Toxins in our daily lives
In past posts, you’ve learned how important your gut microbiome is to your immune system and how a healthy immune system keeps YOU healthy. With all the toxins we are exposed to daily, imagine what that does to your gut microbiome?
Some of Dr. Joe Pizzorno’s latest research suggests:
As arsenic levels rise, so do prostate, lung and brain cancer.
Bisphenol A, used in the production of plastics, in addition to arsenic, and cadmium, and mercury, and organophosphate pesticides, and organochlorine pesticides has been associated with ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
Cancer.org suggests there will be an estimated 1,762,450 new cancer cases diagnosed and 606,880 cancer deaths in the United States this year.
The encouraging news is, it’s been shown that only 5 to 10 percent of cancers are caused by genetics, whereas 90 to 95 percent are due to the environment and lifestyle.
( Anand, P., Kunnumakara, A.B., Sundaram, C. et al. Pharm Res (2008) 25: 2097. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11095-008-9661-9)
And that’s not all. In the past 30 to 40 years obesity has increased by 30%. The population of overweight people has risen by 70%. 1/3 of children are overweight.
Consequently, diabetes has risen as well.
More than 84,000 chemicals are legal for commerce in the US. Accounting for over $763 billion in revenue. About 13,000 are used in cosmetics alone. Of those roughly 10 percent have been evaluated for safety.
Endocrine disrupters found in plastics and skincare products have been shown to cause hormone changes that can cause weight gain.
Even worse autoimmune disease now affects more people than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined.
It hasn’t always been this way; something has changed and it’s not our genes.
We are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis. Including most of the products we put in and on ourselves, our kids, our pets, and products to clean our homes.
Our food is genetically modified to withstand herbicides and sprayed with pesticides, which are killing the bees that pollinate fruits and vegetables and polluting groundwater that feeds our water supply.
Milk and meats have hormones and antibiotics in them.
We are prescribed medications with long lists of side effects and there are thousands of deaths every year due to prescription medication overdose.
Our world has become a toxic cesspool. Toxins are in the air, in your homes, in your cars, your workspace, and your food.
You may have heard the phrase, “better living through chemicals”.
While advances in manufacturing, food production, and household, well, everything have made life more colorful, think of clothing in the 50s, mostly drab earth colors, eating easier, when I was a kid there were few fast food choices, and fewer boxed prepared meals in grocery stores, no fire retardant clothes and furniture, and much, much fewer plastic toys for kids and pets.
Those 84,000+ chemicals take their toll.
Some exposure to toxins you just can’t control,
- The outside air you breathe. City air is full of toxins from autos, industry, landscape/gardening products, and more.
- In your car. Plastics and fabric off gas. Air fresheners are super toxic. The scent is all synthetic chemicals made to last a long time.
- Your work environment. The air in buildings has been said to be even more toxic than outdoor air because the air is continually recirculated. Women’s perfumes and men’s colognes are made with synthetic fragrances. Furniture, carpet, and office machines off gas. And don’t overlook that person with the toxic personality.
- The water that comes out of your tap. Municipal water often contains too high levels of toxic bacteria and chlorine used to control bacteria is toxic itself!
But some exposure to toxins you can control,
- Personal care products you use. Lipstick may contain lead. Skincare products with ingredients you can’t pronounce probably shouldn’t touch your skin
- Removing shoes before entering your house will help to keep outside toxins out
- Your food! Organic foods must contain NO pesticides, herbicides or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Shop at Farmers Markets. Most grocery stores carry at least some organic products. Costco offers a ton of them!
- Use an air filtration unit, whole house or at the very least use high-quality furnace/AC filters (affiliate link) and change them monthly.
Toxins and the gut microbiome
You learned in the past three posts how important your gut microbiome is to fight off disease and keep you healthier, longer. So what can you do about the toxin exposure that get past your ever persistent scrutiny?
You’ve likely heard of detoxing. There are tons of detox products and programs. But detoxing your body needn’t be so complicated. In fact, there are three ways to naturally detoxify every day.
- sweating, yup that means you gotta either exercise which you should be or take regular saunas.
- urination– eliminates a lot of toxins that the liver processes.
- stools – pooping helps to eliminate fat-soluble toxins. Many environmental toxins are fat soluble.
In addition, dietary fats are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Sweating, take a sauna, run on the treadmill, take a brisk walk on a hot day, work in the garden, mow the lawn, and my favorite, take a hike.
Everything you ingest eventually goes through your liver. Its main function is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract. Ah, see the connection to your gut? Before it passes to the rest of the body.
It also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs.
- eating antioxidant foods such as grapefruit and Turmeric help naturally detoxify
- to activate elimination by urination try teas made from Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Chicory, or Peppermint leaf.
Fiber, fiber, and more fiber!
Let’s face it practically no one eats enough fiber. Fiber is important for mobilizing contents of your intestines so your dietary fat can move through and carry those fat-soluble toxins out.
If you’re not having at least one good bowel movement every day those toxins are just sitting in your gut putrifying.
How do you get more fiber? Easy. Eat more fruit and vegetables. You knew that was coming, didn’t you? The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
Foods with around 3 to 5 grams per serving Strawberries 3 grams, Apples 4.4 grams, Bananas 3.1 grams, Blueberries 2.4 grams, Carrots 3.6 grams, Beets 3.8 grams, Broccoli 2.4 grams, Brussel sprouts 4 grams, Almonds 3.4 grams, Sweet Potatoes 3.8 grams
Foods with over 5 grams per serving Blackberries 5.3 grams, Raspberries 8 grams, Pears 5.5 grams
And the heavy hitters? Avocado 10 grams, Artichoke 10.3 grams, Lentils 15.6 grams, Kidney beans 11.3 grams, Split Peas 16.3 grams, Chickpeas 12.5 grams, Oats 16.5 grams, Cha Cha Chia Seeds 10.6 grams, Pumpkin Seeds 18.4 grams
We saved the best for last,
Chocolate!, yup chocolate but it’s gotta be dark chocolate. Fiber content in dark chocolate is about 3.1 grams per ounce. So a 6-ounce bar, make it the bitterish kind, would net 18.6 grams! In addition, dark chocolate is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet!
It’s not enough to detox
You gotta reduce your exposure to the toxins hiding in nearly everything you use.
There’s an App for that!
Healthy Living for iPhone and Android to help while shopping. You can scan the bar code and it will rate ingredients of foods, personal care products, cleaning products and more.
If you can’t pronounce those ingredients, run away. In addition, it will score the product based on how many toxins it has.
You have control!
To sum it up, now that you know where toxins come from you can
- control your exposure to the daily bombardment
- you don’t need to buy expensive detox products
- use food to detox every day
- get out to a Farmers Market for organic produce
- look for organic foods at the grocery store
- use the Healthy Living app to check household and personal products for toxins before you buy
There has never been a better time to be proactive in your health. It may take a bit of effort but isn’t living longer, healthier worth it?
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