We can choose a healthy lifestyle day to day yet still come into contact with toxins in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, our cleaning supplies, makeup products, lotions and facial cleansers, the mattress we sleep on, the clothes we wear, the carpets in our homes and even in some of the supplements we take.
These toxins can be very harmful if they continue to build up in your system. An overload of toxins in your body has been linked to weight gain, cancer, Alzheimer's, autism, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, allergies, candida and infertility. New York Times best-selling author Dr. Mark Hyman says, "If you are struggling to lose weight despite eating well and exercising ... toxins may be interfering with your body's metabolism." So it seems that detoxing your body could play a very important role in keeping your body healthy.
God designed your body to detox naturally by neutralizing, transforming and processing unwanted materials and toxins. Therefore, when we talk about detoxification, we are talking about improving and optimizing existing functions of our body's own detoxification system. We can do this by decreasing the toxins we put in our bodies while at the same time supporting their detoxification and elimination systems with the nutrients they need in order to function properly. In doing this, I believe we can optimize our health.
Listen to Your Body
Your body will probably tell you when something is off balance. A lot of times, people are so used to feeling sick that they don't realize their symptoms are actually a cry for help. Here are some signs that your body may need to detox:
1. Fatigue: In general, feeling tired isn't necessarily abnormal, especially with busy schedules and lack of sleep. However, if you struggle with extreme fatigue and feel that it takes every ounce of energy to just get out of bed, you may be due for a detox. This is normally not because your body is worn out from having to keep you awake and alive, but rather because it may be overworking from trying to eliminate toxins that are overloading your system.
When they reach this point of exhaustion, many people reach for more coffee and energy drinks, which only add to the problem. Toxins can cause your immune system to get worn down, which may lead to repetitive illness, which then can lead to more fatigue—an unfortunate cycle.
2. Weight fluctuation: If you are eating a clean, healthy diet as well as exercising, but you still can't seem to lose weight, then an overload of toxins could be the culprit. The main focus of a body saturated with toxins becomes the need to eliminate them, which means that weight loss will be last on its list of priorities.
3. Halitosis: Bad breath is often not a symptom of poor oral hygiene but rather of an imbalance in the digestive system. Some link halitosis to the liver, which is the main organ that eliminates toxins. Sometimes people will use gum to try to mask their bad breath, but most brands of chewing gum on the market are loaded with more toxins, like artificial sweeteners, which means that the attempt to mask the problem may make it worse.
4. Constipation: This is a condition that we all want to avoid. Not only does it make us uncomfortable and irritable, but it can also cause upset stomachs, headaches, muscle pains and fatigue. When an excess of toxins gets caught in the intestines, it then can cause your digestive tract to get clogged up. My advice is to eliminate all processed foods and to make sure you eat plenty of living foods. Drink good, clean water to help keep your digestive system regular.
5. Smell sensitivity: Many people actually experience a smell sensitivity when their bodies become overloaded with toxins. Our bodies communicate with us, and one of the ways they do so is by making us sensitive to chemical smells when they have had enough. If you have frequent headaches or nausea due to scents, your body may be trying to tell you something.
6. Muscle pain: Have you ever woken up sore but couldn't figure out why because you couldn't recall doing any strenuous activity? This could be because your body is beginning to store extra toxins in your muscles because it can't expel them.
7. Skin reactions: Acne, rashes, puffy eyes, eczema and psoriasis are all signs that you may have an excess of toxins in your body. Make sure you take inventory of your skin care and makeup products, many of which have chemicals and parabens that can get absorbed into your system through your skin.
Where Do I Go From Here?
If some of these symptoms relate to you, you may wonder what to do next. We all have major organs in our bodies that are designed to work together and help keep your body clean. These major organs include the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, lungs, large intestine (colon), liver, kidneys, heart, brain and skin. As we discussed, when these organs are overloaded with toxins, we can feel fatigued, sluggish and even ill.
The colon: Naturopathic doctors tell you to begin with the colon (or "gut") when you consider detoxing. Health care professionals call the gut "the second brain" since it plays such an important role in the overall body. It has also been said that 90 percent of disease starts in the colon. A sign of a healthy colon is having two or three bowel movements a day.
The liver: The liver is your second-largest organ. Its function is to help you with digestion by producing bile. The bile helps break down fats into smaller units, which makes them easier to metabolize. It also processes carbohydrates, lipids and proteins and aids in the detoxification of the blood. The liver stores nutrients, vitamins and minerals that assist in the production of vital proteins and keeps our immune system strong. I have learned to pay close attention to my liver by how I'm feeling. If I begin to feel sluggish and tired, I know it's time to give my liver some tender loving care. If we don't keep our livers healthy, they can cause a trickle-down effect on the rest of our organs. When you are keeping your liver healthy, you are keeping the rest of your body healthy as well.
The skin: Your skin is actually the largest organ and one of the most important ones you have. It is what keeps everything in place and held together. Thankfully, this is a simple organ to detox. Water is your skin's best friend because it helps to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. This means making sure your diet includes a lot of foods that are high in water content, such as cucumbers and melons. Sweating is also a key component to keeping your skin toxin free. It's your body's own way of detoxing and eliminating toxins that have built up. I highly recommend using an infrared sauna, which helps your skin by making you sweat and is said to remove heavy metals and radioactive particles as well as improve the oxygenation of blood.
I cannot stress enough my belief in the importance of keeping your body clean and detoxed. Whether you use foods or good supplements to detox, try to make detoxification a part of your life. When you work at keeping your organs clean, your body will be an efficient, well-working machine, and it will help your journey to health immensely.
Beni Johnson, along with her husband, Bill, is the senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Together they serve a growing number of churches that have partnered for revival. Beni oversees Bethel's intercessors and Prayer House.
A Resource on This Topic:
In Healthy and Free: A Journey to Wellness for Your Body, Soul, and Spirit (Destiny Image), Pastor Beni Johnson shares how anyone can start walking in holistic health—body, soul and spirit. Find this book on amazon.com, christianbook.com or anywhere Christian books are sold.