Toxins are present in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the personal hygiene and cleaning products we use—literally everything around us. Over time, the chemicals we absorb in small and seemingly insignificant ways—from plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, makeup, toothpaste and even prescription drugs—can build up in the body. When they reach toxic levels, cellular dysfunction and illness can result.
One way to improve your heart health is through reducing your exposure to environmental toxins. Another is to detoxify your body on a regular basis. Here are five things you can do to help rid your body of unwanted toxins.
1. Sweat it out
Sweating is a simple and natural way to detoxify your body. When we perspire, the toxins, pesticides and petrochemicals that have been stored in our subcutaneous fat are excreted through our pores via sweat. This is why regular exercise is important to optimal heart health.
Another great way to cause a sweat is in a sauna. These units are portable and can be placed indoors or outdoors. Far infrared energy heats objects by direct molecular excitation, without heating the air surrounding them. As the body absorbs far infrared heat waves, the transfer of water across cellular membranes increases, thereby improving blood flow and facilitating healing.
No matter which option you choose, just be sure to wipe off perspiration afterward. If perspiration is left on the skin, the toxins may be reabsorbed.
2. Breathe Better
Your lungs expel waste products every time you exhale. So full, deep breathing is paramount to good health. When breathing is restricted, chaotic or dysfunctional in any way, detoxification is impaired.
The “Squeeze and Breathe” is a deep-breathing technique that enables the respiratory system to detoxify your body more efficiently. To do this, sit in a straight chair, supported by a pillow behind your shoulder blades. Remove your shoes and place your feet firmly on the floor. Remember to sit erect, but not stiff. Gently open your mouth. Don’t grit your teeth; just let your jaw hang softly. Breathe in and out, and focus on inhalation and exhalation. After you have breathed for several respirations, focus on grounding your feet onto the floor. Next, place your thumbs over your kidneys and wrap your fingers around the sides toward your navel. Squeeze your fingers together gently as you breathe slow, deep breaths through your nose. As you breathe, focus on the contact of your feet on the floor. Continue to squeeze gently as you breathe in long, slow, deep breaths into your squeezed fingers, forcing them apart and into your belly with your breath. Use a slow mental count—one, two, three, four— on the inhale and again on the exhale.
Practice this deep-breathing technique for at least 5–10 minutes per day to detoxify your body. This is also an exercise you can do to relieve stress or intense anxiety. Slow, rhythmic breaths in and out, with pauses in between inhaling and exhaling, will not only help calm your nervous system, but also help cleanse the body and ultimately boost heart health.
3. Try a detox drink
Once or twice a week, consume a detox drink such as an organic green juice made of apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger and kale. Detox drinks are best taken with water on an empty stomach for optimum nutrient absorption, body alkalization, and flushing out of toxins. Just drink up and clean out!
4. Focus on fiber
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a primary route of elimination for heavy metals and other toxins, and it cannot clear these agents with a sluggish or stagnant bowel. The standard American diet includes only 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day—which is simply not enough to keep this critical detoxification mechanism working smoothly. Ideally, you need at least 30 grams of fiber daily from natural sources, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
5. Support your liver and kidneys
These two organs have a big job to do, because they are key players in processing and detoxifying your body. Therefore, it’s essential that both your liver and kidneys have plenty of the raw materials needed to support the biochemical processes involved in detoxification.
Two key supplements that can be helpful to detoxify your body are N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA). Your body needs NAC, an amino acid, and ALA, a versatile antioxidant, in order to make glutathione, the body’s most important antioxidant. Glutathione binds together toxins—including heavy metals, solvents and pesticides—for excretion. The more toxins you come into contact with, the more support your body needs. 300mg to 600mg of NAC and 50mg to 100mg of ALA daily is recommended.
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