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Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and aluminum can be toxic to the body with chronic exposure.
However, a lot of everyday items (car keys, locks, aluminum vessels, etc.) contain trace or low amounts of these metals. These metals can interfere with DNA regulation and protein structure and cause neurological disorders. (1)
How Do You Know if You Have Too Many Heavy Metals in Your Body?
Heavy metal exposure can be short term or long term. Short-term exposure can occur when you accidentally ingest a large amount of heavy metal such as in water or food. Long-term exposure occurs when you are exposed to tiny amounts of heavy metal over long periods (e.g., lead miners).
Both types of exposure may cause heavy metal poisoning in the body. Symptoms of which include nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and chills. (2)
Since these are common symptoms that can occur with a number of medical conditions, it is best to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
How to Reduce Your Heavy Metal Exposure
Here are a few tips you can use to avoid long-term exposure to heavy metals.
1. Drink filtered water
Water can be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals. Installing a water filtration system in your home can help reduce these impurities and make your drinking water safe for use.
You can use an ion exchange filtration system, activated carbon filtration system, or reverse osmosis filtration system. (3)
2. Purify your body
You can remove harmful toxins from your body by:
a. Optimizing liver health
The liver helps remove all toxins from the body. (4) You can reduce the levels of heavy metals in your body by consuming foods that boost liver health and aid detoxification enzymes (grapefruit, cruciferous vegetables, etc.) and avoiding alcohol.
Consuming foods that contain vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, etc., may also help boost liver health.
b. Optimize gut health
Your digestive system contains a number of beneficial bacteria that help keep the body free of pathogens and toxins.
You can help increase the amount of these good bacteria, especially if you suffer from irritable syndrome (IBS) or frequent diarrhea, to optimize your gut health. Consuming probiotics is a good way to do so.
Recent studies show that probiotics such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus help decrease mercury and arsenic absorption from the gut into the blood. (5)
3. Get the right amounts of vitamins and minerals
Consuming adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals helps boost the body’s immune system and may help protect you from the harmful effects of heavy metal exposure. (6)
You can include fresh leafy vegetables and fruits in your diet or take a multivitamin supplement to meet your vitamin and mineral requirements.
4. Don’t forget about herbs and spices
Herbs and spices such as garlic, turmeric, and rosemary have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They can help boost your immune system to fight against toxins and pathogens.
5. Implement dietary and lifestyle changes
Cutting down on fast food, limiting fried foods, and increasing the amount of fresh fruits and greens you consume are the key to a healthy life.
6. Increase intake of polyphenols
Polyphenols can help increase the production of an enzyme called metallothionein, which helps in the removal of toxins and heavy metals from the body.
7. Reduce stress
Stress can slow down the body’s natural detoxification process. It is advisable to reduce both physical and mental stress for optimal health. Try to meditate every day to reduce the impact of chronic stress on your health.
8. Consume cilantro
Cilantro is a natural chelating agent. It has detoxifying properties that can help protect your body from heavy metals. A recent study has shown that consuming cilantro can help decrease the amount of lead absorbed in the blood.
You can drink a cilantro and apple smoothie in the morning or consume fresh chopped cilantro on top of your salads, curries, soups, etc. (8)
9. Detox with milk thistle
Milk thistle contains natural antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been proven to increase liver detoxification. In short, it helps the liver in removing waste products from the body and improving health.
You can consume milk thistle tea or milk thistle supplements every day. (9)
Does Sauna Therapy Help Remove Toxins From the Body?
Sauna therapy is a good way to increase waste elimination from the body. Just make sure to drink enough fluids afterward to prevent dehydration.
The body has a natural cleansing mechanism that helps get rid of all toxins. You do not have to work extra hard to protect your body from damage.
Consume foods that boost your immune system and limit the intake of foods that harm you, and you are good to go. Remember, your goal is to aid the body’s natural defense mechanism.