I love to learn.
Hence, why after eight years of naturopathic medical education, I decided to further my training and entered into a fellowship in anti-aging, regenerative, and functional medicine. As a result, I became one of a few ND's in North America board-certified in this field, and recently spent a weekend at Harvard Medical School working with some of the brightest and most progressive doctors in the business. What an inspiring few days!
Many of our conversations focused on the concept of aging, what we can do to support and ultimately slow down this process. Traditionally, when most people think of "anti-aging," images of Botox injections, tummy tucks and facelifts often came to mind. While this may appeal to some, I am from the camp that cutting-edge anti-aging medicine focuses much more on the cellular and genetic level, where all degenerative processes begin, rather than just focusing skin deep. What we surround our cells with has a direct effect all the way down to our genetic core. This, as you can imagine, not only impacts and how WE look, feel, and behave -- but can also significantly impact the health of our children.
The concept of toxicity is not new. What is new is the tremendous onslaught of man-made toxins we now face globally. Considering planet earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old, the majority of man-made toxins in our environment have only emerged in the last 150 years. This is crazy if you let it sink in for a moment...these powerful substances affect EVERY living species on the planet -- humans included. We were not born with a need for these in our body. The cumulative effects of these man-made toxins are very real and very alarming, and we have only recently come to begin understanding the effects of this problem we face.
So, does that mean we are all doomed and should just throw our hands up in the air and surrender to this toxic soup we've created?? HECK NO. We are a resilient species. Our bodies have the capability to heal. That being said, we do a limit of what we can handle and need to evolve as the environment around us is ever evolving. Now more then ever we need to reduce unnecessary toxin exposure, build up our nutritional reserves so that we can create buffering systems, fortify our detoxification pathways -- and ultimately keep up with this increased toxic load. Much like an assembly line, if one person slows down it causes a backup affecting the entire process.
While I am an enormous believer and fan of custom detoxification programs built around one's own unique biochemical makeup, there are many general strategies that can reduce your toxic burden and improve your ability to heal and kick start your path to optimal health and wellness. Below are my Top 5 Daily Detox Tips (That Work):
1. Increase the (Organic) Greens
While many of my patients hear me say this over and over, I promise it is for good reason. The average person is getting far less than the required 8-10 servings of dark vegetables and fruit per day. These are DETOX FOODS -- plain and simple. They contain high amounts of fiber, nutrients that support the function of your bowels, kidneys and liver (3 very critical detox organs). If you struggle to get this many on your plate on a regular basis make a green smoothie everyday. And yes, these can actually taste quite good!
2. Stay Hydrated
Did you know our bodies are made up of almost 65 per cent water?? We need a constant source of this to not only survive, but to thrive. Two litres of water is a good goal for almost everyone to consume daily for optimal health. Our detox organs especially need adequate hydration. Without enough water to literally "rinse" these out, toxins will not leave our body and will linger creating all sorts of havoc that is easily avoided. Proper water intake can contribute to clearer skin, properly functioning organs, and a more effective circulatory, respiratory, and digestive system. So this one simple substance can offer great help to our entire body and the way that it functions. Throw a half slice of organic lemon in for an extra liver and kidney detox kick!
3. Filter your Shower and Bath Water
A lot of people drink filtered water but forget that one shower is the equivalent (in toxin absorption) as drinking 8 glasses of water. A basic shower filter will help cut down on the chlorine fluoride and other chemicals present in our water system from absorbing straight in through our skin and being inhaled. It is an affordable investment that goes a long way and will have a beneficial impact on your entire family.
4. Sweat it Out
When you are exercising you are not only helping the body to shed fat and excess weight, but you are also helping to get rid of toxins that build up over time. Exercise promotes lymphatic drainage, which acts like the sewer system -- and it needs gravity and muscle contraction to work. As you sweat these toxins can come out in droves, providing an invaluable daily detox tool. In addition, ample exercise also helps with digestion, circulation, metabolism and hormone balancing. It doesn't always have to be a fancy workout -- pick an activity you enjoy and get moving!!
5. Fill Up on Fiber
Most Americans only get about half the recommended daily allowance of fiber. Fiber helps you feel full, and it also scrubs the gut, and drags unwanted toxic debris out with it. Particularly high sources include lentils, broccoli, flax seeds (ground), and hemp hearts. If none of these are your speed then yes, a fiber supplement is a good idea. There are many to choose from so look for one that mixes both soluble and insoluble fiber for best impact.
Yours in Health,
Dr. J. Dempster, ND, FAARFM, ABAAHP
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