Heavy metal toxicity is linked to chronic disease, fatigue, mood and even decreased brain function. Common ways that we are exposed to heavy metals include household products, farmed fish and dental fillings. Once heavy metals have entered your bloodstream, they then travel through your body entering your cells and organs to be stored; and they can remain stored in your cells for years so it’s important that we become aware of what they are.
What are heavy metals?
Heavy metals are substances which are toxic and dangerously harmful to our health. Common heavy metals include mercury, lead, aluminium, arsenic, cadmium and nickel. In today’s society, it can become a challenge to entirely avoid exposure to heavy metals and this is where problems start. Heavy metals can accumulate within the body over years without a person actually realising what is happening and this exposure can then lead to problems with the central nervous system, damage to vital organs and severe brain fog.
Mercury poisoning is the most common type of heavy metal poisoning and is most likely the only type of heavy metal you have heard of. Mercury is one of the deadliest heavy metals there is, specifically impacting our central nervous system. Exposure to mercury and other heavy metals comes from household substances such as cosmetics, fabric softeners, foil, antiperspirants, stainless steel cutlery, drinking contaminated water, metal dental fillings, air pollution, processed foods and farmed fish. We can also be effected from birth as the heavy metals are passed onto the baby from the mother.
Side effects which are related to mercury poisoning in particular include headaches, chronic fatigue, irritability and brain fog.
This may all sound alarming but it’s important to be aware of the dangers because heavy metals have the ability to build up in your system over a number of years with small side effects developing without you linking them all together.
How can we treat heavy metal toxicity?
First, it’s important to note that with heavy metal detoxes, it’s likely that you may notice some of your symptoms getting worse before they get better in particular, fatigue.
For around 10 days, we want to be removing common food allergens from the diet such as gluten and dairy as these could lead to added inflammation which will take your body away from concentrating on detoxing from heavy metals. We also want to be removing processed foods and additives as these will again inhibit the body’s ability to fully detoxify from the heavy metals.
Alcohol and refined sugar should also be avoided – alcohol when consumed in excess acts as a toxin so would make it much harder for your liver to process and sift out heavy metal toxins whilst it also works on removing the alcohol.
Farmed fish should also be avoided. Swap for wild caught fish if this is available to you – or choose those lowest in mercury such as salmon, white fish like cod or shellfish.
Throughout the detox, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, around 2 litres per day if possible. We want to be consuming a range of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale, rocket as these are some of the most powerful heavy metal detox foods. Include foods which are rich in vitamin C as they are high antioxidant foods and help to reduce damage caused by the heavy metals – foods such as pineapple, oranges, kiwis, bell peppers and berries.
We should also be adding herbs, spices and garlic and onions into our cooking as they are anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants and assist with the detox process. Omega-3 fats such as chia seeds and flaxseeds are also great additions as they help to further reduce inflammation and contain great levels of fibre to get toxins moving out of the body.
Throughout this 10-day period, make sure you stay hydrated, get enough sleep (7-9 hours) and eat a very nutrient rich diet as suggested above. Not only is this a great way to help to detox your body from heavy metals, but it will also help to improve your digestive health, improve your skin health and energy levels! So it’s a win win.
Article written by Holly for BALANCE online. Click here to see the original.