucus problems, aches and pains, digestive problems, “allergy” symptoms, and sensitivity to environmental agents such as chemicals, perfumes, and synthetics.
General Tips on Performing A Cleanse
In most cases, it is helpful to spend at least a couple months making gradual positive lifestyle changes before your first cleanse. The following paragraphs discuss, in detail, how to perform a toxic cleanse.
Food, Nutrition, and Hydration
There are many levels to detoxification. The first is to eat a non-toxic diet composed of raw foods. A raw-foods diet contains lots of sprouted greens from seeds and grains, such as wheat, buckwheat, sunflower, alfalfa, clover, sprouted beans, soaked or sprouted raw nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Raw foods maintain the highest concentration of vitamins, minerals and important enzymes. Water should always be used during any type of detox program to help dilute and eliminate toxin accumulations. Supplementation is important to encourage healthy kidney and lymphatic system function, maintain healthy liver detoxification function, and promote efficient gastrointestinal elimination and blood purity. Supplementing with Juniper berry, red clover flower, collinsonia root, psyllium husk, burdock root, barley grass, Spanish black radish root, fenugreek seed, fringe tree root, fennel seed, and milk thistle addresses the functioning of each detoxification system and supports the body’s physiological functioning.
Proper Functioning of Eliminatory Organs
Colon cleansing is one of the most important parts of detoxification. Much toxicity comes out of the large intestine, and sluggish functioning of this organ can rapidly produce general toxicity. To improve elimination through the skin, regular exercise is important to stimulate sweating, which aids in detoxification. Dry brushing the skin before bathing is suggested to cleanse the skin of old cells. Massage therapy, especially lymphatic and even deeper massage, is very useful in supporting a detox program; it stimulates elimination and body functions, and also promotes relaxation.
It is important to choose cleansing techniques that are not too extreme for your current condition. Working closely with a health care professional who is familiar with detoxification techniques can be extremely important. While cleanses can be extremely healing, it is important to balance the cleansing techniques with periods of rebuilding and strengthening. This can be done by using other techniques, including: a healthy diet, whole food supplements, yoga, and support. Cleansing without rebuilding and strengthening will eventually weaken your system. Therefore, after each cleanse, take a period of time to concentrate on non-cleansing healing techniques.
Thursday, March 31, 2011