We live in a toxic world. We inhale, ingest, and absorb toxins every day.
Toxin: a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation. (1)
They’re in our air. You can find them in car exhaust fumes.
Toxins are also in our water. You may find them in your drinking water. Check with your state agencies or local municipality. They’ll tell you how they treat drinking water and if they add any chemicals to it. Fluoride is voluntarily added to some drinking water systems. Supposedly, drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities. (2) However, there are conflicting views. (3)
Toxins are also in our food. The fruits and vegetables that you eat may be pesticide-ridden. Also, processed foods may contain toxic chemicals. (4)
Toxins are also in our cosmetics and personal care products. Your skincare products may have carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredients. And your body absorbs many of those toxic ingredients. Did you know that cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives? (5) Yep, the cosmetic industry is pretty much unregulated.
Toxins are pretty much everywhere. An overload of toxins in the body may lead to storage of them in the body, which may lead to a diseased body.
Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to live a toxin-free life. However, under the right conditions, your body has the ability to heal itself. It can identify toxins and other things that don’t belong in the body. And it eliminates those things via the liver, skin, lungs, kidneys, colon, and lymphatic system.
Your body’s capacity to heal and stay healthy depends on you and your actions. This includes, but isn’t limited to, minimizing your exposure to toxins. So let’s discuss some ways you can minimize your exposure to toxins that we commonly inhale, ingest, and absorb.
Toxins In The Air
Breathing clean, unpolluted air – indoor and outdoor – is essential for good health.
Minimizing your exposure to outdoor air toxins can be hard because they are typically dispersed over a large, uncontrolled area. But, you can attempt to minimize your exposure to them by reducing your personal contributions to air pollution. For instance, you can walk or ride a bike instead of driving your car.
One would think you could minimize your exposure to outdoor air toxins by just staying indoors, but our indoor environment is typically two to five times more toxic than our outdoor environment. (8) However, you do have more control over minimizing your exposure to indoor air toxins. You can do the following:
- Open your windows and/or doors to replace stagnant air.
- Use indoor plants, salt lamps, and essential oil diffusers to help clean and refresh the air.
- Ventilate the area when working with toxic chemicals, such as paint or conventional cleaning products. And wear gloves too.
- Use household cleaning products that contain non-toxic, natural ingredients. A mix of vinegar, water, and lemon juice makes an effective all-purpose cleaner. Also, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a good list of non-toxic cleaning products. (9)
Toxins In Water
Drinking clean, pure water is also essential for good health. Water hydrates us and helps our bodies digest and metabolize food. It also transports nutrients and waste, and eliminates toxins. But toxins may inhibit all of these processes, so here are 3 ways to minimize your exposure to them:
- Avoid drinking water in plastic bottles. Use glass water bottles.
- Drink and cook with the most pure (filtered) water available. Keep in mind that tap water may contain toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury. So if you purchase a water filter, make sure it is effective at filtering out those harmful chemicals.
- Shower or bathe in the most pure (filtered) water available. You can always use a shower head filter if your tap water is questionable.
Toxins In Food
Eating non-toxic, whole foods is also essential for good health. Food that is naturally high in nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber are best. I prefer plant-based whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds are best for me. Your body needs these things to function, repair, and heal.
Food contaminated with harmful additives and pesticides is toxic. Eating toxic food is like throwing trash into your body. So here are 8 ways to minimize your exposure to food toxins:
- Don’t store food in plastic containers. Glass containers are great.
- Don’t heat any food or beverages in plastic containers. When heated, plastics release toxins. Yes, that means you shouldn’t follow the “cook in the bag” instructions.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking.
- Avoid processed foods and beverages.
- Buy organic food whenever possible.
- Stay updated on EWGs Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. They are lists of fruits and vegetables that have the lowest and highest levels of pesticides. (10)
- Pay attention to food labels. If you see an ingredient that’s hard to pronounce, think twice before eating it.
- Make sure your body gets all the nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, etc. that it needs to stay strong and fight toxins.
Toxins In Personal Care Products and Cosmetics
Your skin is good at being a protective barrier, but it is not impenetrable. Your skin absorbs toxins found in many cosmetics and personal care products. Yes, the toxins in lipsticks, perfumes, and lotions, among others, are able to pass through the skin and into your bloodstream. So, what you put on your body may matter just as much as what you put in your body.
Here are 3 ways to minimize your exposure to these toxins:
- Use products with organic, natural ingredients. No artificial fragrances! You can make your own products using natural oils, clays, essential oils, and other things. Also, the EWG has some great recommendations. (11)
- Pay attention to the labels. If you see an ingredient that’s hard to pronounce, think twice before using it.
- Use products that are rich in things that benefit your body.
So now you know a few ways to minimize your exposure to toxins. You only get one body, so take care of it!
(12) Detox for Life: How to Minimize Toxins and Maximize Your Body’s Ability to Heal