To Your Health
February, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 02)
The Detox Diet
By Michael Roth, DC
Detoxification: it's a word that is being used with more frequency and urgency in today's toxic environment. With the advent of pollution awareness several decades ago, most people now know about the toxins that are present in our atmosphere, lakes, rivers, water supply and even our own homes. But what you may not realize is that toxins can be found in abundance in our present-day food supply. That's the bad news. The good news is there are easy nutritional ways to detoxify your body and avoid the perils of toxins.
The Bad News
Less than 150 years ago, chemical use was quite limited. These days, each successive generation is exposed to a limitless supply of unnatural chemical toxins that accumulate in our tissues and organs. These toxins, many of which may be originating from our food/water supply, include unnatural fats and cholesterols, xenobiotics (organic toxins), inorganic chemicals, and heavy elemental metals, to name a few. All of these toxins can severely affect the operation of the body's organ systems over time and cause significant health problems.
How do these synthetic toxins wind up in our foods? In addition to the contaminants that coat our food sources from rainwater, the soil is loaded with fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, etc. These toxic chemicals seep into the soil directly and are absorbed through both the leaves and roots. Logic tells us these chemicals then end up in the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds we consume every day.
These same foods are also being heated or irradiated to help increase their shelf lives and keep them from spoiling. And while these "treated" foods may provide calories, heat and radiation destroy the natural structure of their vitamins and enzymes, turning them into something the body cannot utilize as originally intended.
Fruits and vegetables aren't the only victims of toxic chemicals. Livestock, fowl, and farmed fish are given color-enhancers, steroids, antibiotics, and hormones, and are fed genetically altered food. And of course, they also consume the same contaminated plant matter as we do.
In short, all this has taken a substantial toll on our collective health. In the past 30 to 40 years, we have seen an alarming rise in autoimmune-related diseases. Many health experts believe this increase is directly related to the synthetic chemical poisons we are breathing, eating and drinking every day. Continued exposure to these toxic chemicals may cause an accumulation in the body, one that overwhelms our natural detoxification abilities. Eventually, the body can no longer keep eliminating these substances. This cumulative load, called the "body burden," is thought to lead to chronic and even life-threatening illnesses.
Examples of toxin-related health maladies include hormonal imbalance, impaired immune function, autoimmune syndromes, digestive impairment leading to nutritional deficiency, inefficient metabolism, and a host of immune and autoimmune aberrances. In addition, the digestive tract can develop microscopic ulcerations, pH imbalances, imbalances in bacteria and fungi, and many other problems. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury also may be found in our foods. Over time, these metals affect health and have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and cause systemic central nervous system disorders.