Free Radicals & Toxins

October 28, 2011

Processed low fat foods and diet foods often contain toxins and lack nutritional value. When consumed, toxins in the body increase and if the ‘toxic’ foods in the diet are not removed, the body cannot function optimally in the way it is designed to. Sometimes toxins are stored internally and may not be seen until it is too late. Examples of this are LDL cholesterol, fats stored inside and around organs or a tumour. Women can often, but not always, store fat where it can be seen. This makes the toxins in their diet externally visible but toxins are ’safer’ to health when stored in fat cells. Toxins also affect the metabolic rate of those who consume them and this can lead to further and further fat storage and build up of toxins. Remember, toxins cannot always be seen and may not even cause any symptoms initially. Some individuals will store toxins in fat cells to prevent them from floating around the body and harming vital organs.

Parts of everything we eat is filtered into our blood stream. It is essential toxins do not stay in the blood stream otherwise they will form deposits of cholesterol. We cannot determine how good each human body is at detoxifying itself. It will be dependent on where they live, their life-style and nutrition and, as previously discussed, no one individual is the same. This might help explain why some people can go through life doing all the things they want to, suffering acute minor complaints and eating and living what is perceived to be a healthy life, without even thinking about their life-style and nutrition. There rare but everyone knows, or knows of one of these hardy humans! So if someone doesn’t have faultless genetics (and doesn’t live surrounded by polluted, fast paced and modern life-styles) we can assume that they might not be able to detoxify their system without a helping hand. If a life-style of toxins is continued we may eventually experience external symptoms of a toxic body such as, psychological disorders (stress, habit disorders, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, psychotic episodes etc), and physical diseases (osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, COPD, arthritis, Parkinson’s, MS etc).

Going on a diet…

When a person starts a diet, they may initially lose weight consisting of water, fat and muscle. Losing water and muscle is not desirable as this will reduce our resting metabolic rate and leave a lot of spare, wobbly skin hanging around. This can result from the diet itself (poor nutrition), low calorific intake, ineffective exercise and the starvation response to a too severe calorie deficit. When the body is not getting what it needs, on a nutritional level, it presumes there is a food shortage so it hangs on to fat to see it through the hard times, and might instead to use muscle tissue as fuel. Even if the person IS losing mainly fat, (listen up body builders, fitness gurus and models), unless the fat reduction, or maintenance, is supported by a non-toxic nutritional intake, toxin levels are still going to be high. And, if you can’t see the toxins on the outside, then you can probably assume they are causing damage and potential harm to the inside. For those who pile the pounds back on, it might be a sign the body is trying to protect itself from the toxins still in the diet and the possibility of further calorie storage severity. Feeling unwell when trying to lose weight probably means your body is not responding well to it, so listen to your body. Craving something that you know is not good for your body, doesn’t mean you need to eat that particular food. It means you are lacking one or a combination of 5 things; proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals. I encourage all my clients to eat chocolate if they like it, I eat it in some shape or form every day, but craving chocolate is not because you need chocolate itself. It’s probably because you actually need some of the nutritional content found in real chocolate products, or perhaps you don’t actually need anything at all, you just think you do. Your mind might actually be telling you that you need something and not your body (‘I don’t even know why I ate that,’ ‘I didn’t even want it,’ or ‘I wasn’t even hungry,’ might be thoughts you say to yourself or others).

‘Pot’ Belly

The hard or soft fat around the middle is a sign that the body is storing the most dangerous type of fat and toxins in the body. This might be found in or surrounding vital organs, in the blood stream and other areas in the body that cannot be seen externally. I have seen people that fall into this category and seem physically ‘fit,’ and also say they feel perfectly healthy, happy, content and productive. Sadly, they might be a ticking time bomb, but with education and understanding (and even a visit to see the tragic medical wards in their local hospital), hopefully they will start to make little changes, one step at a time, before it’s too late. Adopting a healthier life-style isn’t about denial and living a half life, its about learning about and respecting the one thing that gives us life, our natural being. I apologise if this all sounds airy-fairy and ‘deep,’ but I feel we, as a human race, need to start to think outside the ‘normal’ or ‘what is accepted’ box if we are going to continue living happy lives, save our environment and build a hopeful and pleasant future for our family, friends and ourselves. I have worked on a medical ward, and when you see people that have had limb amputations because of diabetes, it makes you think before you shove food in your mouth and ignore your natural needs.

Regardless of weight, many ‘toxic’ people are malnourished. Without consumption of the right nutrients, that suit the needs and life-style of the individual, one cannot supply the ingredients for the body to function optimally and nutrients that are consumed may not be retained due to the poor environment within the body and the lack of nutrient ‘helpers.’ * Toxins also disrupt the uptake of nutrients from food so eating an apple after a bag of chips is not going to offset or help matters, but instead due to the consumption of the trans-fats (found in crisps and chips), the body will be less able to absorb and utilise the nourishment found in an apple.

(*Nutrient helpers are foods and factors containing nutrients or properties that assist the absorption or utilisation of another nutrient).

Where to start…

To ensure the body can rid itself effectively of toxins consumed, we can adjust our life-styles and make choices that work in harmony with our body. We can create an internal environment that allows our excretory organs to function optimally. These include our skin, liver and kidneys and digestive system. This will help us become hardier, fitter and more resilient human beings that better recover from illness, suffer less sickness and disease, and can better detoxify from toxic foods that we do eat due to occasions, lack of time and other modern day life-style factors (the food industry also hinders our efforts by offering us poor choice of natural foods and trying to addict us to ‘junk’ food).

Try to reduce, avoid and in some cases eliminate:

- Refined sugar
- Alcohol
- Fizzy drinks
- Ready meals and takeaways
- Classic ‘diet’ foods (that claim they are low in calories/aid weight loss etc)
- High consumption of caffeine
- Toxic chemicals (such as toothpaste, antiperspirants, bleach etc)
- Unfiltered tap water

It is impossible to live a completely toxic free life style even if we eliminated all culprits from our diet as there are so many toxins in our environment, of which, we are all partially responsible for. But living in a way that makes a conscious effort to respect our physical and nutrition needs, our environment and future can help us get more enjoyment out of each day, accomplish more things and ward off long-suffering illnesses, disease and conditions. In short:



‘The Optimum Nutrition Bible,’ Patrick Holford
‘Food is better Medicine than Drugs,’ Patrick Holford
‘The Paleo Solution,’ Robb Wolf
‘Nutrition for Life,’ Lisa Hark and Darwin Deen
‘Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer,’ Chris Woollams
‘Clean and Lean Diet,’ Elle Macpherson and James Duigan
‘Family Health Guide: New Medicine,’ David Peters

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