Toxins pop up everywhere—from our plates to the air—and everyday exposure can have long-term effects on our health, potentially leading to oxidative damage and certain cancers. How can you live cleaner? Here, three experts share tips on purifying the air in our homes, eating detoxifying foods, and taking safe, toxin-free supplements to be healthier for the long haul.
- Air out dry cleaning. Many dry cleaners use toxic chemicals like perchloroethylene (perc), a potential carcinogen that enters the body through the lungs and skin; other long-term health effects may include kidney and liver damage. To reduce risk, remove the plastic wrap and air out your dry cleaning on your porch or in your garage. Look for “green” cleaners who use less toxic chemicals. Also, wear dry-cleaned clothing as many times as you can before dry cleaning them again.
- Ditch toxic cleaners. Toss cleaning products containing harmful ingredients like bleach, ammonia, artificial fragrances, formaldehyde, and triclosan. Your body can manage the everyday germs in your home, so germophobia isn’t necessary. Toxic products don’t just kill germs, they also kill your cells. Use plant-based cleaning products and open windows while cleaning.
- Eliminate plastic cookware. When you heat your food in a plastic container or even when plastics get worn and scratched, plasticizers like bisphenol-A (BPA)—a known endocrine disruptor—leak into your food, potentially causing health problems including cancer. When you take leftovers home in plastic or Styrofoam, immediately transfer them to glassware, especially when heating them up.
–Dave Wentz, CEO, Usana Health Sciences, Park City, Utah
Holistic health counselor
- Eat more organic dark leafy greens. Alkalinizing, cleansing, and full of chlorophyll, greens like kale and bok choy are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Dark leafy greens also support liver function, important because the liver breaks down fats and toxins. Buy organic to reduce pesticide exposure.
- Avoid artificial flavors and colors. Processed and packaged foods contain toxins, including artificial preservatives and colors, “natural” flavors, fillers, stabilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. These toxins have been linked to heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and learning disorders. Minimallyprocessed foods provide easy-to-absorb nutrients without artificial ingredients. The cleaner we eat, the more efficiently our bodies function.
- Buy organic milk. Conventional milk contains pesticides, antibiotics, and steroids, and most conventionally raised cows are corn-fed instead of grass-fed, which is dangerous because conventional corn is often genetically engineered and pesticide-ridden. Pesticides, antibiotics, and steroids are stored in the cow’s fat content, and then concentrated in milk, which can interfere with hormone function.
–Terry Walters, author of Clean Food (Sterling Epicure, 2009), Avon, Connecticut
- Look for a multimineral with iodine. Toxic and carcinogenic plasticizers (such as xenoestrogen), which come from plastics, herbicides, and pesticides, act like estrogen and build up in the body. Iodine helps to clear these buildups, which are associated with breast, ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers for women and prostate cancer for men. Find multiminerals with iodine at your natural foods market, but don’t take more than 1,100 mcg daily without first consulting with your doctor. Also, cook with Himalayan or river-based salts to get naturally occurring iodine.
- Take curcumin. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidative, curcumin is a spice that helps expel free radicals that damage the body through oxidation. Antioxidants like curcumin eliminate these toxins by quenching or neutralizing them, and then removing them from the body. Take 200–300 mg of a known and researched curcumin supplement daily. Also look for formulations with antioxidants resveratrol and green tea polyphenols.
- Choose quality supplements, particularly fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation associated with toxic buildup in the body. Ask your natural products retailer about quality and doses; higher quantities don’t necessarily make for a better product. Always check the expiration date, and keep refrigerated to prevent rancidity. If it tastes or smells bad, don’t take it.
–Decker Weiss, ND, Weiss Natural Medicine, Scottsdale, Arizona