Guest article by Beate Caglar (Mindful nutrition)
What is the myth about detox?
Again and again one reads that the body does not need any help in detoxification. Rather, it is able to remove toxins and pollutants on its own and therefore there is nothing to detoxify. So is "detox" just a myth?
Before the beginning of the age of industrialisation, I would have agreed with this. People lived more or less in harmony with nature and for the pollutants they ingested at that time, the natural purification processes were predestined and sufficient. But unfortunately, we have now created a world for ourselves that overtaxes many people's detoxification and purification systems.
Pollutants or toxins are everywhere in our living space: air, environment, tap water, living space, clothing, cosmetics, cleaning products, etc. Problematic substances also find their way into our food again and again, often legally:
- Acrylamide, a substance suspected of causing cancer, is mainly found in baked goods
- Rice absorbs particularly high levels of arsenic, which is associated with increased genotoxic effects in humans
- Meat, fish, eggs and milk are responsible for 80% of the total intake of dioxins and PBCs, which are toxic and partly carcinogenic
- Uranium in drinking water
- Glyphosate, the world's best-selling weedkiller, which kills every plant unless it is genetically modified. Glyphosate has been classified as a probable carcinogen by the WHO. I therefore use organic products (Demeter, Bioland or Naturland) whenever possible.
Many of these problematic substances can be eliminated by the body itself, but not all. The human organism has difficulties in eliminating so-called neurotoxins [e.g. heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminium; biotoxins (toxins from fungi, bacteria and viruses); man-made environmental toxins such as dioxins, formaldehyde, insecticides, wood preservatives; preservatives, stimulant toxins such as aspartame (sweetener), food colourings, fluorides, methyl and propyl parabens].
According to the results of the "Environmental Poisons Report 2015" by the Swiss environmental organisation Green Cross, almost 100 million people worldwide are exposed to dangerous environmental toxins that can seriously damage their health. One factor in particular is the increasing exposure to the six most dangerous pollutants (lead, mercury, chromium, radionuclides, pesticides and cadmium).
Is tuna and other predatory fish a regular part of your diet? Then it could well be that your body has also stored mercury.
Besides eating contaminated food, what we put on our skin also becomes part of us. Because the skin is not an impermeable barrier, substances are absorbed and so the substances contained in cosmetics can enter our body. Otherwise, no créme would work.
Last but not least, of course, there is also what we may ingest ourselves: Nicotine, alcohol and other drugs, sleeping pills and painkillers.
After all this, it should be clear that our detoxification system probably needs help. Why is this being questioned again and again? Is it that one is writing off the other or is it because surprisingly few people feel the negative consequences? Of course, organisms also adapt and our cleansing system (especially the liver and kidneys) works under high pressure for a long time. But if the metaphorical barrel is brought to overflowing, the cleansing systems are overtaxed or, in the worst case, come to a standstill, then remaining pollutants and toxins are stored and cell damage, chronic diseases and even cancer can result.
And now what?
Carrying out an actual detoxification cure (e.g. targeting heavy metals) yourself can be counterproductive and dangerous and should therefore only take place under expert supervision and guidance. Coriander, for example, mobilises more toxins than it can remove from the body, and can thus flood the connective tissue with metals that were previously hidden in a "safe" place (re-poisoning).
Before undergoing a real detoxification cure, there are simple ways that everyone can use at home for themselves first.
- Avoidance strategy
Everything that I don't put my body through, it doesn't have to go through the trouble of detoxifying. This means that the first goal is to stop the intake of new toxins. We can influence this in many areas, but not in others. The biggest contact point for most of us is food, water, air, cosmetics and cleaning agents and our living space.
- Valuable foods
Anything I do good for my body, it can enjoy. In addition to plenty of exercise, sufficient sleep, sweating in the sauna or during sports and stress reduction, these are good foods (not foods) that, among other things, provide a sufficient supply of minerals and vital substances, good fatty acids (e.g. from avocados, walnuts, linseed), protein (e.g. from legumes), fluids (good, still, ideally structured water) and secondary plant substances (with a high antioxidant effect). This supports the body's own cleansing processes.
Sprouts, rejuvelac and germinated pulses
With sprouts, it is very easy to get valuable minerals and secondary plant substances into your home, at any time of the year. Example: Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables. What the adult plant has in vital substances, its sprouts even have in potentised form. Plant seeds contain a complex nutrient tissue that is activated during the germination process to supply the plant until it can obtain its energy through photosynthesis. This means that during germination a nutrient package is created from the seed and the nutrient density (concentration of bioactives, protein, fat, carbohydrates and fibre) will never be as high again. Humans can benefit mightily from this. Sulforaphane, a powerful indirect antioxidant found mainly in broccoli, activates the body's own detoxification enzymes in the liver, which can neutralise carcinogenic free radicals.
In order for the great nutrients to be absorbed through the gut before they reach the cells, we need a healthy gut, or more precisely: 100 trillion good bacilli in our gut microbiome. One of the simplest recipes for gut health is Rejuvelac. A fermented drink (very easy to make) made from germinated grains that is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K, amino acids and enzymes. Fermentation also produces valuable lactic acid bacteria, which makes Rejuvelac a probiotic food. These support the development and maintenance of a healthy intestinal microbiome and thus strengthen our immune system. Because, to put it simply, 80% of our immune system is located in the gut. And a healthy gut microbiome even keeps our brain fit. Add 150 - 200ml of Rejuvelac to your smoothie every morning and you're done.
Pulses are often underestimated. Yet they are an excellent source of protein, fibre and B vitamins. They are also one of the best vegetable sources of iron. Allowing the pulses to germinate beforehand has the same effect as with broccoli and other seeds. In addition, germination makes the pulses very digestible.
Whether plant seeds, grains or pulses, they can all germinate with the wonderful and extremely practical germination jar from Keimgrün .
So, let's put theory into practice: Let's get to the pots and sprouting jars: How about a lentil and spinach curry made from sprouted lentils, healthy organic baby spinach, organic fennel scented with essential oils, great oriental spices and sprouted fenugreek, which goes wonderfully with this dish?