Everyone is exposed to hundreds of toxins and chemicals daily. Whether we like it or not, they are everywhere. They are on our food, in our skincare products and cleaning supplies, and they are in the air. The liver has to constantly keep up with the detoxification of these harmful compounds. Reducing exposures helps decrease body burden which decreases inflammation in the body. Too many chemicals and toxins in the body can lead to hormone imbalance, infertility, brain fog, fatigue, behavior and mood disorders, neurological issues, and obesity (just to name a few). They damage the GI tract by disrupting the microbiome, they help fat cells stick around, they lead to estrogen overload, and they often get stored in brain and nerve tissue.
Here are five tips to help decrease toxin and chemical exposures:
Eat organic as much as possible - especially off the Dirty Dozen list. The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists are two lists put out every year by the EWG that states which 12 foods are the most sprayed with chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides and the top 15 foods that are the least sprayed. The list is pretty consistent every year with strawberries, apples, all leafy greens, grapes, and bell/hot peppers being some of the most sprayed. These are the foods you should aim to buy organic. The clean fifteen is often avocados, onions, asparagus, cabbage, and melons. These are safer to buy non-organic. Here is a link to their website for the full lists: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php. Washing your produce helps but unfortunately it does not get rid of it all.
Use cleaning products that are free of chemicals. Cleaning chemicals are very toxic on the skin, in the lungs, and subsequently to the rest of the body. Anything you put on your skin will get absorbed and anything you breathe in will enter blood circulation. Bleach, ammonia, surface cleaners, drain cleaners, carpet cleaners, and air fresheners are all toxic and damaging to our cells. It is very common to plug air fresheners into the wall, spray them into the air, and clip them onto your car vents. They are constantly inhaled for as long as they are plugged in, increasing total body burden. Cleaning products often contain artificial fragrances that are toxic and bothersome to individuals as well. Vinegar in water is a great substitute for all surface cleaners (add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give it a better smell).
Use natural, chemical free skincare and hair products. According to Consumer Group, women put an average of 168 chemicals on their body a day... Whoa. Humans did not evolve to keep up with detoxifying that many toxic compounds a day. Your skin absorbs everything that you put on it - good or bad.
Avoid processed foods. This is more obvious but processed = chemicals involved. Stick to the outsides of the grocery store. The perimeter is where you find fresh produce and meat. The inside is where you find boxed, canned, artificially flavored, dyed, and processed foods. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce the ingredient or you can’t describe what that ingredient is - you probably shouldn’t be putting it in your body.
Air filters. Indoor air is actually dirtier than outdoor air. Getting an air filter that uses a HEPA filter is very beneficial for everyone but especially people with allergies, asthma, a slow detox system, and chemical sensitivities. And when warm weather rolls around - open those windows! The circulation of air helps lower the amount of chemicals, dust, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds that are found inside houses and buildings.
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