By Sharon Jane-Akinyemi
As I questioned a petite young woman about her lifestyle, Ruth painted a picture of a fairly ordinary Nigerian diet. It was unhealthy, centered on lots of fried foods with very little fruit and vegetable.
Ruth drank little water and instead polished off an entire pot of coffee every day, which she prepared with lots of sugar and heavy cream. She was no doubt, somewhat dehydrated. But even this awful diet couldn™t totally explain her state of wellbeing.
I probed further, asking about the functioning of her GI tract and colon. As she shared her story, I began to understand why she was so ill. She travelled often, and each time she left town she™d become a bundle of nerves. As a result, her colon will seemingly just stop. She would go for days on end without a bowel movement-sometimes for an entire week.
Most people protect their home with security systems, smoke and fire detectors, hurricane shutters and even use pest control. What people miss however are the hidden predators in their homes, TOXINS.
They are in the water we drink and bathe with, the air we breathe in our homes, out gassing from their carpet and tile glues, chemicals in the paint on the walls and so much more. Soon one in two people will develop cancer and these health problems are mostly environmental. The incidents of child Asthma and other health concerns are growing at an alarming rate.
There is good news however. People are becoming more pro-active about their health and the health of the family. So as stated above, you can break toxins down into four categories: toxins from the air, water, food and chemicals in our environments.
Here is an example of each:
Pollution refers to the toxic gases and chemicals, such as methane and carbon monoxide, that are released into the atmosphere only to be mixed into the air we breath in and exhale out. Pollution toxins can come from vehicle and factory emissions as well as other sources. A notable air pollutant is also cigarettes. Inhaled tobacco products contain a number of highly toxic ingredients that can negatively affect your body. Toxins from tobacco product affects smokers. Second hand smoke can be inhaled in a wide variety of situations: bars, restaurants, casinos, at home from family members and roommates, sporting events, city sidewalks, outdoor cafes and other social gatherings. So even non-smokers should be aware of the toxic ingredients in tobacco smoke.
A number of toxins have been discovered in water. Everything from chlorine, bleach, ammonia and even OTC and prescription medications have been reported to be found in excess in drinking water. Pollutants and chemicals in drinking water have been said to cause everything from depression to illness and even cancer. Water supplies across the globe greatly vary in composition. Spring, mineral and artisan bottled waters have become all the rage in the past decade, although some critics believe that tap water is not as bad as the media depicts.
Toxic foods do not refer to pesticides. That comes next in the ‘chemicals’ category. Toxic foods can refer to food additives, highly processed or genetically modified foods and even chemical ingredients in food recipes such as food dyes (RED 40) and chemical flavorings (MSG and aspartame).
A few doctors believe that modern day Nigerian diets can actually be considered ‘toxic’ because of the high intake of processed, dead ‘empty-calorie’ food items like white flour and sugar. Dr. Robert Lustig, of the University of California San Francisco, says “today’s processed food is loaded with sugars that alter the body’s hormonal balance, creating a “toxic environment” and an “addiction” to food.” -Natural Clinical Practice Scientific Journal. In regards to food additives. It details a list of common food additives that are considered ‘toxic’ to the body, such as Food colorings: BLUE 1, BLUE 2, GREEN 3, RED 3, YELLOW 6. Another common food toxin is alcohol. Alcoholic beverages contain ‘possibly toxic’ sulfites, which some individuals are allergic to .
Chemicals that are toxic may include small amounts of very toxic things, such as pesticide residue dusted onto our freshly-picked, non-washed, non-organic produce. (Always choose organic produce when possible. some imported fruits and vegetables, Over the counter, prescription and even recreational drugs are all referred to as chemical toxins that can build up in your body over time. Another recent toxic-topic of discussion refers to the amount of mercury in the foods that we eat. High levels of mercury in the body can cause illness and even death.
What Can You Do?
Getting rid of the TOXIN is the same as detoxifying your systems. Detoxification is the cleansing of the internal organs of the body from environmental pollutants, food waste, poisons, harmful bacteria and other substances such as alcohol, medications and parasites. The human body is designed to get rid of waste. The organs of detoxification including the colon, liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, lymph glands and circulatory systems all play a major role in the process of detoxification.
The basic idea behind a ‘detox regimen’ is that the modern world puts so much stress on our bodies as we are exposed to a large number of toxins on a daily basis, and the natural detoxification mechanisms in place in our bodies cannot keep up the the detox demands. Therefore, ‘active detox’ is a good idea. “Detoxing” refers to taking extra measures to ensure that your body detoxify properly-to deter any negative effects of toxin-build-up in your body.
Your body is always detoxifying itself. The most obvious way is through eliminating waste via urinating or having a bowel movement. This is one way your digestive system gets rid of unneeded toxic waste. This happens regularly for almost everyone, and the cleansing is done by the colon and kidneys.
The lungs filter out toxins and debris in the air we breathe before the oxygen is absorbed by the blood and taken to the muscles of the body. The skin is your largest organ. Waste is eliminated by the skin through sweating. Often when the other detoxifying organs are compromised, toxins will begin to come through the skin, showing up as acne, rashes, blemishes, pimples or sores. The liver is a complex organ that helps the body to either use or get rid of metabolic waste as well as environmental toxins and substances.
Exercise Could Help
The digestive system works well and more regularly with consistent exercise. When you exercise you breathe deeply with your lungs. The oxygen that you breathe in travels though the blood to the brain and muscles. The lungs increase their capacity as the heart muscle grows stronger, and they produce and give off carbon dioxide as a waste product of aerobic exercise. The skin is cleansed from the inside out by the cleansing process of perspiration. Many toxins can be eliminated through the skin by sweating.
Another way exercise helps to detoxify the body is by reducing the body’s subcutaneous fatty tissue. Toxins get stored in the fatty tissue of the body. Therefore, when fatty tissue is reduced as a result of aerobic exercise, the toxins are released and can be eliminated through the cleansing organs.
Exercise is important for staying healthy. It keeps muscles strong, burns calories, maintains flexibility, increases aerobic capacity and offers a pleasurable endorphin release. An added benefit, and one not often discussed, is that exercise actually helps your body to detoxify itself.
Another very important part of natural detox is your hydration level! Your body will detox itself much easier if you are fully hydrated. Water, fresh fruit juices, herbal tea, and coconut water are fabulous beverages to stay hydrated. Several herbs are very important for cleaning the liver. These include red clover, ginger root, scent leaf, lemon, and water melon.
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