Reducing Your Toxic Load
Reducing your toxic load is one of the most beneficial actions you can take for your overall health. Sometimes quite small, simple to implement changes, can really have a positive effect on wellbeing.
All toxins are destined to pass though the liver to be turned into non-toxic substances. Your amazing liver filters 1.4 litres of blood containing nutrients, medication and toxins, every minute! These substances are processed, and then depending on whether they have value for the body, are stored, altered or detoxified. They then pass back into the blood or are released and eliminated via the bowel or bladder.
Your liver has around 500 different actions to get on with alongside its role in detoxification. Loading it up with lots of toxins takes it away from all of these other important tasks.
The use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is ubiquitous. They are present in many everyday objects from plastic water bottles, pesticides and paint, to cosmetics and personal care products. POPs are sometimes known as ‘’forever chemicals” because they are so resistant to environmental degradation.
Exposure to POPs has wide ranging health implications and include chronic illnesses and developmental defects. POPs can be endocrine disruptors, interfering with hormone balance. This can impact both male and female reproductive health and lead to hormone-related cancers.
Alarmingly, plastics have been found in human blood for the first time. The impact of this discovery on human health is not yet clear, but researchers have already found that microplastics damage human cells in laboratory tests. You can read the full article here. What is clear is that wherever we can have an impact on reducing the amount of toxins that we come into contact with, we would be well advised to do so.
Simple ways to start reducing your toxic load
- Swap plastic water bottles for glass or stainless steel bottles.
- Swap clingfilm on food for glass storage containers, beeswax wraps or a good old fashioned plate on top of a bowl!
- Buy food in jars, dried or frozen rather than in as tins which are lined with BPA plastic.
- Use natural household cleaning products. These are readily available in most supermarkets now. Consider making your own by using lemon, vinegar or bicarbonate and water in a spray bottle for cleaning surfaces around the home. It is often just as effective and of course kinder to the planet too.
- Choose personal care products that are fragrance free and chemical free. If it has a smell and it isn’t an essential oil, then it’s quite likely to be a chemical and probably a toxin!
- Eat organically wherever possible to minimise your intake of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and other toxins from the food chain. Buy as many organic vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat as you can, but also consider growing your own. Tomatoes and herbs grow well in pots on a balcony.
- Drink filtered water: hormones find their way into our tap water along with toxins like phthalates and BPA.
- Replace non-stick cookware with cast iron or stainless steel to reduce contact with PFAs.
- Buy second hand or flame retardant free home furnishings such as rugs, carpets and sofas.
- Choose children’s toys carefully, opting for eco-safety tested wooden toys, organic fabric dolls and preservative free art and craft materials.
Diet can make a real impact
The good news is that alongside making changes to lower your exposure to toxins in your environment, your diet can play a huge role in mitigating the damage that these pollutants can inflict on your body.
In particular, increase your intake of polyphenols found in a wide range of vegetables and fruit. Polyphenol protect against the effects of some POPs, in part to be due to their high antioxidant status, protecting against unstable free radical atoms that can cause damage to our cells. Polyphenols can protect the nervous system, the liver, the kidneys, reduce inflammation and lower cancer risk. So eating a rainbow really does make sense!
For further suggestions on how your diet can support the liver to better deal with these toxins, read my blog Love Your Liver.