By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
The words toxins and detox are everywhere. You’ve probably heard these keywords, but you might be confused about what they mean and how they relate to you. Let’s first start with their definitions.
Toxins are simply things that can either build up in, or negatively affect our bodies and make us sick over time. They come in all shapes and sizes from emotions to chemicals to foods. Very simply put, they’re things we need to be aware of. Toxins can include: Artificial and processed foods and ingredients that not only provide little to no nutritional value, but that also may be challenging for our bodies to get rid of. As mentioned above, emotions and relationships that are unhealthy can also pose rise to increasing toxic load in our bodies as well.
Detoxification or “detox” is the process of getting rid of toxins. Toxins can be eliminated two ways depending on what type of toxin they are; either we physically remove the toxin to lessen or eradicate our exposure (think of negative emotions, chemicals in our houses, etc.), or we help promote detoxification inside our body. Our bodies are great natural detoxifiers, especially the liver. The liver can detoxify the blood and remove chemicals and other toxins that have built up, especially if we decrease our intake of those toxic foods and chemicals, and increase intake of certain nutrients that promote liver detoxification (see below).
So now that we have a basic understanding of what toxins are and what detoxification is at a very basic level, it’s key to include some foods that you can eat and practices that you can do to help promote the natural detoxification process for our bodies and our lives.
Although these types of toxins aren’t technically considered toxins because they don’t require the liver to process them, emotional toxins can promote making less healthful food and lifestyle choices that can negatively affect how our bodies process things and toxins. Our relationships are key places to look for toxins that may be affecting our lives; it’s key to find time for us to think and check in with ourselves, exercise and spend time with friends and family.
Chemicals that we use in our lives can also pose some toxic risk. These chemicals can be found in household cleaners, laundry detergents, perfumes and fragrances, plastics found in food containers and water bottles.
Foods can also be toxic to our bodies, especially processed, pre-packaged ones like these 5 ingredients you should never eat that are loaded with chemicals that our bodies simply just don’t recognize. The good news is that there are foods that can actually help our bodies produce more detoxifying chemicals that can help the liver to better do it’s job of detoxifying. Here are foods you should include (and also, don’t forget to cut back processed, packaged and artificial foods) to help your body keep itself clean.
General tips for avoiding toxins: