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What's really in the food you eat

Friday, 15 April 2016  |  Editor

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A new investigation has shown that there may be rising levels of poisons in your shopping basket!

Heavy metals such as cadmium can be found in whole grains including bread. Mercury, released into the ocean by industrial and mining processes, is present in deep water fish like tuna and aluminium is used as food colouring in some sweets. In fact, popular breakfast cereals and baby food often contain arsenic found in high levels in rice, as it’s grown in flood plains that release arsenic in the soil present from industrial pollution.

So what can we do to ensure that we have a healthy diet but avoid over exposure to heavy metals in our foods? There will always be a small amount of heavy metal exposure in foods that we eat, as they are present in the soil that many foods are grown in. However, washing vegetables, for example, removes much of the contamination, as cadmium is present in the soil particles that stick to the outside of the produce.  Sticking to organic foods where possible also reduces toxin exposure. Ensuring the diet has plenty of variety of whole foods reduces the exposure to certain heavy metals that may be high in one particular food source, for example cadmium in bread or mercury in tuna or swordfish. Washing the rice before and after cooking can reduce arsenic levels.

Heavy metals that do enter the body need to be detoxified in order to prevent build up in the cells. The body has a sophisticated system of circulating fluids (blood and lymph) to pick up and transport toxins to organs such as the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and skin where they are neutralised and excreted. However, modern lifestyles including stress and poor nutrition can add to the body’s toxin burden and potentially overwhelm natural detoxification processes. Such congestion and detoxification dysfunction may be a key barrier to both short and long-term good health. This means the true nature of detoxification support is so much more than fad weight loss diets popularised by newspapers and magazines post-Christmas!

Supporting the detoxification process is a vial part of any naturopathic programme. In fact the process can be viewed as a type of cleanse. Holistic cleansing programmes aim to encourage the body to self-heal by assisting the natural detoxification pathways through nutrition, supplements and naturopathic detoxification support techniques.