Women's Health : Eliminate Toxins and Feel Fantastic

Posted on 22. Mar, 2010 by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS in Nutrition

The headlines today say it all: “Contaminated Beef Recalled in 22 States,” “Bagged Spinach Tainted by E. Coli,” “Salmonella Contaminates Peanut Butter in 26 States.” Common foods, poor food handling, and every-day habits can be surprising sources of toxins that can make us feel sick, tired, and bloated. Learn to defend yourself against tainted foods and discover how to naturally boost your body’s good intestinal flora, stomach acid, and enzymes by cleansing your system and revitalizing your health.

When A Good Gut Goes Bad

Food sensitivities, digestive difficulties, yeast infections, frequent colds, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome are all symptoms that may signal the gut causes of your grief. Even some seemingly unrelated symptoms including gum infections, unexplained weight loss or gain, skin problems, arthritis, and menopausal discomforts can be signs of gut troubles. Proclaim war on germs and get back on track to health— fortify your system against pathogens and parasites, flush out hidden invaders or toxins, and feed yourself nourishing foods and supplements to encourage and rebuild gastrointestinal (GI) health.

Step #1: Fortify

The friendly bacteria that inhabit the walls of the small intestine and the colon are called probiotics. Probiotics strengthen the gut, making it hard for pathogenic bugs to take root. Optimal health traditionally required 100 billion to 1,000 billion beneficial bacteria per milliliter. Yet today, levels of friendly bacteria in the gut are decreasing with rising global toxicity. Researchers predict that the twenty-first century body may need 100 trillion beneficial flora colonies to preserve good health. A probiotic supplement will help the body digest foods, provide the enzymes necessary to metabolize cholesterol and bile acids, help transport nutrients, and more. Help strengthen your GI tract by avoiding sweets, molds, and starches and consuming plenty of fiber. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily.

Step #2: Flush

Now that you’ve given your body a boost with probiotics, flush any lingering pathogens from your system. Lucky for us, some of the brightest, most colorful vegetables—carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and yams—are also packed with a natural chemical that helps the body defend against pathogens: beta carotene. This precursor to vitamin A protects the long-term health of the intestinal tract. Enjoy at least two servings of beta carotene–rich foods every day.

Remember that sugars and even hypoallergenic gluten-free grains and starches can provide a food source for yeast and parasites, so moderation is key. Enjoy up to two servings daily of gluten-free grains and starches such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, brown rice, and millet. Spice up your life with cinnamon, garlic, oregano, and cayenne to flush bugs that give you food poisoning, diarrhea, and ulcers, and add flushing beverages such as mugwort tea and Pau d’Arco to your diet. In addition to detoxifying spices and herbs, be sure to consume one tablespoon of fish oil every day to support your cellular membranes.

Step #3: Feed

Feed the beleaguered lining of your GI tract with all the foods it needs to heal and regenerate. You’ll also give your immune system some much-needed nourishment and help it get back into fighting form. Very important to feeding your gut, proteins can stop pathogens and parasites from entering the bloodstream. Eat at least eight ounces of protein per day from lean beef, poultry, and fish. Also enjoy omega-rich eggs and whey-based protein drinks. Not only is a diet heavy in vegetables good for your complexion and your waistline, but it also provides natural protection against food-borne parasites and other infectious agents. Vegetables naturally have protective compounds to ward off pathogens and infections. Eat at least five vibrant nonstarchy veggies per day, such as peppers, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, parsley, and broccoli.

Fruits are also packed with phytochemicals that may help the body stop the growth of pathogens, parasites, and undesirable bacteria. While fruits’ sugar content may sometimes encourage the growth of yeast, the fiber and phytochemicals offer dependable benefits to the body’s disease-fighting process. Enjoy up to two low-sugar but satisfying fruits per day, such as an apple, pear, berries, plum, cherries, grapefruit, and orange.

Finally, enjoy beans several times a week. One of the primary benefits of legumes is that they move through the GI tract mostly intact until they reach the colon, where they provide nutrition for probiotic bacteria. Probiotics convert the starch into butyrate, a fatty acid that is so powerful at stimulating intestinal repair that medical researchers have given this substance intravenously to hospital patients who have had sections of the small intestine surgically removed. Garbanzos, adzuki, black beans, and lentils are excellent choices.

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