Detoxification During a Pandemic: Why It’s ImportantFeb 26, 2021 10:00AM ● By Tamara Luck
When discussing detoxification, it often appears that there are two types of people: those that enthusiastically detox with green juices, supplements and saunas, and those that firmly state that our livers and kidneys are here to do the very job of detoxing without needing help from gimmicks. Regardless of personal opinions, antioxidant status and detoxification are important topics to understand during a global pandemic to establish a healthy baseline.
As with most health subjects, optimal detoxification is nuanced and individual. However, some foundations should be established before diving into the benefits of detoxification and how to support the body in doing so. First, our bodies rely on a complex system that processes and eliminates toxins, starting at the cellular level, passing through many stages through organs such as the liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and elimination primarily through the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. These chemical reactions require a delicate balance of antioxidants, nutrients and hormones to function properly. Imbalances in these processes can be influenced by genetic factors, nutrient intake and lifestyle.
Secondly, the modern world is filled with more man-made toxins than ever before. Studies cite 30,000 to 90,000 man-made, synthetic chemicals saturating conventional food, household products and personal care products that we regularly consume, inhale and slather on our skin. These toxins pose a new type of chemical the liver must learn how to deal with and contributes greatly to the body’s overall toxin load. Lastly, due to conventional livestock and produce farming practices, even the healthiest diets are likely lacking vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The benefits of optimal detoxification
When the human body is efficiently detoxifying, the body is in a state of flow and homeostasis. We can fight off inflammation, keep the body and mind energized and prevent chronic diseases through the removal of internally made and externally consumed toxins. Suboptimal detoxification status may manifest as poor digestion, skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, brain fog, headaches, cardiac or joint inflammation, autism, weight gain, cellular damage and more.
Ways to support optimal detoxification
Supporting detoxification can be done gently daily through nutrition and herbs. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, arugula and Brussels sprouts, and allium vegetables, like onions and garlic, contain many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutritional compounds to support detoxification. Key nutrients in these foods are B-vitamins, sulforaphane, vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Consuming these foods daily greatly increases overall health status. Increase vegetable intake easily by topping eggs with Brussels sprouts in the morning or roasting vegetables with onions and garlic for an extra liver-loving boost.
Several herbs have also been shown to help support the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system, including parsley, cilantro, ginger, milk thistle and burdock root. Herbs like parsley and cilantro and ginger can be incorporated into meals, while milk thistle and burdock root can be found as supplements in tincture, capsule or tea form.
Detoxifying can be gently supported and added into one’s daily routine to support all health goals. Simple steps to decrease total toxin load and add in antioxidants and nutrients from vegetables and herbs have a profound beneficial effect on the body. These health upgrades are essential for general well-being while making the body less susceptible to illness and chronic disease.
Tamara Luck, RDN, LDN, is an integrative and functional dietitian in Waltham, MA. She is offering a group detoxification program in April for those that are interested in pursuing more advanced detoxification. Visit NaturalCompounder.com/Cleanse to learn more. She is also currently accepting new patients at Johnson Compounding and Wellness and appointments can be made at NaturalCompounder.com/Tamara.