Dr. Kassam How to Naturally Reduce Your Toxic Load

How to Naturally Reduce Toxin Exposure

Written By: Dr. Saira Kassam, ND

 

      In past articles, I spoke a lot about how to help your body detox through foods and lifestyle changes.  This week I would like to focus on detoxing through the home and work environments since about 80-90% of all toxic intake come from inside our homes. Did you know that in the United States, there are about 80,000 toxic chemicals registered, while only a few of them have actually been tested for long-term impacts on health? Toxins are able to enter the body through food, air, water and/or personal care products. Some examples include heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, food allergies, toxins from moulds, pollutants, cleaning products, dry cleaning, synthetic building materials and industrial compounds. These are all known to emit a variety of toxic compounds, like formaldehyde and endocrine disruptors (EDC’s), which all negatively impact our health.

On an everyday basis, the body has multiple detoxification pathways in place to be able to eliminate these toxins from the body. When the number of toxins overpowers mechanisms for detoxification, the liver gets sluggish and certain toxins can remain “active” for longer than we would like, leading to fluid retention, bloating, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, gas, headaches and much more. Thus, the key to detoxification is to not only enhance your body’s ability to detoxify on its own but most importantly to minimize your exposure to toxins. Here, I will discuss ways to help you reduce toxic exposure in your everyday life while making your home and work a ‘green living space’!

 

1. Eliminate plastics

  • Opt for reusable bags at grocery stores
  • Store and heat all food in glass or stainless steel containers
  • Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers
  • Plastic containers are made of up EDC’s like Bisphenol-A (BPA) which can be transferred into foods, especially when heated

2. Use Natural Air Fresheners and Perfumes

  • Synthetic scents contain phthalates
  • Phthalates are plasticizers used to make plastic more flexible and resistant. They are found in plastic softeners, shower curtains, toothbrushes, plastic wrap, air fresheners and food containers, which are known to increase incidences of some cancers
  • Try this as an alternative: natural floral water freshener

3. Use natural alternatives for all cleaning, personal care and make-up products

  • Synthetic versions of these products all contain things like, phthalates, parabens, triclosan and heavy metals, which are all endocrine disruptors
  • Switch from standard household cleaning products to cleaner and greener ones by replacing one product at a time as you run out. Here are some examples of natural cleaning products:
  • DIY cleaning supplies are also a great idea. For example, try using vinegar with baking soda instead of bleach!
  • Check out http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/ for a list of safety data and a list of ingredients for household cleaning products

4. Buy organic foods when it comes to the dirty dozen and eat organic meats when possible

  • The dirty dozen are foods that contain the most pesticides. So when it comes to this list, use ORGANIC forms!
  • Many pesticides and herbicides used in fruit and vegetable farming carry EDC chemicals, which resist degradation and bio-accumulate in water supplies, soils, and crops and are consumed by livestock

5. Cook with a cast iron

  • Conventional cookware is lined with toxic materials that can accumulate in the body over time and are linked to diseases like cancer
  • Cooking with a cast iron can provide us with the added benefit of a source of iron
  • Avoid non-stick pans, pots and bakeware as they have Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC’s) which have been linked to cancer

6. Use high-quality air filters that are changed every 4-8 weeks

  • This is one of the best ways to reduce the toxic load on your bodies 

7. Add some plants to your environment

  • Some plants are able to filter toxins and purify the air
  • Try any of the following plants: Garden Mum, Spider Plant, Boston Fern and Aloe Vera to help detox your home and workplace

8. Increase toxin elimination

  • Exercise – Promotes the circulation of blood and lymph, which enhances the elimination of waste products from the body. It also increases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles for repair
  • Dry Skin Brushing – This helps to remove the build-up of dead skin cells and increases the body’s ability to eliminate toxins effectively
  • Sweating – This can help to detoxify heavy metals
 
Aim for picking two of the above recommendations to start detoxifying your surrounding environment. Making all these changes at once can be overwhelming, so do it step by step. Help your body function better by reducing the number of chemicals your liver has to process and enjoy a healthier version of yourself!

 

**Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.