We often consume foods and drinks that stress our bodies and overload our systems.
Below is a list of the top ten toxins we are putting into our bodies on an almost daily basis. Luckily there are ways to reduce our intake to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Each day we caffeinate ourselves to the point of near psychosis. Sure, it’s a great way to stay awake during those dull meetings but what it really is, is a fast-acting stimulant which sends blood sugar and adrenaline soaring. Continual coffee drinking can force your adrenal glands to work too hard until they eventually become exhausted and dependent on another coffee fix. However hard it may be at first, attempt to stick to just one cup a day and substitute with antioxidant-rich green tea which has just enough caffeine to stave off cravings.
Bread is one of the cornerstones of modern day eating habits. We eat bread morning, noon and night without sparing too much of a thought towards the negative effects it may have on our body. If your digestion is compromised by eating too much sugar or caffeine or stress, partially digested wheat can actually enter your blood stream and build up to an intolerance that can cause anything from fatigue and headaches to indigestion, bad skin and depression. Too much yeast can upset the balance of bacteria in the gut and encourage infections such as Candida. For the sake of your own health cut down on bread and go for varieties such as wholemeal as they contain less yeast.
The Cola Wars
Where’s the appeal in fizzy cold drinks? They’re loaded with sugar, which rots teeth and wreaks havoc with our blood glucose levels. Ah, you drink the diet version do you, well in that case… Stop Immediately. Diet fizzy drinks play havoc with your blood sugar and increase your appetite and don’t even get us started on how terrible the artificial sweetener used in fizzy drinks is. Aspartame has been linked to various cancers, hair loss, depression, dementia, behavioural disturbances and epilepsy. In fact – scrap all artificial sweeteners immediately, your body will be grateful. If you insist on drinking fizzy drinks, have carbonated water but make sure you don't drink it near meals as it can lower stomach acid production and stop you digesting your food fully.
Who ate all the Pies?
Who doesn’t love pies - they’re quick, easy, comforting and really yummy. Pies are not as warm and delightful as we make them out to be, they’re essentially empty calories; saturated fat and sugar which put strain on our livers and surreptitiously creep up on our weekly weigh ins. Bottom line - enjoy the occasional Cornish pastie or Danish but don’t make it the cornerstone of your diet.
While tinned foods are convenient for those of you on the run, the metal in these tins can potentially get into your system. Acidic food like fruit can start to break down metal and fatty foods may absorb toxic residues. Our livers don't have the detoxification pathways to get rid of the metals so they begin to interfere with mineral absorption. Tinned foods are often heated at extreme temperatures so they lose a lot of their nutrients too. If you must eat tinned foods, go organic, some organic brands have coated tins which prevent metals leaking into the food, but the best solution is to always eat fresh foods.
Processed Meats, Anyone?
The amount of additional salt in processed meats can upset your fluid balance, which can also cause the loss of other minerals such as magnesium that are important for chemical body reactions. High salt intake can also lead to problems with blood pressure, bloating and kidney function. Processed meats also tend to be high in saturated fats and, unless organic, in chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. You can combat this by buying lean, unprocessed, organic meat. It’s also important not to eat more than three meat servings a week.
Cheesy very Cheesy
I’m sure most of you will agree that cheese is possibly one of the greatest, most versatile and tasty foods ever. Mature cheese is however extremely fermented and can contribute to yeast overgrowth, it is also very acidic and hard for the body to digest. Mature cheese is also thought to be very mucus forming, which can be a trigger for allergies, nasal problems and skin problems like eczema. Cheese lovers – stick to goat's cheese – it’s much less acidic and lower in lactose (which is great for the unfortunate lactose intolerant among us).
Roasted Chestnuts and all that Jazz
Raw, natural, unsalted nuts are fantastic for health because they contain healthy essential fats that are good for skin and brain function. However, when they are roasted, the ‘good’ fat changes chemically into unhealthy fats, which your body isn't equipped to cope with. Raw nuts are great snacks as they actually help the liver to clear out the toxins that can encourage fat gain and help you to burn fat more efficiently and above all stay away from the roasted variety.
Who’s Keen for a Fry-up
While there is something momentarily comforting about fried foods the long term effects that they have on your body is disastrous. Frying destabilises oil molecules and produces free radicals - damaging molecules that zip around your body attacking your cells. We can deal with a certain amount of free radicals but too many leads to cell damage, anything from premature wrinkles to cancer. Instead of frying, steam, bake or grill your, food it’s healthier and often tastier. If you must fry; do it in a wok and use refined peanut, avocado or high oleic sunflower oil as these withstand temperatures better.
Drink and be Merry
Studies have shown that a good night out leaves us with more than an excruciating hangover. Alcohol depletes nutrients, especially the B vitamins that are vital for memory and metabolism, leaving you sluggish and slightly brain dead. It sends blood sugar levels soaring and makes your liver fatty, which prevents it regulating hormones and detoxing your system effectively. We’re not saying “no more partying” all we’re saying is “moderation” – don’t drink more than 14 units a week or more than three in one session. Take vitamin C before and after drinking to protect your liver, and drink plenty of water to counteract dehydration and keep your body working properly. If you’re tempted to reach for the fourth glass of wine keep in mind that tomorrow you’ll be suffering and as we’re likely to want to eat greasy offerings from the local Chippy once intoxicated it’s not just your job this advice might save, it’s your waistline too.
The ground breaking Channel 4 TV show You Are What You Eat hosted by acclaimed holistic nutritionist Gillian McKeith, is taking Britain by storm. Advocating the benefits of healthy foods, the show is educating viewers on the necessary steps to take in order to live a happier and healthier lifestyle. Check out the website for more tips on healthy living.