Updated: Mar 12, 2018
The New Year has begun, and many individuals are considering a change to their eating pattern, leaving behind the overindulgence of the holiday season and looking forward to greater overall health and wellness.
Perhaps you’re feeling a bit heavier or sluggish after the holiday season and are considering whether your body would benefit from detoxification or a new diet pattern. According to the Boston Medical Center, approximately 45 million American’s diet each year and spend billions on weight loss products to shed excess weight. Can this excess weight and sluggish feeling be due to poor dietary choices, or the bodies inability to function properly due to the build-up of toxins in fatty tissue and throughout the body?
Let’s take a look…
Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxins that reside or accumulate in the body.
The human body naturally neutralizes and excretes potentially harmful compounds (detoxifies) through the liver, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal system (gallbladder, small intestine, and colon) and the skin and lymphatic system.
However, Americans are exposed to a greater number of toxins today than at any time in our history. With more than 3000 USFDA approved food additives, and over 80,000 new synthetic chemicals invented and used over the past several decades we are exposed to a greater number of potential toxins for our bodies to neutralize and eliminate.
A study led by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals.
The CDC reported on over 200 chemicals, such as insect repellents like N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamine (DEET) and herbicides like Atrazine, that Americans are exposed to in the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Updated Tables, January 2017.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency: “Thousands of chemicals are currently in use, and hundreds more are introduced to the market every year. Workers can be exposed to these chemicals during production, and people can be exposed through the environment and products they use in their daily lives. Due to the time and resource-intensive nature of chemical safety testing, only a small fraction of chemicals has been evaluated for potential health effects.”
When the body is overburdened with toxins, these toxins can accumulate in the fatty tissue throughout the body, such as around the heart, liver and in brain tissue.
There are many detoxification programs on the market today. However, when toxins are being excreted from the body, precautions should be taken to eliminate them safely.
Some general guidelines for body detoxification:
Eat whole foods- Consuming whole organic foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and lean meats will provide your body with nutrients and phytochemicals to support your immune and detoxification systems. Consider incorporating specific foods that support the detoxification process such as lemons, garlic, raw dark-leafy greens like kale and spinach, and herbs like turmeric and parsley. To further reduce your toxic chemical exposure, avoid processed foods and genetically modified food products.
Movement that produces sweat helps to release toxins such as mercury, lead, arsenic, and Bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting plastic additive, through the skin.
Drink clean water to reduce your exposure to toxins such as herbicides like triazines and acetanilides that are found in surface water today.
Purifying your air will further reduce your exposure to toxins in the environment. Houseplants make great home air purifiers as they filter the toxins. NASA recommends plants such as the peace lily, chrysanthemum, English ivy, and snake plants as effective for improving indoor air quality.
A diet is the usual food and drinks that a person chooses to consume regularly.
A diet may consist of whole foods, processed foods or a combination of whole and processed foods.
Some diets are meant for a short period of time to have an effect, such as weight loss. However, making simple changes to food and lifestyle choices over time, and remaining consistent can lead to a healthy weight and body that remains year after year.
Studies have shown that dieting to lose weight, especially without careful oversight, may contribute to the risk of future obesity.
Some general guidelines for a healthy diet plan:
Eat whole foods- This may seem redundant to you, but the importance of this piece of the health puzzle cannot be overstated. Consuming whole organic foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and lean meats will provide your body with nutrients and phytochemicals to support your immune and detoxification systems. Don’t forget to add herbs and spices whenever you can; they are loaded with nutrition. And, avoid processed foods and genetically modified food products.
Eat slowly and chew your food. Under-chewed food may result in poor nutrient absorption, and studies indicate that chewing hard foods, such as carrots, influence body weight loss, postprandial thermo-genesis, and glucose metabolism. Conversely, eating fast was found to lead to overeating, a result of lower satiety signals transmitted to the brain which are typically triggered when nutrients are eaten and absorbed.
Plan out meals or have healthy ingredient go-to meals on hand. Life gets busy and unexpected circumstances like working late, happen more often than not these days. Having certain healthy ingredients on-hand, such as grilled chicken from the weekend and your favorite healthy veggies in the crisper or freezer, can help you whip up a meal in the same amount of time it would take to order and drive to pick up a pizza.
Take breaks from eating. Intermittent fasting is a term used to describe when individuals refrain from consuming food for a short period to allow the body time to repair and rebuild. We do this naturally overnight, as we refrain from eating while asleep - hence the term Breakfast ;). Some research suggests that fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime is beneficial and aids in the reversal of various health challenges.
So, perhaps when we talk about detoxification and dieting we should not talk about them as separate processes, but as processes that work well together when done regularly and naturally.
Today, technological advances and the ease with which we can connect to others and information at all times of the day and night presents a challenge in that wake/sleep cycles can vary from person to person and even day to day for any one individual. When eating around erratic schedules, this situation may contribute to eating patterns that may not be beneficial, as they do not regularly provide the body the necessary time to repair and rebuild.
Making small, incremental healthy changes each day, as mentioned in the guidelines above, and building upon those throughout the year will assist you to achieve your optimal weight and greater overall wellness. Incorporating these guidelines can facilitate new routines or habits that will help you to reach and stay at your optimal weight while reducing your risk for chronic illnesses. When considering a structured detoxification or diet plan, it’s advised to seek out an experienced health care practitioner for guidance to accomplish this safely.
Psalm 109:24 “My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt, with no fat.”
Puri, Nividita, RDH, B.D.S., M.S.D.H. (2015). Holistic approach of oil pulling in the dental world A literature review. Dental Assistant, 84(5), 20-23. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1722196558?accountid=158302 https://nccih.nih.gov/health/detoxes-cleanses https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/detoxification https://www.ewg.org/research/body-burden-pollution-newborns#.WkwPKmwwvIU https://blog.healthychoicenaturals.com/your-bodys-detoxification-process/ https://terriledwards.wixsite.com/eatinghealthfully/food-modified-and-treated https://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/FourthReport_UpdatedTables_Volume1_Jan2017.pdf https://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/research-support-toxic-substances-control-act https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/6-ways-to-body-detox/ https://draxe.com/liver-function/ http://naturalsociety.com/sweating-detoxing-body-heavy-metals-more/
https://www.bmc.org/nutrition-and-weight-management/weight-management https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/10-ways-to-lose-weight-without-dieting Siahpush, M., Tibbits, M., Shaikh, R. A., Singh, G. K., Sikora Kessler, A., & Huang, T. T. -. (2015). Dieting increases the likelihood of subsequent obesity and BMI gain: Results from a prospective study of an Australian national sample. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 22(5), 662-671. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12529-015-9463-5 Thaiss, C. A., Itav, S., Rothschild, D., Meijer, M. T., Levy, M., Moresi, C., . . . Elinav, E. (2016). Persistent microbiome alterations modulate the rate of post-dieting weight regain. Nature, 540(7634), 544-551,1-15. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature20796 https://draxe.com/healing-diet/ https://idmprogram.com/1-rule-fasting/ http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/memory-loss-associated-with-alzheimers-reversed-for-first-time https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/eating_habits.html Mayor, S. (2015). Brain training, exercise, and healthy eating slow cognitive decline in elderly people at risk, study finds. BMJ : British Medical Journal (Online), 350 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1386 Yamazaki, T., Yamori, M., Asai, K., Nakano-Araki, I., Yamaguchi, A., Takahashi, K., . . . for the Nagahama Study,Collaboration Group. (2013). Mastication and risk for diabetes in a Japanese population: A cross-sectional study. PLoS One, 8(6) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0064113 Persynaki, A., Karras, S., & Pichard, C. (2017). Unraveling the metabolic health benefits of fasting related to religious beliefs: A narrative review. Nutrition, 35, 14-20. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2016.10.005