(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on July 22, 2010.)
“Why bother worrying about what we eat? Nothing is safe. Everything is bad for you.” Is it any wonder people feel this way? Articles on tainted lettuce, toxic chemicals in our drinking water, steroids and antibiotics in dairy and meat products, preservatives in foods and many other discouraging topics fill our magazines and newspapers.
Unfortunately, we live in a world relying heavily on chemical interventions to make products more convenient and easier to store, with a longer shelf life and the ability to ship farther from their place of origin, supposedly making our lives “better.” Along with the benefits, chemical additives also bring dangers—a higher incidence of cancer, an earlier onset of puberty, congenital deformities, and lowered immunity, to name a few.
What about the air we breathe and the various chemicals in household cleaners, soaps, fabrics, building materials and personal hygiene products? Electronic devices and man-made electromagnetic currents also produce harmful effects.
Negative thoughts and emotions likewise take a toll on the body by putting stress on the immune system and eventually may lead to heart disease, digestive disorders, mental distress and cancer.
All of this makes one feel quite powerless. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your quality of life. There is hope. Some general guidelines for minimizing toxicity overload include:
• Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic.
• Start reading labels. (The less chemicals and processing, the better.)
• Avoid processed sugars. Refined sugar, a neurotoxin, has adverse effects on the nervous system. Use honey, maple syrup or sweeteners such as stevia (a natural sweetener from plant sources).
• Drink green tea (more whole leaf and the higher grades) for its detoxifying ability and antioxidants plus other good nutrients.
• Drink whole organic milk for its fatty acids to help the nervous system.
• Eat foods high in Omega 3 oils, otherwise known as fish oils from cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel. Omega 3 oils can be purchased in capsule form. Flaxseed is a good source of this type of oil.
• Sweating helps eliminate toxins. Engaging in exercise that makes you sweat, even lightly, is good. Saunas also promote sweating (done safely, ensuring you don’t get overheated or dehydrated). Bouncing on a trampoline seems to help lymph movement but, again, emphasize safety.
• Lympho-massage (and massage in general) helps release toxins from the soft tissues.
• Avoid taking in toxins by mouth, ears, eyes and skin.
• Drink plenty of good filtered water (6-8 eight ounce glasses a day) to flush toxins from your body and to hydrate your cells.
Many other avenues help reduce the risk of toxicity. These are just a few. You can make a difference and improve your health merely by educating yourself and incorporating new habits into your lifestyle. You may also find you start to think more clearly, your appearance may improve, and you could have a much more enjoyable life.
Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for over 30 years, specializing in Integrative Manual Therapy utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, Alhambra, CA. Call 626 576 0591 or visit yonemoto.com for more information.