The presence of heavy metals in our environment, food supply, and bodies is something many of us have become hyper aware of in recent years, and for good reason. Heavy metals are toxic to the human body and can negatively impact cell communication, interfere with our body's metabolic processes, and can even shorten the lifespan of our cells. Heavy metal toxicity has even been linked to severe neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It's well worth understanding where they're found and how to protect yourself.
While, as a society, we have taken some necessary precautions to help minimize our exposure to heavy metals, such as banning lead-based paints back in the 70's, heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, chromium, mercury, nickel, and cadmium can still creep their way into our homes, the environment around us, and ultimately our own bodies. The insidious aspect of heavy metals is that they are very difficult for the body to flush out, and can accumulate deep within our tissues. Fortunately there are some definite steps you can take to help avoid heavy metal toxicity. Here are 10 tips for minimizing exposure, and also for supporting the body in its inherent detoxification abilities.
1. Drink only filtered water
The solution to pollution may be dilution, but if your water is contaminated it may be having the opposite effect. Water should be helping to cleanse pollutants out of the body, not introduce more. Not all filters will work to remove heavy metals, so if you have one or are in the process of getting one - do your research. Reverse osmosis filters are known for their ability to remove heavy metals. Freshly harvested spring water has many incredible benefits as well (its living water straight from the earth, just how nature intended!), however its important to know your source well and make sure the water is being tested regularly for contaminents.
2. Spirulina and cholorella are your friend
These superfood algae powders may be most known for their incredible nutrient content which includes 60% plant based protein by weight, iron, folic acid, B vitamins, manganese, magnesium, selenium, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and more, but they are also effective at removing heavy metals from the nervous system and the liver. We've formulated a well rounded superfood algae product called Amazing Algae, which contains both organic chlorella and spirulina, as well as E3Live freshwater algae. This product is by far one of our top recommendations for total body wellness and detox support.
3. Get wild (and green)
Wild greens such as dandelion and nettles, as well as dark leafy greens in general like kale and arugula, are super beneficial for the liver, help cleanse impurities from the bloodstream, and are full of fiber to help sweep the GI tract of waste. The benefits are pretty much endless, which is why greens should make up a large percentage of our diets. Whether you're eating a large salad every day, adding steamed greens to your dinner at night, tossing them into your smoothies, or juicing them…just do what works best for you and get those greens in!
4. Spice it up with fresh ginger root
Ginger root is one of the best, and most readily available, superfoods that you can consume for daily detoxification support. Ginger is really beneficial for the kidneys, an organ which plays such an important role in the body's elimination and detox processes. It is also great for reducing inflammation within the body. Add the fresh root to your juices, slice it and steep it in hot water for soothing ginger tea, or grate it and start adding it to more of your meals - such as veggie stir fries, sautees, sauces, and salad dressings.
5. Avoid unnecessary vaccinations
It is a known fact that vaccines contain some pretty toxic ingredients, including heavy metals. Regardless of your thoughts and stance on vaccines, it's important to be aware of this fact so you can make the best choice for yourself and your family. Certain vaccines, such as the flu shot, aren't neccesary or even recommended for everyone, and can be completetely avoided if you take good care of your body, make your health a top priority, and take extra precautions to build a robust immune system (such as eating well, getting daily movement, ingesting superfoods, and taking probiotics every day).
6. Avoid amalgam tooth fillings
Amalgam fillings are a metal alloy mixture which contain mercury, a toxic heavy metal. The issue with amalgam fillings is the unstable nature of mercury, which can emit vapors into the body even after the filling is set. This can lead to a bioaccumulation of mercury in your tissues over time. If you need to get a tooth filled, talk to your dentist about what other filing material options are available, or seek out a holistic dentist.
7. Keep aluminum away from your food
Aluminum is a common metal used in our food supply. Avoid cooking with aluminum foil, and avoid canned foods with have been packaged in aluminum, especially ones that contain natural acids such as canned fruits like pineapple and tomatoes, as the acids will actually cause the aluminum to leach more into the food.
8. Breakup with your toxic makeup
While wearing makeup can be a fun way to enhance features and increase confidence, many mainstream makeup products may be doing more than that: they may be making you sick. Makeup is notoriously known for being packed full of chemicals, petroleum derivatives, synthetic fragrances, and preservatives, and some makeup - especially those containing mineral dyes such as eyeshadows, lipsticks and lip glosses - can contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. Go for all natural, plant based makeup products. There are some great brands to choose from these days such as 100% Pure.
9. Know your surroundings
Do you live in an older house? If your home was painted before the 70's, especially if white paint was used, odds are there is lead in the paint. Be extra cautious of chipping, flaking, and the dust that can accumulate. Vaccuming and dusting regularly, and then disposing or washing the materials used for cleaning right away, is recommended. Be extra cautious of young children who may be touching surfaces with paint dust, or placing things like paint chips in their mouth. If you know that there was lead paint used in your home, explore the possibility of painting over things with a low VOC, environmetally friendly paint option to help create a seal.
10. Avoid air pollution whenever possible
This one may seem like a no- brainer, but it's worth stating. Air pollution caused by the combustion of fossil fuels (petroleum and coal), and industry in general, can be loaded with heavy metals. While it's not possible to avoid all air pollution, it's definitely something to consider when choosing where to buy a home, where to vacation, etc. Get out in the cleanest air that is possible for you - even in big cities there are usually places close by - such as forests, rivers, mountains, the ocean, a wooded park, etc. Do the best you can with what you have.