“Death begins in the colon.” Different sources attribute this quote to The Royal Society of Medicine of Great Britain, Dr. Bernard Jensen and to Elie Metchnikoff, a Russian Nobel Prize-winning biologist.
No matter who said or penned it first, it seems sensible that the organ that houses the body’s waste and toxins for elimination is the same place where adverse health conditions would originate, and, consequently, health should flourish when proper care of this organ is given.
Most of us wash our hands many times a day to remove dirt, food residue and potential bacteria. We soap and scrub our bodies regularly to remove dead skin cells, sweat, bacteria and dirt. It only makes sense to clean the inside of our bodies periodically to help remove unprocessed food material, fiber, environmental pollutants and other debris, and to expel these same items that may be stashed in cells throughout the body. This can be achieved using herbs and nutrients that strengthen the body’s regular cleansing processes and help remove or neutralize toxins. Go here to see a list of Nature’s Sunshine’s cleanses and detox products.
Just as cleaning your body’s exterior has many benefits (fresher-looking skin, removing bacteria, improving your scent), cleansing and detoxifying the body on a consistent basis offers many health benefits. These include:
- Helps remove waste/debris and toxic chemicals (preservatives, artificial colors, pesticides, herbicides, etc.) from the colon and other body cells:
- Improves digestion (removal of putrid material associated with gas, body odor, etc.)
- Helps tune up the intestinal system, which has a tendency to get sluggish without proper fiber and water
- Typically increases energy levels and promotes a feeling of well-being
- May increase nutrient absorption
- May increase efficiency of body systems and functions
How Toxic is Your Little Corner of the World?
You don’t have to live in a concrete metropolis to be surrounded by pollutants. Consider these sources of toxic chemicals and fumes, and steer clear where you can.
- Household products, including cleansers, bleaches, ammonia cleaners, and “air fresheners” that contain powerful chemicals.
- Personal care products often contain unsafe compounds. These include some lotions, make-up, nail polish, shampoo, deodorant, mouthwash, hair spray, etc.
- Your lawn. Putting pesticides or herbicides on your lawn can make it healthier and nicer-looking. But the treatments that kill bugs and weeds can harm your cells too.
- Your work environment. This can include fumes from gasoline, diesel fuel, paint, thinners, industrial cleaners and such, along with seemingly harmless gases from new carpeting, furniture, etc.
- Xenoestrogens. These chemicals mimic estrogen in the body and can throw hormone levels out of balance. They are found in plastic packaging, Styrofoam, some cleaning products and lawn treatments, cosmetics, meat, etc.
To Maintain a Toxin-Free Body, Try to Avoid These:
- Artificial chemicals, including colorings, flavorings and preservatives
- Medicines such as hormones, acid blockers and antibiotics
- Polluted environments (air, water, strong chemicals and fumes, etc.)
Did You Know? During active weight loss is an ideal time to cleanse and detoxify. As your body burns up fat, it releases more stored toxins, which need to be removed before they get back into your bloodstream.
The Do’s and Dont’s of “Detox” Eating
Research shows that certain foods, nutrients and habits can greatly aid the body’s normal detoxification processes. Consider adding the following to your grocery/supplement list and start some new, clean-eating habits.
- Fresh vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, kale, onions, garlic, tomatoes, celery, cilantro, artichokes and olives
- Fresh fruits, including pomegranate, papaya, berries, grapes, watermelon and cherries
- Nuts and legumes
- Whole grains (plenty of fiber in general)
- Lean meats and eggs
- Herbs and spices, including dandelion, burdock, green tea, rosemary, grape seeds, turmeric, licorice root, fenugreek, slippery elm and kelp. Note: mucilaginous herbs may help carry toxins out of the body.
- Probiotics. When waste sits in the colon too long, levels of bad bacteria can escalate. Bacteria continue to work on waste matter, creating toxins that may leak through the colon wall and into the bloodstream. Probiotics (friendly bacteria) help rebalance ratios of good bacteria to bad in the colon. They also support digestion and the assimilation of some minerals.
- Other nutrients: aloe, antioxidants and B vitamins
- Plenty of water
Cleansing/detoxifying your body two to four times a year should spell excellent news for your intestinal system and promote good health, energy and focus. Show your colon some love, and it will love you right back.
Sources: Detoxification 101 by Dr. Hugo Rodier, Sunshine Horizons, Jan. 2008. The Textbook of Functional Medicine 2005, 2006, The Institute for Functional Medicine