When you hear the word “detox,” do you think of losing weight, or getting junk food out of your life?
That may be because detox diets are all the rage in January, when people want to get back in shape after indulging in too much food over the holiday season.
But the real meaning of detox is to get rid of waste. The human body was not designed to handle the ever-increasing toxic load of processed foods and environmental toxins
These toxins can create inflammation, and may be causing or adding to your joint pain. Read on to discover how detoxing can offer relief and improve your health.
What’s causing your inflammation?
Dr. Mark Hyman, American physician, New York Times bestselling author, founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center, and a columnist for The Huffington Post says, “The role of toxins and detoxification in health has been largely ignored by medicine. Thankfully, scientists and practitioners are starting to recognize its importance in health.
Many of you probably have symptoms of chronic toxicity that you don’t label as being toxic: from fatigue, to postnasal drip, to joint pain. Detoxifying might be critical for you to get healthy and feel good again.”
Toxins and immune response
We are all genetically and biochemically unique. Some people are better at getting rid of toxins and waste than others.
When your body can’t handle toxins, such as from certain foods you eat or chemicals in the environment, your immune system triggers a switch that can cause your body to start attacking itself, leading to symptoms of autoimmune disease.
With autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, the body mistakes its own cells for foreign intruders, and inappropriately attacks them.
Pain, swelling and inflammation are you body’s way of telling you that you have sensitivity to something. For example, if you get an upset stomach or headache every time you eat a certain food or are exposed to something in your environment, you may want to remove that food or toxin and see if it alleviates your symptoms.
Recognizing your weak spots
Dr. Jeffrey A. Morrison, award-winning physician and nutritionist, and author of “Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind” says that inflammation develops in what he calls your “weak spot”.
Just as we each have certain strengths and weaknesses in our characters, we each have a unique physical makeup, and we experience immune responses in different areas of our bodies. One person may suffer from skin rashes, while another suffers from headaches. A wide variety of responses are linked to inflammation: from hay fever, to digestive issues, to frequent sore throats.
If your weak spot is your joints, early signs of inflammation and autoimmune issues might include pain or aches in muscles or joints, stiffness or limitation of movement.
Dr. Morrison says: “Even osteoarthritis, considered a degenerative joint condition in which joints become worn over time, is believed to have a relationship to inflammation.
Not everybody gets osteoarthritis as they get older, but people who have inflammation in their bodies are more susceptible to prematurely develop worn-down joints.”
Food as an immune trigger
A group of vegetables called “nightshades” are known to cause inflammation in the joints and muscles in susceptible individuals. These foods, such as tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplants and peppers, contain saponins, which are chemicals the plant produces to help protect itself from microbial and insect attack.
Try eliminating them from your diet for 30 days to see if your joint pain decreases. Then reintroduce them and observe your symptoms. If your pain increases, you’ll know that you should keep them out of your diet. Click here for a list of nightshade vegetables.
Environmental toxins as triggers
We live in a toxic environment. Heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium occur naturally in our environment. But industrial processes, mining and burning fossil fuels have released unprecedented amounts of these metals into our air, water, soil and food.
In addition, there are petrochemicals, pesticides, and fertilizer residues in our food, water, air, and in many of the personal products we use, from deodorants to hand lotion.
A recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), found that “65 percent of thousands of produce samples analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture test positive for pesticide residues. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php
Any of these toxins, or any combination of them, can provoke an immune response.
How much toxicity is too much?
To understand how toxicity works in your body, we can compare it to pouring too much water into a glass. Once you fill the glass, any more water you add will make it overflow.
In the same way, you can take a certain amount of stressors to your system, from chemicals in your environment to foods that you may be sensitive to.
It may take years of accumulated stress and toxins to get to that point, but once your system is overloaded, you start getting symptoms such as joint pain. If you don’t pay attention to the early warning signs and remove the toxins, you may develop chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Here are 8 ways to detoxify for joint pain relief:
1. Eat organic foods to eliminate the toxins in your food.
2. Eat 8-10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. They help you eliminate toxins from your body. Most important are the family of cruciferous vegetables which includes broccoli, collards, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts
3. Eat foods from the garlic family every day, such as garlic and onions. They help increase sulfur in the body, which helps you detoxify.
4. Drink 8-10 glasses of filtered water a day.
5. Exercise five days a week to reduce stress (another toxin), focusing on conditioning your cardiovascular system, strength training, and stretching.
6. Sweat profusely at least three times a week, using a sauna, steam or detox bath.
7. Eliminate the white menaces of white flour and white sugar. As previously mentioned, also eliminate nightshade vegetables for 30 days, to see if they are causing your symptoms.
8. Take time to relax deeply every day, to calm your nervous system.