Annual Cleanse: Why Detoxify?

Toxic chemicals abound in the world today- they easily find their way into our body through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. We also ingest foreign chemicals when taking medications or when using alcohol or tobacco. Toxins not only come from external sources, they are also produced from within the body during normal metabolism and digestion of food. Nutritional imbalances, digestive insufficiencies and food allergies can compromise detoxification pathways and impose significant overwhelming burdens on the body. Sources of toxins that have damaging effects on the body include cigarette smoke, alcohol, air pollutants, pesticide laden foods, mercury contaminated fish, mercury filling removal or repair, cleaning products, medications, hormones, food additives, dry cleaned laundry and beauty and hair products.

Helping your body to rid itself of these toxins and support proper organ functioning can be an effective way to increase energy, decrease/eliminate aches and pains, improve quality of sleep, decrease problematic digestive concerns and to decrease the risk for chronic illness.

Whole body cleansing supports the eliminatory functions of the major organ systems including the liver, lungs, kidneys, skin and intestines. There are many things that you can do on a daily basis to support elimination. This includes drinking adequate amounts of filtered water daily, maintaining healthy bowel function, reducing the amount of processed foods you eat and choosing organic meat, dairy and produce whenever possible. Antioxidants found in colorful fruits and vegetables and perform the important role of eradicating harmful substances in the body.

Foods to include in your diet to promote detoxification:

* Green tea

* Vegetables in the Brassica family including: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, broccoli raab, collards, cress, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, bok choi.

* Turmeric

* Brown rice

Detoxification supports the body at the most vital level by treating toxicity where it has the greatest affect, at the level of the cells. When cells become congested with toxins, important chemical messengers and hormones are not able to communicate. The cells become sluggish and don't function at their proper level leading to dysfunction and disease. By treating at the cellular level, allows your body to come back into a state of balance that will have a positive effect on virtually every aspect of your health.

Although the body is designed to eliminate toxins, it cannot always handle the overload present in today's environment due to the congested state of our health. Hence, the body's ability to properly excrete toxins decreases and other toxins are released from fat cells into the circulation with times of distress. When the body experiences an overload of toxic substances, the consequences can manifest in a number of ways: headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, irritability, depression, mental confusion, digestive disturbances such as constipation, diarrhea and gas, cardiovascular irregularities, weight gain or loss, flu-like symptoms or allergic reactions including hives, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. In addition to these symptoms, it has shown that toxic overload also contributes to more serious conditions such as autoimmune diseases like Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, neurological disease such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and potentially cancer.

The vast majority of people benefit from supporting the body's natural eliminatory function and detoxifying process. The benefits include decreased weight, clearer skin, increased elimination, tissue repair, decreased pain and inflammation, increased concentration, vitality, energy and relaxation.

This time of year, the transition between the hibernation of winter and the growth of summer, is an excellent time for an extra boost in detoxification. There are many ways to accomplish this, including fasting and specific cleansing programs tailored to your needs.

A positive mental outlook towards detoxification is important, as is adequate preparation. Fresh air, rest, exercise, sunshine, pure water, emotional poise and wholesome food are equally important to build and maintain health. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the satisfaction that you can play a major role in optimizing your health.

Please also see the 2BWell article archives for "Aiding the Organs of Elimination", an excellent guide to everyday detoxification.

Dr. Julie Brush, ND