Let’s start from the beginning, what is a toxin? Toxic exposure can come from anything your body considers foreign. Triggers include:
· Environmental: foods, alcohol, drugs, exhaust, air pollutants, household cleaners, water contaminants
· Psychological/mental: stress, lack of relaxation
· Physiological: lack of sleep, exercise
Who might benefit from detoxing?
Most intuitively we might think of: cyclists, those who live under flight path path/next to a freeway, or urban dwellers. In reality, we all would! To complicate the matter, there are many genetic factors that can increase the risk of a defective detox system. Environmental toxins are ubiquitous! For those toxins that we can’t control it’s important to help bolster your body’s natural defenses against them.
Deanna Minich provides a basic step-by-step process that helps to visualize your detox plan.
1. Remove- any triggers
2. Protect- your body with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and vitamins
3. Support- your body’s natural elimination routes including: gut, kidney, skin, and lungs. This can be done with movement and dietary approaches.
a. Go sweat! You can do this through exercise or saunas- be sure to exfoliate your skin to slough off the toxins being excreted through sweat and to maintain the health of your largest organ, your skin.
b. Additionally, provide your body with the sustenance it needs like fiber, water, and probiotics.
4. Enhance- your liver’s innate detox system with protein and nutrient-dense foods.
To dive a little deeper, there are 2 phases (plus elimination) within our natural detoxification pathway. Each phase requires different dietary sources of support that I’ve outlined below. These phases are naturally occurring all day everyday, which is why daily dietary help matters!
Let’s cut to the chase. If I wanted a short cut, what is the most powerful detoxifying food?
Cruciferous vegetables, talkin ‘bout you broccoli! Why? Because of the compound called sulforaphane, which has the ability to upregulate your body’s endogenous (made from within) production of glutathione, our most powerful and potent antioxidant.
Another integral enzyme within the scope of detox is ACE. This antioxidant enzyme’s production can be genetically induced. Let me clarify- certain foods have the power to turn your genes to 11 on the antioxidant amplifier:
· fish oil
· lycopene (red veggies)
· catechins + ellagic acid (green tea)
· curcumin (turmeric),
· cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts)
· resveratrol (red, blue, purple skin fruit)
Now let’s examine how to cook to ensure foods conserve their detoxifying compounds.
1. Proper cookware! Stick to cast iron pans and avoid plastics.
2. Slow, low, method. Meats and vegetables benefit from this method, most notably.
3. Combo of raw and lightly steamed.
4. Include fermented foods.
Here are a couple of great recipes to help you get started: crispy Brussel sprouts or Indian cauliflower dish. Another great way to sneak broccoli into your diet is to shave it into your favorite Bolognese/pasta sauce!
Contact me if you want to figure out your toxic load, for more information regarding detoxification-promoting food, your genetic risk for low detoxification, or if you’d like a detoxifying meal plan.