Pollution has been having its media heyday in our day as we realize that toxins can be found in our water supply, foods, and even vaccines. Symptoms of heavy metal toxicities are broad and range from mild to severe, depending on the particular metal, as well as actual blood levels. Symptoms can include weight gain or difficulty losing weight; brain fog or outright cognitive decline; pain in the muscles and joints; headaches; nausea and indigestion; allergies; depressed immunity; and chronic fatigue. Everyone in the developed world and much of the world around is likely to have some degree of elevated levels of metals. Detox heavy metals with these methods that are gentle enough to be a part of our healthy lifestyle, but can also occasionally be employed in therapeutic doses (where applies) for greater intensity.
1. Mercury-Free Dental Fillings
Silver-amalgam fillings are made of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc and copper. Over time the mercury may break down in tiny amounts, and some experts say that a mercury “vapor” enters your bloodstream even as you eat and chew gum. If you have silver fillings, consider swapping them out for tooth-colored composite resin, or in the meantime take extra measures to help your body eliminate.
2. Nix Sugar and Processed Foods for Protein
Whereas sulfur bearing amino-acids in protein facilitate detoxification, sugar and especially unnatural, processed foods create inflammation, increase toxicity, suppress immune system, feed harmful microbes and more. Stevia is still a nice substitute for sugar. Naturally sweet herbs and spices help to take the “bite” off stevia, if it’s strong for your palette, while bringing their own calorie-free sweetness and healing powers into the mix. Play with choices like organic cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, mint and orange essence as both flavor and health essentials to replace synthetic flavors, artificial sweeteners and sugar.
Most of us know that garlic is a fabulous natural antibiotic that kicks some major microbial (cold, flu, etc.) butt. But you should also know that garlic contains sulfur-compounds able boost your body’s production of glutathione. Glutathione is our very own in-house “chelator,” which means it attaches or “binds” itself to bad guys like metals and toxins, and carries them all the way out of the body. To reap the benefits, eat a therapeutic dose of 2-3 fresh cloves a day- RAW and crushed.
TIP: Crush fresh cloves, let stand for 10 minutes and then eat up.
Crushing exposes the garlic to air, activating enzymatic activity that increases its thiosulfinates, ie sulfur content. Cooking or sautéing the garlic will destroy much of its healing and nutrient value, but you will have a little more of its nourishment left if you crush the cloves prior to heat processing.
Try not to expose the garlic to heat for more than 10 minutes. Otherwise, try reconstituting organic freeze-dried garlic. And if you’re getting stinky, back off till you recover. It’s a good idea to include fresh, raw garlic in your daily diet. Combine it with curcumin-rich turmeric, and you’ve got a mighty cocktail for raising and protecting glutathione levels. The spice also brings its own anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, liver-protective properties.
Chlorella is a nutrient and protein rich algae considered by many diet and health experts to be a key superfood. It has the curious habit of binding itself to heavy metals, chemicals and some pesticides while they remain in your GI tract, but before they get deposited inside your cells. Wonderfully, chlorella will take out toxic substances and unwanted metals while bypassing vital minerals such as magnesium, calcium and zinc.
But Buyer Beware! Ironically, some chlorella, even USDA certified organic, may be infiltrated with moderate levels of heavy metals due to toxins in the environment where the chlorella is cultivated. Try Clean Chlorella, which comes in both tablet and powder form. Best bet is to take it as a powder, beginning with small doses and working your way up. Mix with a little water or add it to your morning smoothie. If you’re planning to eat fish and you’re not absolutely certain that it’s mercury-free, have a healthy dose of chlorella about 30 minutes prior to your meal.
5. Milk Thistle
This herb is friend to your liver, the detox factory of thy body. Anything you do to strengthen the liver will empower your natural and daily internal cleansing. Milk thistle fortifies the liver cell membrane so that toxins are unable to pass through. Another compound within the herb prevents the liver from regenerating damaged cells and assists in the formation of healthy ones. It also helps to protect and even increase glutathione levels, which in turn arms cells against toxins and also transports them out from the body. This herb is often used in cleansing formulas or in combination with another liver cleansing herb very much worth mentioning, dandelion.
Remember that exercising not only causes healthy elimination through sweat, but strengthens your heart and helps you maintain healthy circulation, delivering oxygen-rich blood to our cleansing kidneys and liver. Avoid low quality cardio such as hour-long tread mill sessions or marathon running. Instead, focus on high intensity short burst workouts and low rep, heavy weight resistance.
7. Healthy Detox Pantry
Other excellent foods, herbs and spices to enjoy every day as a part of a healthy and natural detox diet include onions, citrus fruits, cilantro either fresh or in a concentrated tincture form, beet roots and asparagus; for awesome protein and nourishment eat organic eggs and only grass-fed meat and dairy free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Enjoy plenty of foods rich in fiber such as flax seeds or flax meal. Flax assists with healthy elimination while also building up the body with nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids. Enjoy plain, sugar-free, full fat, organic yogurt and/or a quality probiotic supplement. (The full-fat will not cause weight gain, and tastes a hundred times better than skim. I like organic “cream on top” Greek yogurt. Crrrrazy.)
Most of all, pay close attention to how you feel on a daily basis. As you implement these tips, journal your body’s response and adjust accordingly. Eat well and play hard.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates