Unlikely Toxins & How Best to Detox

We are literally swimming in toxins these days. From the bed we sleep on, to the ‘fresh’ water we drink in the morning, to our toothpaste we use to clean our teeth to the circulating air on the MTR on our morning commute. No matter what we’re doing we are swimming in toxins. At the same time, we can’t live in a bubble or be a hypochondriac. But we can be aware of the chemicals and toxins we are intaking or absorbing and also be consistent with clearing them out of our system, just like going to the dentist.

Awareness is the first step in being motivated for action. Below we list out 4 unlikely places toxins can be lurking and how to best detoxify these chemicals and minimise your exposure to them.    

    1. Coffee

    Whether you’re brewing it at home or getting it at Starbucks, coffee is a huge source of chemical exposure for most of us. Coffee has been found to contain high levels of BPA and is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. And if you use a single serve coffee maker, heating up the plastic pod means the leaching of hormone disrupting chemicals into your morning brew.

    How to minimise exposure and detox:

    Organic green and white tea are much healthier ways to get your caffeine fix. Or consider brewing your own in a French press or stainless steel moka pot, and drinking it from a ceramic mug or stainless steel to-go cup. When buying coffee, always choose organic. 

    View coffee alternative: Dandy Blend, instant herbal caffeine free beverage - that tastes like coffee!

    2. Brown Rice & Tap Water

    What do these have in common? Arsenic! Brown rice, tap water, seafood and some certain wine and seaweeds are just some sources of the arsenic that we are exposed to. While rice is one of the staples in our Asian and gluten free diet, it can also contain as much as ten times the amount of inorganic arsenic as other foods.  Arsenic is the largest environmental factor leading to cancer. 

    How minimise exposure and detox: 

    Be extra careful when doing your grocery shopping of these foods. I would even go as far as to ask for lab reports from the manufacturers or brands if you are eating any of these foods in large or frequent amounts. Make sure your water filter can remove heavy metals and that you are boosting your body's detoxification pathways using detox aids like Flor Essence tea or important detoxification nutrients like glutathione and folate. Spirulina and chlorella are also useful at binding heavy metals, so if you want to focus on eliminating heavy metals, you can consider including some spirulina or chlorella powder in your smoothie.

    View organic grains that have been tested for aflatoxins and other metals from Organic Traditions.

    3. Air Fresheners, Perfumes, Scented Candles….

    These may smell good but if it’s made of chemicals and synthetic fragrances than the benefits risks will certainly outweigh the benefits. Synthetic fragrances are filled with benzene, phthalates, aldehydes and many other chemicals that can disrupt our endocrine system which can lead to hormonal imbalances and reproductive problems.

    How to minimise exposure and detox:

    Read the labels of your cosmetics, cleaning products and perfumes and toss out anything with synthetic fragrance listed on it. Even products labeled “fragrance free” may have fragrance added to it, it may just be unscented. Minimise or completely avoid the use of plastics which also contain phthalates. Plastics is not only found in your water bottle, but it can be found in our clothing, furniture, kids toys and even in our food system. A partial relief is that phthalates have a relatively short half life - the key is to be able to eliminate it from our system. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts can boost our detoxification pathway. This study also shows the beneficial role of resveratrol (the antioxidant found in red grapes) and curcumin (the active ingredient found in turmeric) in offsetting the effects of phthalates exposure. 

    View natural fragrance free body oils and washes by Kneipp.

    4. Fat Cells

    Fat-soluble toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, food additives, pollutants, plastics and other environmental chemicals must become water-soluble for the body to eliminate them fully. But if our digestive and detox pathways are not functioning optimally, these toxins find their way from the liver to the blood, fat cells, and brain, where they can store for years

    How to minimise exposure and detox:

    Optimize your digestion and seal and heal your gut. The gut lining helps absorb nutritional fats and sends the toxic fats on to the liver for processing. If this detoxification pathway is not properly working, the body can store the toxic fats, rather than remove them. The next step is to strengthen your other detoxification organs: liver, spleen, kidneys, gallbladder. Including more bitters into your diet is a good way of strengthening these detox organs. Bitters like dandelion, artichoke, arugula and of course bitter melon. Or if you want to follow the Italian way, including a non-alcoholic bitters at the end of the meal can help with your digestion and double as a cleanser.

    Detoxification Aids

    All round support for all organs, gentle and safe for long term use

      Gut healing and digestion support

      Even if you’ve broken down the toxins, if you’re not eliminating them, it’s only being re-circulated back into your bloodstream. Optimise your kidney and gut function with proper hydration and other gut and digestive aids. 

      • Advanced Adult Probiotics : for those constipated
      • Adult Probiotic : general bacteria recolonisation
      • Swedish Bitters : stimulates bile and heals gut lining
      • Bone Broth : bone broth is chock-full of nutrients that are particularly beneficial for gut repair, like glutamine and collagen. 
      • Herbals : herbs like uva ursi, slippery elm and prickly ash bark can help strengthen kidney function

      Food for Thought 

      • Some toxins are considered ‘safe’ but what is of concern is what the toxins create together.
      • All of us now have detectable levels of pesticides in our tissues which is stored in our body fat.
      • Pesticides stay in our bodies for 10-30 years depending on our ability to detoxify.
      • Our skin is our largest detoxification organ, and one of the best ways to eliminate toxins. Taking a bath to stimulate circulation and sweating or infrared sauna and of course, exercise, are great ways to open up your pores and eliminate toxins that have been broken down by your liver.

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