Best Foods And Habits For Body Detoxification – By Ayo Oyoze Baje
The human body engages in various physical, mental and spiritual activities virtually on daily basis. These expose it to heat, cold, dust, smoke and chemicals including pesticides and petro-chemicals that constitute toxins to the human body . There are however, some organs that assist to reduce their cumulative effect, if only they are operating maximally.
Some of them act to neutralize these harmful chemicals. Others assist to either prevent them from entering the body or eliminate them, thereby reducing the incidents of tissue damage. Such important organs include small and large intestines, also called the gastrointestinal barriers. The lymphatic system, the kidney, bladder, lungs and sweat glands are also significant with regards to body detoxification.
Experts on nutrition explain that the small and large intestines act as the first line of defence. They assist to prevent the toxins from entering the other organs. But once they are too weak to function and the toxins enter the blood, “wahala dey O!” Forgive my interjection in pidgin English.
What happens next at this critical point, according to Good Health Magazine, is that “undigested food particles, bacteria and some other substances that normally reside in the intestine move into the bloodstream”. The aim is to trigger the immune system to react but it may lead to inflammation. If this continues organs such as the liver, kidneys, the skin and lungs become overwhelmed.
Of all these, it is the liver that carries the burden of filtering the toxins and transforming them into harmless chemicals and sending them out of the body through the kidneys as urine or as part of stool. Others are eliminated through the lymphatic system, kidneys and lungs.
According to much-respected Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, a professor of anatomy and a consultant reproductive endocrinologist the answer comes with accelerated ageing, persistent headache, backaches, running nose and fatigue. Other include itching and body rashes, joint pains, itchy nose, nervousness, wheezing, irritated eyes, nausea and insomnia or inability to sleep.
Furthermore, ailments such as sore throat, dizziness, indigestion, frequent cold, sinus congestion, stiff neck, bad breathe, body odour, circulatory deficits, constipation, anorexia, fever and high blood fat are traceable to the presence of toxins in the victim’s body.
Digestion shuts down. Fats and sugars are released from where they have been stored in the body. Cholesterol levels rise. Nerves are frayed. Muscles are cramped. Danger looms. This leads to fight-or-flight response. More importantly, know that what you eat could either worsen or relieve you of stress. So what should you do?
THIS IS WHERE THE FOOD WE EAT COMES IN:
Good nutrition is essential during the period of stress because nutritious diet keeps your immune and nervous systems working effectively. Under stress, the body relies on the digestive system. The stress hormone, epinephrine is released from the adrenal glands. The consequences are grave. Generally, stress reduces the body’s immune system, making it vulnerable to debilitating diseases.
Detoxification is should be holistic as the causative factors are interrelated. Preventive measures include the thorough washing of fruits that may have been loaded with pesticides, smoke and dust. Serious disorders such as Parkinson’s illness, breast cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease are likely to show up years later.
Malnutrition, anaemia, bacterial infection including typhoid fever could be traced to fruits and vegetables that are not properly washed. Protect your body and brains by these simple preventive actions:
(1) DO NOT SKIP MEALS because stress depletes you of energy when you skip meals, you lack the energy to combat stress. Generally, low-fat popcorn, whole wheat bread all increase the production of serotonin in the brain. It helps you to relax, says Judith Wurtman, Director Women’s Health, MIT.
(2) EAT FOR ENERGY: According to Georgia Kostas, the nutrition director at Copper Clinic, Dallas, eat regular meals, (breakfast, lunch, dinner and fruits/vegetable-rich snacks in between), even if you are not hungry.
(3) EAT ENOUGH: Those engaged in energy-sapping work in the morning should eat carbohydrate-rich food (bread, oats) along with low-fat milk. Eat enough for all the meals to provide adequate energy. If not, one would suffer mood swings.
(4) HAVE A LUNCH BREAK: Move away from your place of work. Eat outside the stress-filled environment. Unwind for at least 30 minutes.
(5) DO NOT OVER EAT: There is the tendency to over eat or drink when under stress. Avoid it. Go for fresh fruits, yoghurt, herbal tea.
(6) PASTA WITH CHEESE, GROUND TURKEY OR CHILLED CHICKEN. Pure carbohydrate (spaghetti rice) triggers an increase in the brain chemical, serotonin that makes you feel relaxed.
(7) AVOID SUGAR, ALCOHOL and COFFEE when under stress, instead, drink lots of fluids as dehydration causes fatigue.
It is equally important that we live and work in a clean, spacious, airy and noiseless environment if we want to enjoy a long, healthy life.
Also, Poly- vinyl Chloride (PVC) released from plastic containers, shower curtains and old mattresses covers into our heavily polluted environment and eventually get into our food and water could cause some of the aforementioned diseases.
STAY AWAY FROM LEAD. According to Dr. Ellen Silgerbeld, Phd, an expert on toxicology at John Hopkins School of Public Health, many women of the age of 40 and above carry lead in their bones. This is toxic and deadly. Lead is common where gold is mined as it constitutes an impurity. Lead in bones weakens them making them susceptible to easy breakage. Worse still, when it enters the bloodstream it leads to High Blood Pressure(HBP), nervous disorder and of course, kidney problems. Avoid mackerel that may contain mercury that could lead to heart disease. Dust containing lead could stick to your shoes! So, make a habit to keep your shoes outside your living room and wash your feet properly.
Foods rich in calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium and zinc are effective in releasing lead from the body. Foods rich in calcium are milk, yoghurt, unripe plantain, soybeans, sardine, cornflakes and dark green vegetables.
Those that provide vitamin D, apart from exposure to sunlight include: Fatty fish, like tuna and salmon. Others are beef and liver, cheese and egg yolks. Foods fortified with vitamin D are some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and cereals.
Food items that boast of high amount of magnesium are tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and green, leafy vegetables such as spinach. Avocado and banana as well as nuts and seeds are all recommended. Other plants such as legumes (black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans), green beans and seafood (salmon, tuna) have magnesium.
The best foods that are high in zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products (milk, cheese), eggs and whole grains such as wheat.
CHEW YOUR FOOD PROPERLY
Food not properly chewed could be expelled in the intestines that could cause obstruction, fermentation and putrefaction. These lead to pot belly, erectile dysfunction or weak manhood, bad breath and infertility.
IMPORTANCE OF FOOD PREPARATION
Preparation of food is all-important as protein and carbohydrate-rich food may lose their power to fight toxins. Also do not over boil eggs as they become denatured and reduce their nutritional value.
STAY AWAY FROM SMOKE! A study at the University of Arizona, US warns that even smoke from a stick of cigarette is enough to impair blood flow especially in the heart. And according to a study in Norway, women who smoke up to four sticks of cigarettes a day triple their risk of heart attack.
Though it is good to go for detoxification in certified medical spas, prevention through relevant diet and habits would always be cheaper and safer than cure.