By Katherine Metzelaar, MS RDN CD, Arivale Coach
Toxins are ever-present in our daily lives. While we expect to find toxins in harsh cleaning products and outdoor pesticides, they hide in many unexpected places as well.
A toxin is a chemical or poison known to have harmful effects on the body. They can have short and long-term implications on your health, and they can potentially leave us more susceptible to illness or disease.
Where are toxins?
Exposure to toxins can come from many places, some of which we may not normally consider. From the food we eat; to the water we drink; to the cosmetics, creams, and beauty products we use on our skin; to the household cleaning products we choose to use—toxins lurk amongst us.
Our wellness is informed by many of our body’s complex systems. Toxins, the extent of our exposure to them, and our ability to detoxify them is an important and impactful component to these systems.
Uniquely, at Arivale, we look at genetic variants that can influence your body’s ability to detoxify itself. Some of these variants influence detoxification systems in your liver—one of the most potent internal detoxification systems in your body.
But regardless of your genetic potential, there are many ways that you can assist your body in functioning most optimally by avoiding toxins and/or increasing the function of your systems of elimination.
Here are ten simple ways to reduce your exposure to toxins in your everyday life.
Drink more water.
An underutilized and very useful way that can help your body to flush toxins is to drink more water! Assure that you are having at least eight to ten cups of water each day.
This can help your body to rid itself of toxins through one of its largest organs of elimination: your skin. Sweating is a great way to eliminate toxins. Get moving or try a sauna or steam bath on days when you cannot workout.
Support the liver.
Research supports eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage to aid your liver’s detoxification systems and can aid it in working efficiently. Eat at least one serving each day.
Pay attention to what you put on your skin.
Sometimes our exposure to toxins come from what we choose to put on our body: creams, lotions, perfumes, etc. Next time your reach for a product, make sure to check out EWGs Skindeep ratings to give you some guidance on how your products rate on the toxicity scale.
Choose whole, organic fruits and vegetables when possible.
Use the EWG Dirty Dozen list to stay away from fruits and vegetables that are known to contain more pesticides. Common culprits are non-organic peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, blueberries, kale, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes.
Avoid fish with a high mercury content.
Many fish are contaminated with PCBs and mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna, marlin, Chilean bass, lobster, halibut, and snapper. The Environmental Working Group has a great guide to purchasing and consuming seafood here.
Eat your fiber!
Fiber, as it passes through our digestive tract, can help to eliminate some toxins from the body. Shoot for a minimum of 25-30 grams of fiber each day.
Many plastics, found in everything from condiment bottles to our food storage containers, can contain hormone disrupting chemicals that can have a negative effect on your body. Try buying stainless steel or glass containers and water bottles to limit your exposure.
Let the poultry be free.
Buying organic and free-range eggs and poultry will help to lower your intake of contaminants. Organic eggs and poultry contain fewer toxins, including antibiotics and hormones.
Eat whole foods.
A lot of the processed foods on the market are treated with chemicals. It is common for food manufacturers to bleach, dehydrate, add preservatives, enrich with sodium, sweeten, and add unhealthy fats to make these products tastier or give it a longer shelf life. A good rule of thumb is to skip out on boxed, bagged, or canned goods.
It’s likely not realistic that you can eliminate all toxins from your life overnight, so use this list to start with a goal that is both reasonable and achievable. Maybe decide to swap out your plastic tupperware for glass this month or pick a piece of produce to only buy organic going forward (the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list is a great place to start).
Do you have any tips for reducing your toxin exposure? Let us know in the comments!