Cleansing is like my meditation. It makes me stop, focus and think about what I’m putting into my body. I’m making a commitment to my health and hitting the reset button.
— Salma Hayek, actress
Have you been feeling sluggish, bloated, moody, or finding it hard to focus and concentrate? Or maybe you’ve been dealing with insomnia, especially waking between 1-4 a.m., or notice you’re oversensitive to perfumes and chemicals? These are some of the most common signs that your liver is overtaxed and you need to reduce the amount of toxins built up in your body (see list of symptoms of a sluggish liver below). There are many ways to reduce the toxic overload in your body and in this blog, I’ll be giving you some helpful tips to help you do that.
If you’re struggling with the symptoms I mentioned above or in the list below, or have an inflammatory or autoimmune disease, (or any chronic disease) it is especially important to get in the habit of detoxing on a regular basis. While there are multiple causes of any chronic disease, toxins have been identified as one of the primary roles. Some toxins come from outside the body and some are made right inside the body. One thing for sure, we live in a toxic world, and learning how to prevent and reduce toxic exposure is important to your immune system and overall health.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification is the process of removing harmful and toxic substances from the body to improve health and heal from disease. There are various methods to remove toxins, including diet, supplements, chelation, improving the functioning of your detoxification organs (skin, lymphatic system, kidneys, intestine/colon, and lungs), exercise, deep breathing, and dry skin brushing (I’ve given you specific steps to do this at the end of this blog).
Why It’s Important to Detox
It is clear that our environment is riddled with chemicals. In his article, “Autoimmune Disease: How To Stop Your Body From Attacking Itself,” Dr. Mark Hymen writes, “Over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into our society since 1900, and only 550 have been tested for safety. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 2.5 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released yearly by large industrial facilities. And 6 million pounds of mercury are poured into our air every year. In fact, a recent government survey – ‘The National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals’ issued in July 2005 – found an average of 148 chemicals in our bodies.”¹ In addition, over 10,000 food and chemical additives have been identified, and it is estimated that the average American consumes approximately fourteen pounds of additives per year.²
One way this huge load of environmental toxins causes autoimmunity is by creating free radicals (cells missing a chromosome due to damage from toxins and stress) and then looking for other cells to “steal” a chromosome from, thus causing more cellular damage. All these damaged cells are no longer recognized by the immune system, which then creates anti-bodies against your own damaged cells because they are no longer recognizable and are now seen as invaders.
Toxins accumulate in your body over time, and when your overall toxic load (the total amount of toxins stored in your cells, plus the toxins in your bloodstream) becomes so high that your liver is unable to process and neutralize the large amount of toxins, the excess toxins spill over into your bloodstream where they are then attacked by your immune cells. This causes chronic inflammation, more cell damage, and increased attacks on your own body, and results in disease in the general public and autoimmunity in those susceptible to inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Benefits of Detoxing
Detoxification provides support for:
- improves digestion
- increased energy
- clearer thinknig
- better moods
- weight loss
- cleanses the lymphatic system
- improves the function of the body’s organs (liver, kidneys, colon, urinary track, and digestive tract or gut).
What are the Symptoms of a Sluggish Liver?
These symptoms could mean that your liver is not working properly and needs to be detoxed and nourished:
- Bloating and Gas
- Inability to lose weight
- Dark urine
- Frequently waking up between 1am and 3am for no reason
- Dry itchy skin
- Poor digestion, nausea
- Fluctuating energy levels throughout the day, with increasing tiredness after meals
- Frequent headaches
- Allergies and intolerances to foods that get worse as time goes on
- Reactions to chemicals including cleaning products, paint, perfumes, and bleaches
- Problems digesting fatty foods
- Intolerance to alchohol
- Skin problems such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, general rashes, itchy skin
- Hot flashes (also called hot flushes)
- Yellow tinge of eyes and skin
10 Ways to Help Your Body Detoxify
After a detoxification program, you can cleanse your body daily with these diet, supplement and lifestyle practices:
- Drink Green Tea
- Drink at least two quarts of water a day
- Switch to natural cleaning products in the home
- Switch to natural cosmetics.
- Breathe deeply
- Drink green smoothies
- Sweat in a sauna
- Dry brush your skin
- Drink hot water with fresh squeezed lemon upon arising
- Identify any symptoms of liver toxicity and write them down in your journal.
- Next, choose 1-3 things you can do to help your body and mind detoxify and write those down with the intention you will add them into your life.
I hope you will use some of these tips to reduce your toxic load and feel lighter and brighter. I will be writing more blogs on how to detox with diet, what supplements to take to assist your body to detox, what household cleaners to use for a toxin-free home, and what cosmetics and personal care products will get you feeling your best and living your best life – free from disease!
I hope you’re enjoying your summer. Have a beautiful week!
Blessings and love,
¹ Mark Hyman, “Autoimmune Disease: How To Stop Your Body From Attacking Itself,” Huffington Post, last updated November 17, 2011.
² Jan de Vries, Hidden Dangers in What We Eat and Drink: A Lifelong Guide to Healthy Living (Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 2003).