Each and every day we’re all exposed to a variety of toxins—in the air we breathe and the food and beverages we consume. Although the human body has an amazing ability to filter and flush out these toxins, nowadays we’re often exposed to so many that it can overload our liver’s ability to do its job. When this happens, it can disrupt proper functioning of our immune and endocrine systems, cause inflammation, and lead to various health problems. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of detoxification and how it can support better health.
What is detoxification and why is the liver so important?
In the simplest terms, detoxification is the removal of toxic substances from the human body. This function is mainly carried out by the liver with help from the kidneys. The liver performs the essential job of regulating the levels of nutrients and chemicals in your blood by breaking them down and converting them into forms that are easier for the body to use. Toxins and other waste materials are then flushed out through the kidneys.
The liver plays a central role in all metabolic processes in the body including the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. In fat metabolism the liver breaks down fats to produce energy. With carbohydrates, it regulates the level of sugar in the blood (glucose) and ensures that it stays constant. The liver processes proteins by changing the amino acids in food so they can be used to produce energy. The by-product of this process is urea, which is transported to the kidneys and passes out of the body in urine.
How can you detoxify the body?
The process of detoxification is essentially a removal of toxic substances from your body. But how do you do that? Certainly, we have control over the foods and beverages we choose to put into our bodies, but there can still be unknown toxins lurking in the form of pesticides and other environmental toxins, not to mention preservatives and other chemicals added to packaged foods. In addition, it can be impossible to avoid environmental toxins when they are coming from places you have little control over such as the air you breathe.
Reducing exposure to toxic compounds is the first step. This means reading food labels to avoid ingesting artificial ingredients and chemicals as well as choosing organically grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible. In addition, according to the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), one of the important ways you can detoxify your body and maintain good health is to eat more foods that support the pathways in the liver for healthy elimination.
“At the AAPRI Center for Functional Medicine, we utilize IFM’s Detox Food Plan, which includes a phytonutrient-dense approach that supports intestinal and liver function during the metabolic detoxification process, for patients our practitioners think it would benefit,” explains Yoko Kawashima, certified functional medicine health coach.
To me, the Detox Food Plan is one of the easiest food plans to follow. I don’t use caloric limits but rather focus on the quality protein, healthy fats, and abundant greens/non-starchy vegetables to ensure that metabolic detoxification processes have a good nutritional foundation.—Deanna Minich, PhD, CNS, IFM certified practitioner
What are some of the health benefits of detoxification?
An effective detox diet and program like the ones we provide at the Center for Functional Medicine can deliver a wide range of health benefits such as:
- Stronger immune system – proper detoxification allows your body’s immune system to fight off illness and keep you healthy
- Improved energy – too many toxins can cause you to feel tired and fatigued; detoxification restores balance and gives you more energy
- Stress relief – toxins are known to have a negative effect on your emotions and mental health; detoxing can reduce stress levels
- Clearer thinking – detoxing can help improve poor sleep, anxiety, depression, and mental alertness caused from a build-up of toxins can affect your central nervous system
- Other benefits – detoxing can bring about healthier skin and hair and fresher breath
Find out how functional medicine can help you be healthier.
At the AAPRI Center for Functional Medicine, our dedicated team works with you address your individual concerns and create a personalized plan to improve your overall health and quality of life. Contact us today to schedule your free 15-minute Discovery Call and learn more!