Living in our modern world, we’re all subjected to numerous toxins in the environment day after day, from hydrocarbons, lead, insecticides and herbicides, the acid rain that comes from industrial pollution and the prescription medications that pollute our internal environment.
Unless you’re eating organic foods, you’re also regularly consuming large amounts of pesticides and chemical fertilizers; consider that some 60 millions pounds of pesticides are applied to crops across the nation every year.
And that’s just the short list.
The good news is that your body is an incredible machine, in that it’s well-equipped to eliminate many of these toxins. However, with such a heavy load, studies are finding that these harmful compounds may be a factor in the increasing cases of diabetes as well as our skyrocketing obesity problem.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, an internationally renowned physician who has dedicated his career to address the root cause of chronic illness, a 2008 study published in the Lancet made a significant connection with a person’s toxic load, and how the body is able to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol. Over time, these changes result in insulin resistance and increased fat storage.
Dr. Hyman notes that recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that nearly every person tested was carrying a host of “nasty chemicals,” including flame retardants stored in fatty tissue and bisphenol A, the hormone-like substance found in plastics, which is excreted in urine. Babies are not immune either – the average newborn was found to have 287 chemicals in his or her umbilical cord, including 217 consider to be neurotoxic, or poisonous to nerves and nerve cells.
It’s easy to see how your body could become overtaxed with such an abundance of toxins. Fortunately, there is a lot that you can do to aid your body’s natural ability to eliminate them, simply by supporting the four main exit routes for toxins: pee, poop, perspiration and pranayama (Sanskrit for breath).
Our kidneys are some of our most important detoxification organs. To keep them working properly, it’s essential to drink plenty of water, and stay hydrated throughout the day. Keep an eye on your urine – if it’s not clear or pale yellow, you’re probably dehydrated.
Drink at least 8 glasses (a glass is considered to be 8 ounces) of water each day, but keep in mind that tap water in many communities is not safe to drink, and bottled water may not be much better. Dr. Hyman recommends filtering your own water and carrying it around in a stainless steel bottle.
Your poop provides toxins with a one way exit out, which means consuming enough fiber is a must, in order to encourage at least one bowel movement per day. If you are not pooping often enough, toxins accumulate in your digestive tract, which are then reabsorbed back into your bloodstream.
Fiber helps to cleanse the colon by making stools easier to expel. Eat lots of vegetables and drink lots of water to prevent constipation and help this process go smoother. If you’re still having difficulties, consider drinking a cup of warm water mixed with 1-2 teaspoons of organic, raw apple cider vinegar one to three times each day, ideally about 30 minutes before a meal.
The skin is the body’s largest organ for elimination, which means regular exercise is essential for supporting the detoxification process. Work up a good sweat at least three times a week for 20 minutes per session. Using a sauna, steam or detox bath can also aid the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself through sweat.
Dr. Hyman notes that the “lungs are the unsung heroes of the body’s detox squad,” and explains that with every breath they bring in fresh oxygen and help transport it throughout the body. Pranayama, the ancient system of therapeutic breathing from India, can help oxygenate the body and remove toxins. By breathing deeply and fully, you’ll oxygenate your brain, body and spirit – and, even transform your health.
Belly breathing is a great way to use the power of your lungs for healing and detoxifying. Just place your hand on your belly and breathe out, squeezing the air out of your lungs with your stomach muscles.
While you breathe in, relax your stomach muscles and, after filling your lungs, try to push your hand off your belly with your breath as it fills the lower part of your lungs. Continue to breathe in and out slowly through your nose, holding each breath in and each breath out to the count of three. Just five minutes a day provides significant positive effects, according to Dr. Hyman.
By supporting the body’s main detoxification routes, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, not only are you more likely to see stubborn pounds melt away, but you’ll discover a healthier, more vital you in the process.
-The Alternative Daily