Heavy metals exist all around us hidden in our water, our food, household cleaning products, and even in the air we breathe in the form of pollution. Some of them are only dangerous in large quantities, while even trace amounts of others may be detrimental to our health when they find a way inside the human body. While symptoms of heavy metal poisoning are often unclear and frequently attributed to other illnesses, one thing is certain: The majority of us are carrying around some amount of these toxic elements in our cells.
One of the biggest problems with heavy metals is that once they find a way into our bodies, they are very hard to get rid of. If a person is exposed to them every day, toxic metals build up much faster than we’re capable of eliminating them and eventually they make us sick. Heavy metal poisoning can affect all parts of the body, but the thyroid and gut are two of the most vulnerable. If you have symptoms of thyroid disorder or if you find that you aren’t digesting food as well as you should be, check out the following tips to learn about 21 natural ways to rid your body of heavy metals.
1. Use Only All-Natural Cleaning Supplies
The majority of chemical cleaning products contain some form of toxic metals. When our skin comes into contact with these products, the metals are absorbed and stored in our cells. As a safer alternative, use only all-natural cleaners. Seventh Generation makes a wonderful line of products that include everything from laundry detergent and fabric softener to dish soap and all-purpose household disinfectant. (Not only are these products totally safe, they also smell fantastic!)
Or if you fancy a DIY, take a look at these DIY natural cleaning products.
2. Switch to Non-Toxic Cosmetics
Another common source of hidden heavy metals is something that many of us use every day – cosmetics. In order to cleanse your system of these toxic elements, you’ll definitely want to toss the big name make-ups and pick up some metal-free replacements. Check out this article by Alden Wicker of learnvest.com for more information on which products to choose.
3. Make Your Own Personal Care Products
Cleaners and cosmetics aren’t the only products in your bathroom which are secretly depositing metals into your body. Other daily use items like deodorant and toothpaste are also on the list of culprits. To avoid those hidden heavy metals, try making your own personal care products.
This list of 24 Baking Soda Uses contains information on making not only homemade PCPs like toothpaste, facial cleanser, and deodorant, but also all-natural laundry detergent, air freshener, and household disinfectant.
4. Avoid Canned Foods
Avoiding food that has been stored in a metal can should be a no-brainer for heavy metal detox. Still, canned goods are an everyday staple in most parts of the world and you’ve probably been eating them for your whole life under the illusion that they’re safe. If you want to cleanse your body of toxic metals, however, you’ll need to avoid these foods. Opt for fresh produce whenever possible. Not only will you stop contaminating your body, you’ll get more nutrients from fresh foods, too.
5. Stay Away From BPA Plastic
Of the many inventions that have thrust human beings into a brighter, more technologically advanced era, plastics are at the top of the list. This infinitely useful material is all around us. Unfortunately, many forms of plastic contain chemicals which are harmful once they enter the body. BPA plastic in particular is known to cause all kinds of health problems, including heavy metal poisoning. If your goal is to detox your system, its best to avoid plastics altogether. Opt for glassware instead. Also, replace any plastic cooking utensils in your kitchen with silicone or bamboo.
6. Replace Teflon Non-Stick Cookware
Plastic and canned goods aren’t the only kitchen items which deliver toxic metals into our cells. Teflon-coated pots and pans are another big category to be avoided. Replace these with ceramic, cast iron, or glass.
7. Ask For Resin Fillings Instead Of Metal
Traditional dental amalgam or “silver” fillings contain about 50% mercury. While your first impulse may be to have them removed asap, understand that the chemical nature of the metal is altered during the filling process and having old metal fillings taken out can be far more dangerous than leaving them in place. However, if your dentist tells you that you need a new filling, ask for resin instead.
8. Avoid Foods High In FODMAPs
Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols – known as FODMAPs – are small chain carbohydrates which don’t absorb entirely in the small intestine, but which are quickly and easily fermented by most types of gut flora. These foods not only lead to poor digestive health and GI disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS) and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), they are also commonly full of toxins like heavy metals. For more information on FODMAPs, check out this article from nutrition-az.com.
9. Say “No” To High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Among the worst FODMAPs if high-fructose corn syrup. Not only is HFCS at the top of the list of most unhealthy sweeteners, it also often contains mercury. If you want to detoxify your body of heavy metals and be healthier in general, this is one ingredient that you will definitely want to avoid.
(Further Reading: 10 Convincing Reasons You Need To Quit Sugar, Right Now!)
10. Consume More Omega-3 Fats
Fats have gotten a bad reputation of the past few decades – an unfortunate fact considering that our bodies need healthy fats to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular are also great for detoxifying heavy metals from your cells. Try adding flaxseed, flax oil, or chia seeds to you daily dietary routine in order to help your system flush out harmful compounds.
(Further Reading: 10 Emphatic Reasons Why You Should Add Chia Seeds To Your Diet Today.)
11. Up Your Glutathione Levels
Glutathione is an antioxidant which is naturally produced inside the human body – a combination of the three amino acids cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. This bio-chemical is adept at ridding the body of toxins like heavy metals. Unfortunately, most of us are exposed to such a high level of poisonous elements every day that our systems simply cannot make enough glutathione to flush them all out. To jump start your heavy metal detox, you can purchase glutathione supplements here. Also, check out this article on Huffington Post for some great tips on how to naturally boost your body’s glutathione production.
12. Eat Fresh Organic Cilantro and Chlorella
Cilantro and chlorella are both well-known for their ability to bond with heavy metals and remove them from the body as they pass through the digestive tract. For more information on how these two little green super heroes work their magic, check out this awesome article on naturalsociety.com.
13. Drink Liquid Chlorophyll
If you’ve ever watched Marvel’s second installment in the Iron Man series, you may remember one or two scenes where Tony Stark is seen downing a thick green liquid. Eventually, he points out that it’s chlorophyll he’s drinking. While we’ve all heard that you can’t believe everything you see on television, this is one natural health marvel that actually works. Chlorophyll is another chelating compound that binds to heavy metals and removes them from the body. You can be cool like Tony and drink liquid chlorophyll or if that doesn’t appeal to you, up your intake of steamed dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and watercress. Herbs like parsley and cilantro (which we discussed previously) are more good choices. You can also add spirulina or wheatgrass to smoothies and other foods to get a healthy dose of chlorophyll.
14. Cook With Alliums
Alliums include foods like onions, garlic, and shallots which are all high in sulfur – a powerful natural chelating agent which attaches to heavy metal ions (in much the same way as cilantro and chlorella do) and carries them out through the digestive tract. Alliums have lots of other great health benefits, to boot. If you enjoy the taste and don’t mind the lingering scent that comes with eating them, you should definitely include veggies like garlic and onions with at least one meal each day.
15. Choose Organic Produce
Make certain that all of your fruits, veggies, and herbs are grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This will ensure that you aren’t adding more toxic metals to your body. Furthermore, the fiber and nutrients in many of these foods (some good choices include leafy greens, brassicas, and dark-colored berries) will improve your overall health, boost your antioxidant levels, increase the detoxifying potential of your organs, and make it easier to flush harmful chemicals and heavy metals from your cells.
16. Be Picky About Fish
We’ve all heard sung the health benefits of cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines so I won’t tell you to avoid them altogether. Only be careful around larger fish which have longer lifespans such as swordfish and tuna as these species have had more time to absorb mercury from the water and by eating other smaller fish which were carrying this poisonous metal inside their bodies. For more information on which fish are safe and which ones to be wary of, read this report on doctoroz.com.
17. Filter Your Water
Tap water is more often than not filled with heavy metals and other elements that can build up to toxic levels in the human body. Consider installing a water filtration system or pick up a water filtering pitcher to help clean the impurities from your drinking water. Read more about filtering water in part 2 of this article.
18. Stay Hydrated
Probably the most important piece of natural health advice, staying hydrated is crucial to the proper function of every system in the human body; and when it comes to flushing out toxins, water is absolutely essential. Read this article on authoritynutrition.com for a comprehensive look at the pros of staying hydrated. Also, if you aren’t sure how much water you should be drinking, spend a few minutes exploring about.com’s hydration calculator to get a better idea!
19. Sweat It Out
Now that we’ve covered hydration, the next step is to move that water and the toxins it carries out of your body asap! Schedule some time out of your busy day to help your body sweat it out by relaxing in a steam bath or sauna. This will speed up the detox process. Just remember that you’ll need to drink more water to replace what you lose from sweating!
20. Enjoy A Detoxifying Bath
Soaking in a clay bath is one of the most effective ways to draw heavy metals out of the body. The clay actually pulls metal ions out through the pores of the skin, thus removing them without putting any added stress on internals organs like the kidneys and liver. Try soaking for 30 minutes to an hour in a Bentonite clay bath. If you’ve never done this before, you may be shocked at how good you’ll feel all over when you step out of the bath tub. For high quality, pure natural Bentonite clay powder at a very reasonable price, I recommend this product available through Amazon.com.
21. Get A Seaweed Wrap
Not only are they great for your skin, a seaweed wrap delivers nutrients into your body while at the same time pulling toxins like heavy metals out. Read more about seaweed wrapping in this detailed article by The Healthy Home Economist.
A Few Important Closing Notes
While the remedies on this list are all effective methods for removing heavy metals from the body, it is important to remember that heavy metal poisoning is nearly impossible to self-diagnose, therefore you will want to have your doctor test you for the presence of these toxic elements before deciding on a treatment plan. Also, if you experience symptoms of heavy metal poisoning, consider having additional testing done for related illnesses such as thyroid and digestive disorders. Finally, for a list of the most common heavy metals and their sources, check out this article by evenbetterhealth.com.
The contents of this post are for informational purposes only and are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnoses, and/or treatment of heavy metal poisoning, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, IBS, SIBO or any other conditions mentioned within.