This week we are going to look at toxins. Most health experts advise us to exercise as this helps sweat out toxins, but no one ever seems to specify what a toxin is or what it does.
So what really are toxins? Toxins are the waste matters in our bodies which need to be eliminated.
How to avoid toxins in the diet
Do not over consume foods that have a tendency to concentrate pesticides, such as animal fat, meat, eggs, cheese, and milk.
Buy organic produce, which is grown without the aid of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers.
Develop a good relationship with your local grocery store produce manager. Explain your desire to reduce your exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, and waxes. Ask what measures the store takes to ensure that toxin residues are within approved limits. Ask the store where the store obtains its produce, make sure the store is aware that foreign produce is much more likely to contain excessive levels of pesticides as well as pesticides that have been banned.
Try to buy local produce in season.
Peeling off the skin or removing the outer layer of leaves of some produce may be all you need to do reduce pesticides levels. The down side is that many of the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables are concentrated in the skin and outer layers.
An alternative measure is to remove surface pesticide residues, waxes, fungicides, and fertilizers by soaking the item in a mild solution of additive free soap such as Ivory or pure castile soap. All-natural, biodegradable vegetable cleansers are also available at most health food stores. To use, spray the food with the cleanser, gently scrub, and rinse.
Eat smaller, wild caught, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and avoid eating larger species and farmed fish with the exception of tilapia. Best choices are sardines, anchovies, small mackerel, salmon, and small tuna.
Eat to support blood sugar control
Concentrated sugars, refined grains, and other sources of simple carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. In response, the body boosts secretion of insulin by the pancreas. High sugar junk food diets definitely lead to poor blood sugar regulation, obesity, and ultimately type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The stress of the body that these diets cause can promote the growth of cancer as well.
As already discussed, the glycemic index (GI) of a food refers to how quickly blood sugar levels will rise after it is eaten. However, the glycemic load (GL) does not indicate how much carbohydrate is in a typical serving of a particular food, so another tool is needed. The GL is a way to assess the effect of carbohydrate consumption that takes the GI into account but gives a fuller picture of the effect that a food has on blood sugar levels.
A GL of 20 or more is high, GL of 11 to 19 inclusive is medium, and a GL of 10 or less is low. For example, beets have a high GI but a low GL.
Although the carbohydrate in beets has a high GL, the amount of carbohydrate is low, so a typical serving of cooked beets has a relatively GI (about 5). Thus as long as you eat a reasonable portion of a low-GL food, the impact on blood sugar is acceptable and the food will not cause blood sugar instability. For example, a diabetic person can enjoy some watermelon (GI 72) as long as he or she keeps the serving size reasonable, GL for 120g watermelon is only four.
In essence, foods that are mostly water (such as apples and watermelon], fiber [for example, beets and carrots), or air (such as popcorn) will not cause a steep rise in blood sugar even if their GIs are high as long as portion sizes are moderate. To help you design a healthful diet, we provide a list of the GI, fiber content, and GL of common foods in appendix B.
Do not over-consume animal foods
Considerable evidence indicates that a high intake of red or processed meat increases the risk of an early death. For example, in a cohort study of half a million people age 50 to 71 at the start of the study, men and women who ate the most red and processed meat and an elevated risk for overall mortality compared with those who ate the least.
Study after study seems to indicate that the higher the intake of meat and other animal products, the higher the risk of heart disease and cancer, especially cancers of the colony, breast, prostate, and lung cancer where as a diet focusing on plant foods has the opposite effect.
There are many reasons for this association. Meat lacks the antioxidants and phyto-chemicals that protects against cancer.
At the same time, it contains lots of saturated fat and other potentially carcinogenic compounds, including pesticides residues, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the last two of which form when meat is cooked at high temperatures (grilled, fried, or boiled). The more well-done the meat, the higher level of mines as well.
Some proponents of a diet high in meats claim that people should eat the way their “caveman” ancestors did. That argument does not really hold up. As already discussed the meat of wild animals that early humans consumed had a fat content of less than four percent.
The demand for tender meat has led to the breeding of cattle whose meat contains 25 to 30 percent or more fat. Corn fed domestic beef contains primarily saturated fats and virtually no beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. Whereas the fat of wild animals contains more than five times the poly unsaturated fat per gramme and has substantial amounts (about four to eight percent) of omega 3 fatty acids.
Particularly harmful to human health are cured or smoked meats, such as ham, hot dogs, bacon, and jerky that contain sodium nitrate-compounds that keep the food from spoiling but dramatically raise the risk of cancer. These chemicals react with amino acids in foods in the stomach to form highly carcinogenic compounds known as nitrosamines. Research in adults makes a convincing argument for avoiding these foods. Even more compelling is the evidence linking consumption of nitrates to a significantly increased risk of the major childhood cancers (leukemias, lymphomas and brain cancers).
Trust Marandure is a Naturopathy Practitioner based in Bulawayo. He can be contacted on Cell: 0772482382 or Email: [email protected]