By Bonnie Roill
If it’s January, it must be detox season!
We are constantly battling foreign chemicals or toxins that are both commercially created and naturally occurring. Our bodies are exposed to these damaging intruders through the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and by what comes into contact with our skin.
The body’s detoxification system is brilliantly designed to eliminate toxins. However, when the amount of toxins exceeds the body’s ability to break down these compounds, or an individual’s detox organs are compromised through diet, lifestyle, health status, or genetic factors, additional support is needed.
There are more than 800 known environmental toxins, called endocrine disruptors (EDs) since they alter hormones in the body. EDs mimic hormones and fool the body into thinking they’re the real thing. They cause mischief by increasing certain hormones, decreasing others, turning one hormone into another, stopping or re-routing the messages hormones communicate between cells, and even competing with essential nutrients.
One common ED that affects the thyroid gland is perchlorate. Produce, milk, and clear food packaging are the most common sources of perchlorate. This chemical competes with the nutrient iodine, which is necessary for proper functioning thyroid glands. This results in a sluggish metabolism leading to easy weight gain.
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a diverse group of chemicals found in a variety of things like herbicides, flame retardants used on furniture, non-stick pans and stain repellents. These toxins live a long life and can snuggle in body fat tissue for years. POPs affect the thyroid gland and lower testosterone levels.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is the most recognized ED and is linked to breast cancer, obesity, reduced testosterone and early puberty through its effects on estrogen levels. It is found in plastic-based bottles, toys, thermal paper used for receipts and airline suitcase tags, canned food lining, and even paper towels. Studies have shown that more than 90 percent of Americans test positive for BPA in the urine.
Take the proactive approach and start a daily detox by following these five tips:
- Two cups of green tea a day provides the richest source of Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG), a phytonutrient that triggers genes and enzymes involved in the breakdown of POPs. Maximize the concentration of EGCG by steeping your tea at least five minutes.
- Spinach, kale, arugula and Swiss chard are rich in indole-3-carbinol, a natural detoxifier that contributes to regulating estrogen levels. Pulverizing spinach in smoothies releases detox-promoting nutrients. Rotate greens to benefit from their unique profiles.
- During the detox process, fiber captures estrogen. Too little fiber means estrogen is recycled and returned to cells instead of being excreted. Your primary source of daily fiber should come from fresh organic vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts. As a secondary source, fiber supplements can fill in the gap of reaching at least 30 grams of fiber per day.
- Keep perchlorates from leaching into foods by repackaging foods and liquids into glass or ceramic containers. Perchlorates are found everywhere due to contamination of groundwater, so your daily plate should include foods known to activate enzymes that break down toxins for easy release. Examples include pomegranate seeds, cranberries, blueberries and oranges.
- Avoid conventionally fed meats since this is a source of two types of POPs – dioxin and PCBs. These POPs have been associated with a change in metabolism, affecting the body’s ability to sustain weight loss. Purchase organic, grass-fed beef and bison to avoid this exposure. You’ll also reduce exposure to estrogen added to the feed.
Bonus tip: Broccoli contains sulforaphane (sulfur) needed to complete detoxifying enzymes. Adding powdered mustard seeds to boiling water while cooking broccoli can increase the formation of sulforaphanes.
Bonnie Roill combines her extensive background as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, along with health and wellness coach and hormone support coach, to help women upgrade their digestive and hormonal health, resulting in easier weight management. She provides programs for individuals and groups, including her “21 Day Clean Eating Detox Jumpstart” program. Visit b3nutrition.com or contact Bonnie at (480) 242-9217 for more.