Natural Body Cleansing: What are the Benefits and Where to Begin?

womanandlakeEach day we are confronted by harmful toxins in the air we breathe, the food and water we consume, and even in the products we use every day to make our lives more convenient. Over time, those toxins can build up in the body and impact our overall health. For this reason, many health experts recommend regular internal cleansing to help the body more efficiently eliminate toxins and waste.‡

While there are plenty of herbal cleansing formulas to choose from, beginners may benefit from a total-body formula designed for first-time cleansers.‡ Such a program will typically last about two weeks and include gentler whole herbs to provide natural support for each of the body’s elimination organs—including the kidneys, liver, lymphatic system, and bowel (or colon).‡ After that, you may wish to move on to a more advanced cleanse. These can last up to a month and will often contain deep-cleansing herbal extracts to support detoxification and help restore digestive regularity.‡

Helpful Tips to Remember
During any type of cleanse, remember that your goal is to support your detoxification processes while helping your body maintain a healthy balance of nutrients.‡ Your daily diet should provide support for your organs of elimination as well as overall nourishment for your body, which is why choosing the right foods while cleansing is also important. Below are some quick tips to help you get started:

  • Eat plenty of “living foods” such as raw, organic fruits and veggies (veggies may also be lightly steamed) in addition to fermented foods that contain beneficial probiotic cultures such as yogurt, kefir, miso and/or tempeh.
  • Choose lean protein sources such as organic, natural, or free-range chicken, turkey, beef, fish, tofu, and eggs.
  • Consume essential fatty acids such as the beneficial Omega-3 fats found in oily fish and certain nuts and seeds.
  • Opt for well-cooked grains from sources such as millet, buckwheat, khorasan wheat, amaranth, quinoa, spelt, teff, rye, basmati rice, wild rice, and brown rice—all of which provide an excellent source of fiber while cleansing.
  • Drink plenty of purified water to help to flush unwanted toxins and waste from the body. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified water every day.
  • Try to limit your consumption of sugar (both table sugar and hidden refined sugars) and starchy carbohydrates, which may feed unhealthy microbes in the gut.

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New Research Links Air Pollution to Anxiety, Increased Stroke Risk

smoke-stacksTwo new reports featured in The British Medical Journal point to air pollution as a potential threat to both mental and cardiovascular health. Specifically, higher exposure to fine particulate matter (from industrial sources such as automobile exhaust and power plant emissions) as well as gaseous emissions was linked to increased anxiety and stroke risk.

One report focused on data collected as part of a long-term study of more than 70,000 female nurses in the United States. From the information gathered, researchers were able to determine that the women who lived closer to major roads—and therefore higher levels of pollution—were more likely to experience increased anxiety symptoms such as fearfulness, worrying, and withdrawal. Additionally, symptoms were found to be strongest when exposure was more recent.

So, why the increased risk? Experts believe part of the reason may be because air pollution triggers an inflammation response in the body, which in turn causes the release of certain chemicals linked to psychological distress as well as changes in mood and behavior.

A second report focused on more than 100 different studies conducted worldwide. The goal was to determine whether or not a relationship exists between short-term air pollution and a higher number of stroke-related hospitalizations and fatalities. Indeed, populations exposed to higher levels of both fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants (including carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide) saw a significant rise in stroke rates—which rose exponentially as exposure levels increased.

The takeaway, say researchers involved in analyzing the data, is that we need to take steps to reduce exposure to air pollution and improve overall air quality, especially in highly populated areas where pollutants pose a serious risk to human health.

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