Detox Your System
It’s impossible to completely avoid toxins, but there are certain steps you can take to help your body get rid of them. “a variety of supplements and functional foods can help with liver detoxification in particular,” says Boston-based naturopath Cathy Wong, N.D., C.N.s., author of The Inside-Out Diet (Wiley), who notes that one of the ways that’s achieved is with a process called glucuronidation. “glucuronic acid binds with toxins, such as BPa, phthalates and solvents, in the liver,” Wong explains. “the complex is picked up in bile and then eliminated from the body in stool or urine.” Wong suggests these foods and supplements for assisting with detoxification:
CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE This chemical, which is similar to the glucaric acid found naturally in the human body and in a variety of fruits and vegetables, helps to remove toxins that mimic estrogen in the body (e.g., BPa), as well as prevent the reabsorption of toxins including solvents, BPa and phthalates, says Wong. Try: source Naturals Calcium D-glucarate ($35 for 60 tablets; vitaminshoppe.com).
CHLOROPHYLL The pigment that gives plants their green hue is good for liver detoxification of heavy metals, such as mercury, and pesticides, notes Wong. “Research suggests that chlorophyll may modulate the activity of detoxification enzymes, protect against free radical damage and bind to toxins, promoting their elimination,” she says. Try: Drinking 2 to 4 ounces of wheatgrass juice several times a week.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES These are rich in sulfur-containing glucosinolates, which support glucuronidation and glutathione formation, says Wong. “they are also rich in vitamin C and fiber, which help with detoxification,” she adds. Try: adding 1⁄2 cup of raw broccoli or kale to green smoothies or juices.
FIBER “If you don’t have regular bowel movements, chemicals that have been detoxified by the liver and eliminated in the bowels will get reabsorbed into the bloodstream,” Wong notes. Try: getting 25 to 35 grams of soluble fiber per day, along with plenty of water, suggests Wong, who recommends sources including oatmeal, beans, citrus fruits, pears, plums and carrots, as well as psyllium seeds, chia and ground flaxseeds.
PROBIOTICS When your gut bacteria isn’t in balance, the gut releases an enzyme that breaks down glucuronidation complexes in the intestines. “toxins are then released for reabsorption in blood,” says Wong, who notes that getting 10 billion CFus of probiotics per day can restore the balance of bacteria in your belly. Try: Enzymatic therapy Pearls Elite High Potency Probiotic ($25 for 30 capsules; vitaminshoppe.com).
Read the ingredients lists on products and learn about the many chemicals and places they’re lurking by visiting sites like the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Tox Town (toxtown.nlm.nih.gov). you can also look up products on sites including healthystuff.org and ewg.org.