• Julie Rowin MD

6 Strategies to Detoxify Your Body


Lack of energy, fatigue and brain fog may be symptoms of accumulated toxins in the body and is one of the primary reasons people seek to make changes to their lifestyle. Toxic symptoms may occur when we reach our personal limit of accumulated toxins and are not able to clear them efficiently enough. There is mounting evidence that a growing number of medical conditions are related to the buildup of toxins, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, fatigue, infertility, allergies, behavior and mood disorders, and neurological conditions such as neuropathy, tremors, headaches, and cognitive difficulties, along with other diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.


Environmental toxins, particularly toxic metals and other industrial chemicals are ubiquitous in our air, water and food. Avoidance of toxic exposure is always best, but not always possible. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate toxin accumulation and enhance your body’s ability to eliminate them.

The plant kingdom has devised a way to help the body rid itself of toxic metals and other chemicals naturally by binding to them and aiding in their elimination through urine, sweat and stool. Certain fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs are particularly beneficial to include in the diet in order to facilitate toxin elimination. [1] There is no single food containing all the protective phytonutrients, so eat a variety. Aim for 9-13 servings per day of plant foods. Remember to include all the colors of the rainbow in your predominantly plant-based diet.



1. Here are some foods with scientific evidence for enhancing detoxification in the body [2] :

  • Alliums: onion and garlic

  • cruciferous vegetables: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower

  • cilantro (leaves) and coriander (seeds)

  • turmeric root/curcumin

  • green tea and Matcha

  • green vegetables and chlorella for their chlorophyll

  • Fiber: Dietary guidelines for adults is about 28-35 grams daily. Most Americans get about ½ the recommended fiber. Fiber is crucial for gut health and immune health as well as flushing out toxins through the stool. 1-3 bowel movements per day is ideal. For aiding in detoxification, include the insoluble fiber found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits with the skin-on, legumes and nuts.

  • Eat organic to avoid pesticide exposure whenever possible. At the very least avoid the “Dirty Dozen”, the most pesticide laden produce of 2020 according to research by The Environmental Working Group.

Here are some other strategies to lower the burden of toxins:

2. Hydration

Drink ½ body weight (lbs) in ounces per day of fresh filtered water.


3. Sweat Daily (sauna and exercise). Some toxins like cadmium seem to be best eliminated through sweating. [3]


4. Breathe Fresh Air. Inside air quality is not always the best, so get outside and take some deep breaths.


5. Avoid heating or microwaving your food or water in plastic containers or non-stick Teflon pans. Plastics contain several known chemicals that disrupt hormone function. Hand wash plastics rather than using the dishwasher to avoid leaching. Better yet, use glass, stainless steel or ceramic containers.


6. Minimize the use of unnatural personal care and cleaning products.


Enjoy This Recipe: Kale and Brussels Sprout Detox Salad

References

  1. Chung RT. Detoxification effects of phytonutrients against environmental toxicants and sharing of clinical experience on practical applications. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017;24(10):8946-8956.

  2. Sears ME. Chelation: harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification--a review. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013;2013:219840.

  3. Genuis SJ, Birkholz D, Rodushkin I, Beesoon S. Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2011;61(2):344-357.