There is no doubt that we are all exposed to hundreds of environmental pollutants on a day to day basis and that they are on the increase. There are too many to list all of them but here are some of the main ones.
According to Scientific American, the top worst environmental pollutants are: artisanal gold mining (which releases mercury vapours into the air); contaminated surface water; contaminated groundwater; indoor air pollution (off-gassing from plastics and chemicals used in building); metals smelting and processing; industrial mining; radioactive waste and uranium mining; untreated sewage (mostly in third world countries); urban air quality (from smoke, cars, industry etc.) and used lead–acid battery recycling (considered to be one of the worst pollutants).
It is not just the workers who are affected from mining pollutants and other industrial toxins, but women and children who are more susceptible to these environmental pollutants that are released into the air, land and water and spread far and wide. Lead from lead-acid battery recycling increases lead levels in children, 10 times higher than is considered safe by the WHO.
Mercury from artisanal gold mining can end up in the oceans and is found in larger varieties of fish like tuna, swordfish, marlin and shark and then we have mercury used in fillings for our teeth. Toxic substances like arsenic, mercury, lead and even pharmaceuticals are floating in our water supply, hiding in our household appliances and cleaners… all the way down to your shampoo and toothpaste. Vaccinations also contain many pollutants like mercury and formaldehyde.
Airborne Chemicals and Pollutants
Worse yet, airborne chemicals and pollutants are at an all time high without even mentioning the much-disputed chemtrails. Carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, deadly mould spores, and even VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are lurking in our homes in the form of paints, furnishings, blinds etc as well as in our workplaces.
These chemicals affect and slow down our lymph, liver, kidney and digestive systems which then, in turn lowers our immune systems making us more prone to all types of illnesses including cancer.
So, what are we to do? Avoiding all of the above seems daunting to say the least. Fortunately for us, many plants and foods contain natural substances that can help us detoxify these nasty pollutants. Naturopaths have always told their clients to heal the gut to improve their overall health. In the case of detoxification, it is wise to first cleanse the lymphatic system and colon and then move onto the gut, liver and kidneys. It is important to do a cleansing programme at least once a year but in the meantime we can include many natural and organic foods, herbs and supplements that will take the toxic load off our bodies.
Here are some suggestions to help with this, make sure that anything you use is organic:
- Astragalus or Shatavari – used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is one of the main immune supporting botanicals that supports the gut and scavenges free radicals from the body.
- Holy or Tulsi Basil – is a member of the mint family and has been used in India for over 3,000 years. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. This is easy to grow in your garden and to use as a tea.
- Orange and Lemon Peel – improve appetite and increase secretion of natural digestive juices and help to reduce free radicals.
- Parsley – helps your body flush out excess fluid and supports the lymph system. It contains vitamins C, B12, K and A and folic acid, as well as encouraging good digestion.
- Psyllium husks and slippery elm powder – both provide fibre to aid digestion and flush out toxins. I recommend a teaspoon of each in a glass of warm water or chamomile tea on rising. The chamomile helps with gut healing.
- Cardamom – inhibits the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungi and mould and like ginger is important for digestive health.
- Fennel – calms the digestive tract and helps relieve gas and cramps.
- Green tea contains polyphenols that are powerful antioxidants which protect our cells from damage from free radicals.
- Burdock Root – a wonderful herb for detoxing liver, kidney and gallbladder.
Some Specific Liver and Kidney Cleansers are:
- St. Mary’s Thistle – a powerful detoxifier for the liver which can help to rebuild liver cells and remove toxins from the body.
- Ginger – great for the digestion and nausea and also contains a substance called gingerol which is a strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Dandelion – a wonderful herb for supporting liver and kidneys. It is also a natural diuretic and helps to improve digestion. Include dandelion tea in your daily regime.
- Broccoli Seed – available in sprouts or supplements, is a great detoxifier. Research has shown that the phytochemical in the sprouts are 20 times higher than in the adult plant, boost our immune systems, and contain detoxifying enzymes and antioxidants.
- Globe Artichoke – one of my favourite herbs for liver and gall bladder detoxification and support.
- Coriander – well known for being able to rid the body of harmful chemicals like mercury, aluminium and cadmium. Grow it in your garden and add it to salads with parsley.
- Ashwaganda or Withania – is an adaptogen and helps the body cope with stress while detoxifying. It reduces cortisol, balances hormones and helps you sleep. You can mix a teaspoon of the powder in a glass of warm soy or almond milk before bed. Add turmeric for an anti-inflammatory effect with a little honey.
- Probiotics and fermented foods – good bacteria, either in the form of a probiotic capsule, or naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, add beneficial bacteria to our gut to improve digestive function and increase the immune system.
In our modern world we are surrounded more and more by toxic environmental pollutants. However, we can take control of our lives and choose to eat a healthier organic diet, say no to excess packaging, plastics and vaccinations, become more aware of pollutants in our environment and regularly take steps to cleanse our bodies. We can also take a stand against more and more mining corporations taking over our country and stop supporting big business and big pharma. Buying local is another way to stop corporations polluting our planet. In this way, we will have stronger immune systems to fight off illness and keep us healthy to a good age as well as helping to protect our environment for future generations.
Suzanne Staples ND DBM
Naturopath, Herbalist, Homeopath
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