Environmental Stress Factors on Your Health

We live in an ever increasing toxic world. Toxic substances are everywhere, in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Compounding this increased exposure to toxic substances is a dramatic increase in electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones, power lines and a depleted ozone layer. Your ability to deal with this barrage of environmental stress is a major determinant of your health, energy levels and immune function.

Toxins damage the body in an insidious and cumulative way. An inability to deal with substances like lead, mercury, pesticide residues, solvents and other toxic substances allows these compounds to accumulate and wreak havoc on our normal metabolic processes. An inability to concentrate, chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, depression and an increased susceptibility to colds and flus are just some of the symptoms that can appear when the body's detoxification system is overwhelmed.

Dealing With a Toxic World
The most effective therapy for promoting effective detoxification is a healthy dose of

common sense: avoid putting poisons in your body in the first place. Don't smoke; drink little or no alcohol; drink plenty of pure water; stay away as best as you can from harmful chemicals including solvents and pesticides; do your best to avoid breathing polluted air.

The most important dietary guidelines for helping your body deal with a toxic world are also those that support good general health: eat more organic fruits and vegetables; limit your intake of meat and animal foods; drink at least 48 ounces of water each day; consume plenty of high fiber foods. Some specific foods that helpful in promoting detoxification include:

• Good sources of water-soluble fibers such as vegetables, pears, oat bran, apples and legumes.

• Garlic, legumes, onions, eggs and other foods with a high sulfur content.

• Cabbage family vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

• Artichokes, beets, carrots, dandelion greens and herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and licorice.

Certain nutritional supplements are also important. A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is an absolute must. Your liver, brain and immune system, in particular, are highly dependent on a high level of vitamins and minerals to function properly. A healthy diet, plus a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement help insure that your body will have an adequate supply. A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is one that provides optimal levels of all essential vitamins and minerals. Such a product will not be a "one a day" product as it is physically impossible to get everything into just one pill. A high potency multiple will usually require two or three tablets to be taken twice daily.

Another key supplement is to take a greens drink--one of the commercially available products containing dehydrated barley grass, wheat grass or algae sources such as chlorella or spirulina. These green super foods are power packed full of cancer-fighting phytochemicals that work to protect the cells and promote detoxification. There is an old saying in natural medicine, "When you are green inside, you are clean inside." These dehydrated products are more convenient than trying to sprout and grow your own source of greens. An added advantage is that they tend to taste better than, straight wheat grass juice for example. Simply rehydrate by mixing with water or juice to form a green drink. Drink one to two servings daily.

Internal Cleansing Programs
For people who suffer from the effects of accumulated toxins, especially those with unexplained fatigue or muscle aches, I recommend more aggressive detoxification support. For centuries many people have used fasting--the act of abstaining from all food and drink (except water) for a specified period of time--as a means of cleaning out the body. However, nowadays it may be dangerous to go on a strict fast or even a juice fast without proper support. Since many toxins are fat-soluble and are stored in fat cells, if you abstain from food, your body will get its energy by burning its reserves of fat. But when the cells burn fat, they also release the toxic substances they've been storing. As toxin levels in the blood increase, so does the risk of serious damage to tissues, especially the brain and nerves. Thus, instead of eliminating toxins, fasting can sometimes simply move them from our fat cells into more active tissue like our liver and brain.

Another concern is that if you fast, you aren't getting the nutrients you need to keep the detoxification system running. Your liver needs a steady supply of proteins, vitamins and minerals to produce the substances that make detoxification happen. What's more in a typical fast you are not ingesting fiber. Fiber helps the body eliminate toxic substances excreted in the bile. Fiber is a biological trash hauler, grabbing toxic molecules excreted in the bile and helping to dump them out of the body.

For these and other reasons, instead of strict fast I recommend that people who need to detoxify (virtually all of us) utilize scientifically designed functional foods such as drink mixes packed full of hypoallergenic protein, vitamins, minerals and aids to detoxification including fiber and substances designed to boost glutathione--one of the body's key molecules of detoxification. A five-day detoxification program that features one of these advanced formulas involves taking three servings of the formula three times daily, along with eating a liberal diet of raw or lightly steamed vegetables and eight glasses of water per day.

For more information on detoxification and other important health topics, go to www.doctormurray.com

PHOTO (COLOR): Foods that are helpful in promoting detoxification.


By Michael T. Murray, N.D.

Michael T. Murray, N.D., is widely regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicine. He is a graduate, faculty member and serves on the board of trustees of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Murray is director of Product Development and Education for Natural Factors Nutritional Products.

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