There is no better time than the beginning of a new decade to take your health a little more seriously. A great jump start is to give your body a good internal cleaning. DETOX and CLEANSE seem to be buzz words these days, but what exactly does that entail. Before we get into that, we need to understand what exactly it is that we are DETOXING or CLEANSING. Which brings us to another buzz word: TOXINS.
Over the last decade we have become increasingly aware of something called TOXINS.
A toxin is defined as any compound that has a detrimental effect on cell function or structure. Unfortunately these are a part of our everyday world. Toxins are everywhere, and truthfully they can't really be avoided. BUT, by educating ourselves on their origin and learning how the body works to eliminate them will allow us to reduce our overall toxicity.
Where do toxins come from?
ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS: sun, radiation, industrial waste (air pollution), heavy metal exposure, cleaning supplies and substances on skin (you be very surprised how many body lotions are packed with toxins. Just for fun, pull out all your lotions and shampoos and see how many have sodium laureth sulfate. There is increasing controversy as to the toxicity of this chemical).
DIETARY TOXINS: pesticides, herbicides, oxidized fats (as in many roasted nuts), burned/smoked foods, preservatives, artificial additives, colors, sweeteners, tobacco smoke, preservatives, etc.
BY-PRODUCTS of HUMAN METABOLISM: free radicals, oxidized hormones, aged cells. Some believe that emotional and mental stresses can also alter the cells in a damaging/toxic way.
As you can see, it is virtually impossible to avoid exposure to toxins. The problem with toxins in our body is their impact on our cells. Each of us have DNA, which is essentially the instruction manual to our cells. It tells them when to grow, when to divide and multiply and how to communicate with neighboring cells. Toxins interfere with our DNA's instruction and can cause our cells to mutate.
But there are lots of things we can to do reduce our exposure to these toxins and there are many things we can do to give our bodies a good CLEANSE or DETOX!
The liver, kidneys and lymphatic system are key to CLEANSING the body. For the same reasons we would change an air filter, we need to clean up these organs. There are many intense ways to do this, and there are some simple and basic ways too. It depends on the depth that you want to DETOX. The goal is to pull all the toxins from our tissues, into the blood and out through the liver, kidney and lymph system. It is all about getting your drainage system working efficiently.
Here are a few helpful (and simple steps):
GOT WATER? - Water, water, water. Drinking lots of healthy water is one of the best gifts you can give to your liver. It is literally "FLUSHING" your system when you drink lots of water. There are many opinions out there about the qualilty of water we comsume. There are questions of vitamins, minerals, flurorides, and pH balance. From purified water, distilled water, and reverse osmosis, there is an entire commercial market out there dedicated to "healthy water". Tap water is not ideal, although professionals say it is better than drinking from plastic bottles (FYI there are more government regulations on tap water than on bottled water). There are so many different opinions are water it may seem overwhelming. I think the key to remember is drink it, Drink It, DRINK IT! Just drink LOTS of water. If you worry at all about mineral or salt depletion in your body you can always supplement for that. I personally don't think we as a society are in any danger of drinking too much water, so drink up!
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT - Give your liver a break from the toxins you are consuming right through your mouth. Vegetables are by far the best thing you can eat while trying to clean out your body. Imagine that there are tiny little "PAC-MANS" packing into each vegetable you eat. Picture these little guys running through the 'maze' of your body gobbling up all the toxins. Obviously this is a simplistic view, but in essence that is exactly how powerful vegetables can be; especially the green ones. (A recent British study found that 95% of cancer was caused by diet and environmental toxins). If you want to give yourself the best DETOX possible here is a challenge:
for 21 days avoid all meat, dairy, sugar, and caffeine. Maintain a diet of unlimited vegetables, and enjoy fruits, beans (the legume.. you know...kidney beans, black beans, etc), and whole grains (ONLY WHOLE grains, avoid anything that says 'Enriched').
This will be one of the BEST things you will EVER do for you body and your Health. Just try it. There is a saying the medical world, "If you're not up on it, you'r down on it!" Don't be one of those people that immediately dismisses a new idea simple because you are "not up on it" or haven't heard it before. JUST TRY IT! Your body (and liver) will speak for itself.
TIME TO SWEAT - Saunas, hot tubs, and even your bathtub are fantastic ways to aid the liver in releasing toxins. During your DETOX you should try to sweat as much as possible. This does not include the kind from exercising (although we will get to that). There is physiological difference in our bodies when we sweat due to an internal source compared to an external source. We want the external kind here. Our liver works very hard for us 24 hours a day. When we sweat, it allows the liver to take a bit of a 'break' by using our skin (which is our largest organ) to work for a while instead. If you only have access to your bathtub, that's good enough. Make the water as hot as you can stand. It will take about 15 minutes for you body temperature to increase. Shortly thereafter you will feel the sweat on your hairline and forehead (since the rest of your body is submerged you won't be able to feel the sweat anywhere else). A good 15 minutes for sweating is a great treat for the liver.**
GET MOVING - Your lymph system is your drainage system, and sometimes that gets "clogged". It needs to be stimulated to flush your toxins properly. One of the best ways to do this is through exercise; get moving. Trampolines or rebounders have proven to work wonders on the lymphatic system. Elliptical machines, jumping rope or even running can have the same "bouncing" effect that stimulates the lymphatic system. Exercise in general has so many powerful effects on your body as a whole that is should be incorporated into most CLEANSES.
These are 4 SIMPLE STEPS to cleaning out your toxins. AND YOU WILL NOTICE a difference.
This might include: increased energy; improved mental clarity and function; improved digestion and elimination; enhanced immune system and resistance to infection or illness; improved blood circulation; healthy skin; improved libido and sexual function; and improved mood and sense of well-being.
Detoxification and cleansing have an important place in the role of preventive healthcare. The main reason I want a clean body is to prevent future disease. In 2010 cancer will rise to the top of the list as the number one killer WORLD WIDE. There is a DIRECT link between CANCER and the quantity of TOXINS in the body.
We have a tendency as a species to what to do something "GUNG-HO" to jump start new changes. This is evident in the billion dollar weight loss industry. For some reason we feel we can expect better results if we have to pay for something. If that is your attitude towards a good DETOX there are many places ready and willing to take you well earned dollar. Just search colon cleanse on the Internet. You will be overwhelming within the hour. There are pills, and drugs, and supplements, and herbs for just about anything. I am not saying that these are all bad. In fact, if you really want to spend a few bucks just to prove your commitment to yourself, go and getting a colonic from a specialist (this is the flushing of the bowel and intestine with water pressure). Something I have done and definitely recommend. But don't underestimate the power of small and simple changes. Master the easier steps first before you break the bank on bottles promising to transform you. The hardest thing you can do, and by far the most powerful, is to change your diet!!!!
For more intense cleansing, look into a gall bladder cleanse, a candida cleanse, colon cleanse and chelation (heavy metal cleanse). You can also do numerous different blood tests to determine nutritional deficiencies. Also, don't underestimate the power that stress, depression, or lack of sleep can have on your entire system. Dietary changes are the most important changes you can make, but this will be very difficult if you are being plagued with emotional/mental challenges. Address these if necessary.
**On a side note, studies have been done on the temperature of cancer cells. Cancer cells prefer to be cool and have difficult surviving temperatures higher than 104 degrees. Each time you sweat you may be killing off potentially dangerous precancerous cells.
A report by the Columbia University School of Public Health estimates that of cancer is caused by diet and environmental toxicity.