Everywhere we look, there are warning signs about how our environment – our food, air, water, and soil – is riddled with toxins.
Here’s a not-so-fun fact that supports this observation: The average person ingests around 5 grams of plastic (equivalent to one credit card) every week.
There are also emotional toxins that can plague us if we do not properly support our pillars of health: Sleep, connection, nutrition, movement, and stress management. Here are six, quick tips to support each.
Prioritize Deep Sleep
Sleep is like your nightly garbage pick-up. If you have a lot of garbage (physical and mental stress) deep sleep has built-in mechanisms that clean up neurological health.
Here’s how it works: The glymphatic system opens up between your brain cells and literally flushes out the toxic molecules involved in neurodegenerative disorders. This helps you start your day without carrying the burden of waste.
The recommended amount of sleep per night is at least 7-8 hours. But it’s equally important to consider the timing of your sleep: If you’re on a normal circadian rhythm of 24 hours, your best bet for deep sleep is between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
So, if you’re going to bed later, let’s say around midnight, you’re shaving off two hours of opportunity for deep sleep. But despite the time you tend to go to bed, a consistent sleep pattern matters most.
Foster Meaningful Connections
Not everything that is toxic is a compound. Bad energy, much like toxic chemicals, can take its toll.
When there is bad energy or toxic relationships (work or personal), our nervous system is overacted, which in turn signals our stress response. When the nervous system is consistently excited, it affects our immune system and impacts our body’s ability to handle other toxins.
Fostering positive connections and not feeding into toxic energy directly correlates with a longer, healthier life.
Eat Foods that Support Detox
By and large, if there’s one piece of nutrition advice that we should heed, it’s to swap out processed and packaged foods with whole foods (minimally processed food that is free of preservatives, added sugars and other additives).
Processed foods carry toxins that weaken your immune response and sugar is the hidden culprit we should be most leery of. When you eat sugar, you’re striking a match and starting a fire in your body. This highly inflammatory ingredient can lead to a cascade of events, including type 2 diabetes.
Swap the boxed cookies and crackers for low-glycemic plants (leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, beets, broccoli and carrots) and high-quality proteins.
Sweat It Out
Sweating from exercise or from increased body temperature, like a sauna session, is arguably one of the best ways to reduce toxins.
In fact, sweating can remove heavy metals and endocrine disruptors, according to this mbghealth article. Saunas, baths, hot springs and moderate to rigorous exercise also support artery health and are proven to reduce the rate of hospitalization and death in patients with heart disease.
Calm the Nervous System
The demands of our world leave us in a near-constant state of fight or flight, making it hard for our bodies to regulate themselves. When we’re stressed, we hold on to toxins; this often presents itself in the form of digestive issues, like IBS, among others.
To help calm your nervous system and support your body’s detoxification systems, try practicing tried and true stress-management techniques like reciting positive affirmations, deep belly breathing, or engaging in a daily meditation or mindfulness practice. Check out this 5-minute morning affirmation meditation to start reducing toxins and improving your health.
There are factors, out of our control, that contribute to a buildup of toxins in the body. But as is evidenced in the six tips you just read, there are also a lot of things within our sphere of control that can help reduce everyday toxins.