Your Body Heal Itself
Detoxification is a concept that has become important when talking about general health and fitness. Often as patients begin a new effort to try to restore their bodies to better working order their health professionals will urge them to follow a detoxification regimen to help boost that healing process. So what is detoxification, why is it necessary, and how do we go about it?
Toxins can simply be thought of as any substances in our bodies that are causing a harmful effect or putting stress on our biochemical or organ functions. Some of these toxins we may ingest unknowingly, while others we choose to put into our systems.
Our bodies are exposed daily to environmental toxins such as air and water pollution and allergens. There is mercury in our fish (especially albacore tuna and swordfish) and added hormones in our chicken. Alcoholic beverages and additives and preservatives in foods also add toxic substances to our systems, as do hair dyes and hair sprays, paint and paint remover, and countless other products.
Medications are another major source of toxins for many people. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are man-made chemicals that our bodies must figure out how to process. While these medications can certainly be beneficial, over time they can build up to dangerously poisonous levels in our bodies.
What Are the Symptoms of Toxicity?
People with high levels of toxicity may experience headaches, fatigue, insomnia, unexplained rashes, and unexplained body aches and pains. Other symptoms may include constipation, stomach bloat, poor digestion, gas, weight gain, excessive mucus, poor concentration, poor skin, poor memory, depression, body odor, and bad breath. People with a poorly functioning liver usually wake up between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.
How Do We Detoxify Our Bodies?
Our bodies have a natural process for eliminating toxins from our systems. The liver cleanses debris from the blood. A healthy liver means a healthy body and better quality sleep with more energy. When the liver is not filtering well it is not detoxifying the blood. The kidneys also act as a filtering system to cleanse the body of toxins. The intestines also must be functioning proficiently to help the body remove these unwanted substances.
Although we cannot avoid them completely, we can educate ourselves on certain ways to decrease toxins in our body. We can help our body become more efficient in allowing the detoxification pathways to function more proficiently.
Here are a few tips to start the process:
- Squeeze a whole lemon in 16 ounces of water each morning to help detoxify your liver. (Stevia is a good natural sweetener you can use to make it into a healthful lemonade. Stevia also contains probiotics to help re-establish normal intestinal flora.)
- Take 1-2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs brand) in 16 ounces of water (sweeten with stevia to taste) to help the kidneys in detoxification.
- Exercise with sweating assists the lymphatic system to help rid the body of toxins and build up the immune system.
- Take 25-35 grams of fiber daily to help the colon rid itself of toxins from the body. Include both soluble fiber such as psyllium, legumes, oatmeal, skinless fruits and vegetables and insoluble fiber such as whole grains, seeds, and fruits and vegetables with skin.
Taking Detoxification to the Next Level
The above measures are simply a way of aiding your body’s natural cleansing processes. In order to embark on a serious detoxification regimen, you should consult with a health care professional who can help set up a program that is right for you.
In my practice, I first do a thorough examination of the patient and his or her history to determine the patient’s needs. Their regimen may include using a combination of botanicals and homeopathic formulas that work by stimulating the body’s natural processes of elimination to cleanse it of toxins that have built up over time and are negatively affecting the body’s health.
Proteolytic systemic enzymes can also help cleanse the blood of debris and reduce inflammation in the body, thus reducing aches and pains and certain vitamin and mineral supplements help decrease mercury toxicity and restore energy. Counseling for stress management and lifestyle changes can also play an important role in allowing the body to cleanse itself and restore balances in its chemical processes.
Finally and most importantly, a good plan should incorporate an individual meal program that includes fiber, antioxidants, and low-glycemic foods that assist in the body’s healing processes.
One major principle of naturopathic medicine is that the body has the innate ability to heal itself. Following a detoxification plan is one way we can help our own bodies to effectively carry out this healing process.
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