by Beth Heller, MS
Every other day a new food achieves “stardom” for its ability
to clear toxins from the body. While there’s an element of hype
to the detoxification craze, science supports the assertion that lifestyle,
nutrition and environmental factors impact our body’s ability to
manage the chemical load of daily life. In fact, much of what is understood
about our body’s detoxification processes comes from pharmacology,
the study of drugs. With the expanding understanding that food contains
bioactive compounds with real physiological functions, it’s time
to view food as more than just calories.
Fertility patients know that their food supply, personal care products
and material environment are filled with chemicals that enter the body
and can wreak havoc. In particular the common steroid compounds present
in pesticides, plastics and agricultural products, not to mention medications
create added stress on reproductive function. Making targeted diet- and
lifestyle-changes to support detoxification processes certainly cannot
hurt, and in fact may benefit hormone-dependent, fertility related conditions
such as fibroids, endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
But it’s hard to know where to start. At Pulling Down the Moon, we
feel the most important take-home message is that your body, when properly
tended and cared for, can absolutely manage the toxins in your environment.
Implementing this three-part strategy of exercise, good nutrition choices
and environmental “clean up” will reduce your exposure to
toxicity and bolster your body’s ability to operate.
Exercise: Blood is pumped through vessels to the liver for cleaning, but the fluids
that bathe the rest of our body’s tissues simply slosh about until
they finda a way into the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system, in turn,
relies on the mechanical action of muscles to circulate. It's not
the most efficient system, especially if an individual lives a sedantary
life. Exercise supports detoxification through the mechanical action of
muscles and the compression of tissues. Yoga, in particular, offers a
diversity of movements—folding, twisting, extending, inverting –
that create a comprehensive mechanical stimulus that encourages fluid
movement. Yoga also improves digestion and elimination with poses such
as “wind relieving pose” that massage and stimulate the digestive system.
Nutrition: Certain compounds in the foods we eat help stimulate production of enzymes
necessary for the detoxification processes that take place in the liver.
Other foods provide the vitamins, minerals and other molecules necessary
for these biochemical processes. Foods higher in soluble and insoluble
fiber promote optimal elimination. Other foods, like factory-raised meats,
milk with added hormones, alcohol and processed foods with added colors,
stabilizers and preservatives, create an excess chemical load. Understanding
how your body processes chemicals and toxins can help you make dietary
choices that support rather than suppress your body's ability to maintain
optimal health and hormone balance.
Environmental: Limiting the use of personal care products, and choosing minimally processed,
minimally packaged foods will lower your body’s chemical load. Not
only are processed foods devoid of nutrients, they often come wrapped
in plastic or stored in BPA containing cans. Watching what you breathe,
too, is important. Skip the cigarettes, obviously, but also air-fresheners
and scented candles that use chemicals instead of essential oils.
Looking for more information about optimal health, fertility and hormone balance?
Contact us for a phone or in-person nutrition consultation today!