By Jeffrey A. Morrison, M.D
Detox diets have crossed into the mainstream thanks to celebrity endorsements and marketing campaigns that suggest they lead to quick-and-easy weight loss and symptom relief. What is not being written about detox diets is that once you stop, your weight and symptoms quickly return.
It’s time quit those quick fix ‘detox diet’. At The Morrison Center, we help our patients focus and instead develop lifelong strategies to achieve and maintain optimal weight, health and well-being.
The goal of an effective detox program is to lower our body burden of toxins and keep them lower into the future. Scientists estimate that we all carry at least 700 contaminants in our body, regardless of whether we live in a rural area, a large city, or near an industrialized zone.
The types of toxins we accumulate include: metals, like lead and mercury; chemicals, like parabens and BPA; and pesticides from the food we eat. If we eliminate exposure to the things that are causing us to be sick, our body will normally heal itself and get rid of those toxins more efficiently.
I believe that the easiest way to lower the body burden of toxins is by understanding our sources of exposure, thereby allowing us to make better choices when purchasing food or water and generally living our lives. When toxins are avoided, your body will respond with vibrant health.
My seven basic rules to living life toxin free include the following:
- Choose seasonal, organic and locally grown food – Organic food has been shown to be higher in nutrients and lower in pesticides than non-organic foods. The EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce is a must have for toxin free produce shopping.
- Use a water purifier – Tap water is known to have chemicals, like chlorine, that adversely affect health, by killing good bacteria in our digestive track. I recommend countertop or under sink charcoal filters like PUR or ion exchange filters, like Zerowater. Remember, the larger the filter (think countertop filter vs. tap head filter), the longer it lasts and better it works.
- Use a HEPA air purifier – During allergy season, many are affected by pollen that cause irritation to the eyes and respiratory track. A great way to lower home pollen and allergen counts is with an air filter. I general recommend EL Foust HEPA filters, which have the ability to remove pollen and chemicals.
- Exercise Regularly – Exercise is a well-known way to improve mood, flexibility and strength. But did you know that exercise improves detoxification. Every time you take a deep breath during an exercise routine, the diaphragm and all muscles move and pump our lymph system, improving the movement of toxins stored in our tissue. Have you ever wondered why you need to urinate after you workout? The extra fluid stored in your tissue is being removed, processed and eliminated through your kidneys.
- Get 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night – This may sound like a monumental task, but research shows that adequate sleep improves mood, immune function, and even performance. So if you want to improve your golf score or mile pace, just sleep more and you’ll see amazing results. I recommend the book, “Sleep for Success”, by James Maas, PhD for more information.
- Improve digestive function – It’s important to focus on what we put into our bodies for living toxin free, but have you ever thought about what needs to come out of our body for us to stay healthy? The colon is like our exhaust system and if it backs up, the body becomes toxic. Generally, you should have one to three bowel movements daily to maintain optimal health.
- Dry Sauna – Every time we sweat, our skin functions as one of the most effective ways to eliminate almost any toxins, even heavy metals and chemicals. When done correctly, saunas are a very safe and effective way to enhance the sweating process. A Swedish or infra-red sauna both work well. The goal is to stay in the sauna for at least 8 minutes after you start sweating and that’s it. Then, step into a cold shower, using soap, to quickly close the pores and prevent toxins from being reabsorbed.
Consider using my seven basic rules along with a detox diet as a transition to a healthier way of living. Once you get the basics, you’ll find that you’ll be able to maintain optimal weight and health for your entire life.
Jeffrey A. Morrison, M.D. is a practicing physician, founder of The Morrison Center and The Daily Benefit® Program, an award-winning author of Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind, and a leader in the field of Integrative Medicine. Visit www.morrisonhealth.com to follow him on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, and watch his videos on YouTube.