10 Low-Toxin Diet Rules

Fat is a toxin depot

Fat Is A Toxin Depot, Healthy Living Magazine, Health, Isaac Eliaz

Fat Is A Toxin Depot, Healthy Living Magazine, Health, Isaac Eliaz

Two decades ago experts used cancer incidence as the all-encompassing marker of the human health consequences of chemical exposures, but since then research demonstrates the far-ranging effects extend well beyond this marker.

The biggest concept today is endocrine disruption and the discovery that chemical exposures change our body’s hormones and messengers—that they modify genetics. Chemicals such as parabens in cosmetics act like the female hormone estrogen when they interact with reproductive tissues. They build up in the human body. Acrylates in mascara and eyeliner bear estrogenic properties. So do chemicals found in our fruits and vegetables. Endosulfan is sprayed on California lettuce and introduced into consumers’ bodies. These exposures could account for some of the incidence of endometriosis and fibroids among women, say experts.

In the January 2014 issue of Chemosphere, a study from the Republic of Korea found that background exposure to organochlorine (OC) pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is linked to type 2 diabetes. Some pesticides or PCBs “showed significant associations with diabetes or insulin resistance.”

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In the March 2012 issue of the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, the same Korean researchers said chronic inflammation is now thought to be a part of obesity with insulin resistance and diabetes, and pesticide concentrations “were associated with increased levels” of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

Body Depot

Many toxins, such as pesticides, are fat soluble, so our body fat becomes a “convenient” storage depot. Other toxins, such as lead and cadmium, store in bone, brain tissue and other areas of the body.

When I see patients suffering from endometriosis, ovarian and breast and other cancers, chronic fatigue, obesity, cholesterol dysfunction, memory loss, dementia, violent behavior, diabetes and other maladies, I recommend a blood and adipose tissue panel that will determine which chemicals have accumulated in the body. When patients’ blood panels or adipose tissue tests show levels of pesticides, industrial chemicals and other pollutants above background levels, detoxification becomes necessary.

I recommend most adults engage in periodic gentle detoxification; however, the need to detox is even more urgent for people trying to overcome or prevent disease, especially if they’re at risk from past chemical exposures, or illnesses. For those facing cancer, a neurodegenerative disease or other condition, gently removing toxic substances over a period of time can be a step toward regaining health.

Many organs and systems in the body, including the immune system, liver, kidneys, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, are intended to aid detoxification. The skin is also a major elimination organ. However, toxins can nest in cells or fatty tissues, making them difficult to remove. So we need to take an approach that minimizes toxin exposure while incorporating compounds to bind with potential toxins before they get absorbed.

Low-Toxin Diet

By making a few adjustments, we can lower our toxic load, reduce inflammation and improve numerous other aspects of health in the process.

My first recommendation is to buy organic produce, dairy and meat to reduce chemical exposures to pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.

Replace with lean organic or low-toxin proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and filtered or purified water. I cannot overstate the importance of water. Many of us are chronically dehydrated, and most biological processes rely on water. For example, immune cells signal each other through liquid. Ultimately, the body needs abundant hydration to flush toxins.

Chemical toxicity creates inflammation that leads to oxidative stress, which can damage cells right down to their DNA. Antioxidants counteract this. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as berries, beets and carrots have carotenoids, flavonoids, isoflavone and polyphenol compounds in their vivid pigments. Many vegetables, particularly the green leafy varieties, are rich in binding agents and antioxidants.

1. Alkalizing Foods

Toxicity causes acidity of the body, making alkalizing foods necessary: spinach, kale, celery, avocado and cucumber. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage detoxify hormones and fight cancer.

The darker colored vegetables and fruits, particularly those that are orange, yellow and green, are richest in total carotenoids. These foods include carrots, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peas, collard greens, apricots, cherries and papayas.

2. Isoflavones

Estrogens found in plants are known as phytoestrogens (with the Greek phyto for plant). They belong to the flavonoid family, responsible for pigmentation of flowers. Certain members of the flavonoid family, isoflavones, provide raw materials from which estrogens are formed in the gut by intestinal bacterial. One of the richest sources of phytoestrogens is tofu, a staple of Asiatic diets. There is some evidence that tofu is protective and that a diet rich in crucifers and soy, both common to the Asiatic diet, may be most protective.

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3. Bind Heavy Metals And Radioactive Isotopes

Food, botanicals and exercise can go a long way toward cleansing the body, but we also need to take a more active role. One method is the use of specific compounds which bind heavy metals and radioactive isotopes and take them out of the body. There are a variety of chemical agents but they often come with side effects and can also leach needed minerals.

4. Citrus Pectin

I recommend modified citrus pectin (MCP) and alginates. MCP is made from the pith of citrus peels, a source of regular pectin. Modifying normal pectin molecules to make them smaller allows the body to absorb them into the circulation. MCP has been shown in clinical studies to effectively bind to and remove lead, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals as well as radioactive isotopes. Alginates are not absorbed into the circulation but remain in the intestinal tract where they grab incoming toxins and eliminate them through the stool. Alginates also promote a healthy intestinal environment for probiotics and can remove radioactive iodine and cesium.

The combination of these two botanicals can go a long way toward removing unwanted toxins. Most importantly, they achieve these results with no side effects. Daily use will protect against chemical toxicity, including cancer and heart disease. MCP also binds to an inflammatory protein in the body called galectin-3. This is for people who are dealing with cancer or heart disease, as galectin-3 has been implicated in both. In cancer, galectin-3 is associated with invasion and metastasis. It’s also an important new blood biomarker used to assess risks and progression of heart failure.

5. Binders And Transporters

Increase fiber, which supports an efficient gastrointestinal system, binding to toxins as well as providing a healthy environment for beneficial bacteria. Found only in plants, fiber is the tightly bound material that holds them together; vegetarian and semi-vegetarian diets are obviously high in fiber. High fiber foods include flax, chia seed and rice bran, oats, quinoa as well as low-starch vegetables. A pooled analysis of 10 studies showed fiber protects against breast cancer, particularly for postmenopausal women. The average American woman now consumes less than half the fiber-rich flours and cereals than in 1910. Estimates of optimal intake range from 20 up to 45 grams. All vegetables and fruits supply fiber.

6. Probiotics

Another way to boost gastrointestinal health and help promote detoxification is with probiotics. The body naturally harbors many species of these friendly bacteria which enhance immunity, improve digestion and produce nutrients for gastrointestinal and overall health. Research continues to discover new ways that specific strains of beneficial bacteria promote health. A wide range of fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut and kimchi provide probiotic bacteria.

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7. Don't Forget Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the most versatile foods available. In addition to being rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, mushrooms have a powerful effect on immunity. Carbohydrates in mushroom cell walls, such as beta-glucans, can both energize immune cells and moderate an overactive immune response. Though numerous mushrooms are difference makers, I particularly recommend maitake, shiitake and enokidake among the edible varieties.

8. Herbs

Although the liver is built to deal with toxins, their accumulation can damage the organ’s ability to function. The herb fenugreek has long been used to support liver detoxification and overall function, and dandelion boosts liver and gallbladder function to supply digestive acids. N-acetyl cysteine, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and garlic supply sulfur-based compounds that protect the liver from chemical toxicity.

9. Exercise

Exercise burns fat, which can help us get rid of any fatsoluble compounds. In addition, metabolic acceleration of modest exercise boosts the immune system.

10. Control Stress

By simply taking five or 10 minutes each day to calm the mind, we can reduce stress hormones and lower inflammation. I recommend moving meditations such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and yoga. These combine exercise and meditation to improve muscle strength, endurance and balance with intent toward approaching life from a calm and centered place. One recent study found that yoga changes gene expression to enhance immunity.

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Spring and Fall cleanse

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a focused cleanse is recommended each year in the spring and fall. By engaging in regular detoxification, we create the foundation for longevity. In addition, many of these suggestions, such as the dietary refinements and mind-body stress relief, can be incorporated into daily life.

Kim KS, Hong NS, Jacobs DR Jr, Lee DH. Interaction Between Persistent Organic Pollutants and C-reactive Protein in Estimating Insulin Resistance Among Non-diabetic Adults. J Prev Med Public Health. 2012 Mar;45(2):62-69. doi: 10.3961/jpmph.2012.45.2.62. E-pub 2012 Mar 31.
Kim KS, Lee YM, Kim SG, Lee IK, Lee HJ, Kim JH, Kim J, Moon HB, Jacobs DR Jr, Lee DH. Associations of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in visceral vs. subcutaneous adipose tissue with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Chemosphere. 2014 Jan;94:151-157. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.09.066. E-pub 2013 Oct 22.
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