How can you reduce your intake of toxins?

You may have heard tips on how to detox to body before. First, however, we need to stop adding more toxins so that gradually the body will start cleansing itself.

A toxin is defined as any compound that has a detrimental effect on cell function or structure. Toxins can damage the body in a gradual and cumulative way. Once the body’s detoxification system becomes overloaded, toxic metabolites accumulate and we become progressively more sensitive to other chemicals, some of which are not normally toxic.

If the toxic load on the body is reduced, and proper nutritional support is provided, in most cases the symptoms will disappear and we can ensure better long-term health and avoid the progression of minor problems to more serious conditions.

A sensible approach to aiding the body’s detoxification involves:

• Decreasing exposure to toxins;

• Eating a diet that focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and avoiding saturated fats, refined sugar, and alcohol;

• Adopting a healthful lifestyle, including regular exercise;

• Taking a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement;

• Using special nutritional and herbal supplements to protect the liver and enhance liver function;

• And ideally also going on a three-t0-seven-day nutritional cleansing at the change of each season.

In the U.S. alone, more than 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on or added to food crops each year. There is a growing concern that in addition to the significant number of cancers caused by the pesticides directly, exposure to these chemicals also damages the body’s detoxification mechanisms, thereby raising the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Unfortunately, not only pesticides are now in our food supply, the US Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of the levels of herbicides, toxic metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury), and even radionuclides in the foods that we eat, and all these toxins increase our risk of almost every disease.

We urgently need to reduce our exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, and food additives.

To avoid toxins in the diet, I would recommend to avoid consuming foods that have a tendency to concentrate pesticides, such as animal fat, conventional (i.e. not organic and grass-fed) meat, eggs, cheese, and milk. We should buy organic produce, grown without the aid of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Fortunately, these are now widely available. And we should try to buy local produce in season.

When buying other fresh produce we should check where it is actually coming from, as foreign produce is more likely to contain excessive levels of pesticides as well as pesticides that have been banned in the U.S. It’s also advisable to peel off the skin or remove the outer layer of leaves of some produce to reduce pesticide levels.

We should eat smaller, wild-caught fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and avoid eating larger species and farmed fish, with the exception of tilapia. The best choices are sardines, anchovies, small mackerel, salmon, and small tuna.

Tobacco and alcohol should be avoided — tobacco smoke alone contains more than 4,000 chemicals, of which more than 50 have been identified as cancer causing.

And finally, we should eat a rainbow diet (with all colors of fruits and vegetables), drink enough water, and get plenty of fresh air and physical activity, as these will also all help reduce toxins.


Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at, or (808) 276-6892


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