To Your Health
February, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 02)
The Good News
The good news is that many of these toxic accumulations can be halted and even reversed. An overall healing plan must be initiated to remove stored-up toxins. A colon cleanse is simply not enough, since nearly every cell can be affected. In order to detoxify our bodies and prevent or reverse illness, a proactive, multi-pronged attack must be mounted, one that includes exercise, fresh air (less toxic exposure), clean water, limited sun, and a healthy diet.
The same types of foods that are the cause of our toxification can also be the source of our detoxification. The difference is the kind of food, their purity and combination. According to a 2007 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, "It's clear that nutrition and lifestyle are well-defined modulators of chronic diseases. Poor dietary habits, as well as a sedentary lifestyle clearly contribute to today's compromised quality of life in the United States. It is becoming increasingly clear that nutrition can modulate the toxicity of environmental pollutants."
In a study published in the December 2007 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology, feeding seaweed to rats increased the effectiveness of liver enzymes. Additional studies have shown the benefits of nutrition in clearing the body of the toxic buildup of lead and mercury using citrus peels.
As mentioned, the type of food is very important. Many fruits, vegetables and certain herbs have clear cleansing and detoxification properties, but they must be free of pesticides or any other harmful ingredients, and mustnot have been altered by exposure to radiation or other methods of shelf-life extension. Fruits and vegetables that fit this description are "certified organic." Essentially, this means they were grown using minimal or no chemicals at all.
Several years ago, it was very difficult to buy certified organic food. However, with growing health concerns and increasing demand by consumers, more supermarkets now carry an organic line of foods. Simply look for the organic produce section of your favorite grocery store or ask your grocer. Many are willing to begin carrying organic fruits and vegetables as long as you ask. Additionally, certified organic goods can be identified by the five-digit code on the label. If a food is certified organic, the code will begin with the number 9 and may also contain the phrase "Certified Organic." Most non-organic produce begins with the number 4.
Foods That Detoxify and Heal
So, what kinds of foods help our bodies to detoxify and heal? Examples of cleansing foods are (organic) green teas, which serve to induce detoxifying enzymes for chemoprotection (chemical protection) or cytoprotection (cell protection). Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and turnips are all excellent for energizing and cleansing the liver, your body's built-in detox center. Lemons, watercress, garlic, oregano, sesame seeds, and fruits also are powerful detoxifying foods that not only aid in colon-cleansing, but also possess anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties.
The benefits of these foods are well-documented. In fact, broccoli has been shown to detoxify carcinogens in liver cells. Another example is spinach, which is high in fiber and B vitamins. Spinach has been shown to help soothe the nervous system, protect against and possibly reverse macular degeneration. Legumes such as lentils and kidney beans are among the best sources of folate, which helps fight heart disease. Capsaicin, the "hot stuff" in chili peppers, has been found to soothe the stomach lining, detoxify the body and fight colds. And sweet potatoes have double the vitamin C, more fiber and fewer calories than white potatoes, contain antioxidants that may reduce inflammation in bones and muscles, and are a good source of beta-carotene, which protects against respiratory infections. They also may protect against sunburn and help wounds heal and scars fade.