We all know that our immune system is our body’s defence system, it is our friend and our personal bodyguard that not only protects us against bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites but also against day to day toxins. Unfortunately, our world is full of toxins that can over tax our immune system and increase the risk of infections, illness, allergies, inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
Our immune system may get compromised due to a variety of reasons such as a poor diet and lifestyle choices, lack of sleep, stress and environmental toxins. In fact, toxins are one of the major factors that may disrupt and weaken our immunity!
Clear signs of toxicity – skin rashes, acne, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, chronic fatigue, headaches, hormonal imbalances, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, weight issues, neurologic disorders! You could say that toxins can affect any part of the body. Toxins actually attack the weakest link in your body!
Toxins that may upset your immune system are all around us. They are hiding in non-organic food as pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and antibiotics. They are in the air we breathe. They are hiding in our homes as mold. They are in our tap water, plastic packaging, dental fillings, conventional body, beauty, cleaning, and other household products, and even in our clothing. This is scary! Isn’t it?
Have you heard of The Bucket Theory?
My Holistic Nutrition students have heard me talking about “The Bucket Theory”. This clearly explains why some people fall sick easily while others do not! Think of your body as a bucket. We are filling up this bucket with toxins from all routes as mentioned above. When the toxic level hits a critical threshold, the immune system becomes dysfunctional and either over responds as in allergies and produces too much inflammation in the body leading to discomfort or it could become hypo-active and is unable to fight pathogens and therefore lead to symptoms of illness as well as allow our cells and tissues to get damaged!
While it is impossible to avoid exposure to these toxins altogether, it is critical to minimize your exposure and open up your drainage pathways to eliminate these chemicals from your body. We call these drainage pathways as the Channels of Elimination!
How to Detox on a daily basis?
When dealing with toxic exposure and a high toxic load, the first step is to do our best to avoid the source. Once we have done that, we want to focus on opening up our detoxification and elimination pathways. Our primary drainage pathways are from our lungs, skin, kidneys, and colon. We literally need to enhance our respiration, perspiration, urination, and defecation systems to eliminate these toxins from our bodies.
Detoxification can sound scary, but once you start reading my recommendations on how to detox and support your immunity, you will realize that it is actually a simple and straight-forward process.
Here is what I recommend to detox and support your immunity on a daily basis:
Clean your Diet: To support detoxification and build good immunity, I recommend following an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan.
For this you need to first, eliminate all inflammatory foods and drinks, including refined sugar, processed foods, refined oils, deep-fried food, junk food, soda and sugary drinks, artificial ingredients and low-fat products or diet products.
Follow an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan rich in greens leafy vegetables, seasonal vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, herbs, spices, healthy fats, and clean animal protein. Include good amounts of lime, lemon, ginger, garlic, cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli as all these help our liver in actively detoxifying our body!
To avoid exposure to pesticides, hormones, and chemicals, eat organic food as much as possible.
Intermittent Fasting offers tremendous benefits as it can lower inflammation, support cellular repair and immune function. Intermittent fasting is a form of fasting that cycles between a period of not eating (fasting) and a period of eating (feasting).
Beginners should start with the Simple Fast, which involves 12 hours of fasting including your overnight sleep. For example, you may stop eating after dinner at 7 pm and you can eat again at 7 am the next day. Slowly, you can increase your fasting window and easily go through 16 hours of fasting with an 8-hour eating period.
Fasting helps reduce inflammation, improve your microbiome and also regenerates your immune system. Your energy is diverted away from digesting food towards cleaning up accumulated toxins in your body!
Water is extremely important for detoxification as it helps remove toxins through sweat and urine. I recommend starting your day with a glass of warm water with juice of half a lemon or lime and drinking room temperature water throughout the day, every hour or so, at least 8-10 glasses a day in total.
You could also drink herbal tea, green juices, green smoothies and eat hydrating vegetables and fruits. At the same time focus on removing any dehydrating sodas, sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol.
Make sure that you drink clean water by investing in a good water filtration and purification system, and using glass or stainless-steel bottles instead of plastic. (Avoid bottled water or unfiltered tap water.)
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps to pull out toxins from your body by squishing oil in your mouth. This practice is great not only for dental and oral hygiene but also good for reducing pain and discomfort, as it pulls toxins out of the body. Start your day by swishing a tablespoon of coconut or extra-virgin olive oil in your mouth for 5-10 minutes, then brush your teeth thoroughly.
Regular elimination is critical for detoxification. Make sure to drink plenty of water, eat fiber-rich nutrient-dense foods, consume prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods, and exercise regularly. Having a good satisfying bowel movement every morning before breakfast may be one of the most important elements in your overall health journey. Make this your #1 priority!
Regular exercise and movement is essential for your overall health and also supports detoxification through sweating. I recommend exercising at least 3–5 times a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Stay active throughout the day by going for a walk before lunch and dinner, taking a bike ride, walking or biking for short distances instead of driving, playing with your kids, playing backyard games, gardening, dancing to your favorite song, using a standing desk, getting up from your chair and stretching regularly, and opting for the stairs instead of the elevator.
Being active helps with circulation, stimulates lymphatic drainage which in turn helps with detoxification of the body, enhances oxygenation of cells and tissues, improves mood and enhances mental clarity!
Dry Brushing: Have you heard of Dry brushing? Dry brushing supports your lymphatic system and helps to remove dry, old skin and toxins on the surface of your skin. It is best to practice dry brushing daily before your shower or bath. Use a soft, natural brush and brush your body in circular motions towards your heart.
Epsom salt baths: You could also enjoy Epsom salt baths occasionally. This helps pull out toxins from your body and allow magnesium and sulfate to enter to support your health. Add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath and soak for 20 minutes.
Air filtration System: As most of us spend time indoors, it is essential to do some research on a good air filtration system especially if you or someone in your household is facing chronic health issues and you have tried all of the above, it is time to check the quality of air in our home or workplace. This could be a game changer especially for people with chronic asthma or allergies! Remember, mycotoxins and allergens can hide anywhere and release their spores and toxins in the air. A good air filtration system is critical for filtering out microscopic toxins from your air at home.
Connect with nature: Vitamin D is essential for your immune health. Make sure to spend 15 to 30 minutes in the sun daily. Avoid the midday sun to protect yourself from damaging UV rays. Even if you live in a colder climate make sure to spend at least a short time outside daily in the sun. Walking or standing barefoot on grass, dirt, sand, or on the ground outdoors helps you to receive benefits from the electromagnetic energies of the Earth. Deep breathing exercises (Pranayama) are also a great way of detoxification!
Fortunately, you can support a weakened immunity naturally. Take one step at a time and start incorporating whatever you can from the above tips to detox and support your immune system and you will see results very soon.
If you would like help in this area please do CONNECT with us for a personalized diet and lifestyle plan!
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M.Sc., R.H.N., Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant
The content provided in my blogs are for knowledge sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.