We often talk about the importance of detoxification and the effective elimination of toxins from the body for overall health. In this article we take a look at the channels our body uses to remove toxins, and a few simple strategies that you can apply to help improve your detoxification ability.
What are the Channels of Elimination?
When we talk about elimination, there are five major channels your body uses to help remove wastes from the body. These include:
- the skin;
- the bowel;
- the lymphatic system;
- the kidneys
- the lungs;
Even though sometimes we talk about these systems separately, all are equally important and all need to interoperate to effectively keep your body toxin free.
The signs of congestion are most frequently seen in the skin, where skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis can result from an overburdened bowel or lymphatic systems. However, there are exceptions. The constant production of concentrated urine, ongoing bad breath despite good dental hygiene and heavily blood shot eyes may also be indicators that the bowel or lymph needs attention.
How Can You Keep the Plumbing Clean?
A key principle of natural medicine has long been that good health starts with the correct support of the bodies elimination processes.
How Can Diet and Lifestyle Help?
The best method for ensuring healthy elimination is a healthy diet and lifestyle. Follow these simple tips to make the most of your elimination channels.
- Adequate intake of plant-based fibre and water is essential for the channels of elimination to function properly.
- Enjoy a minimum of three cups of fresh vegetables daily: Choose from a variety of vegetables and aim to have a rainbow of colours on your dinner plate.
- Enjoy a minimum of two pieces or one cup of fresh fruit daily: Berries are an excellent choice as they are rich in antioxidants.
- Limit starchy carbohydrates to two small serves weekly: Aim for only 1 to 2 serves of bread, rice, pasta, cereal or potatoes.
- Drink a minimum of eight glasses of pure water daily: To add flavour, opt for natural flavourings such as fresh lemon, lime and mint in water instead of soft drinks and cordials.
- Be active – exercise helps increase blood flow to the skin, and encourages the removal of toxins through sweat; so make daily exercise a part of your skin health program today!
How Can You Improve Lymphatic Function?
One of the most neglected organs of elimination is the lymphatic system. As a network of fine vessels that help move toxins back to the kidney and bowel for elimination, constricting, or confining clothing, lack of exercise and inadequate water intake can all lead to congestion and a slow down in the lymphatic system.
Lymphatic massage is a powerful way to re-invigorate the flow of the lymphatic system and remove congestion or blockages. Our therapists are qualified in lymphatic drainage, or for something you can do at home try dry skin brushing. Dry skin brushing prior to your morning shower is a simple technique to stimulate lymphatic circulation, helping your body to clear the build up of waste products that can aggravate skin conditions.
A number of herbs have also been traditionally used to improve lymphatic function including:
- cleavers (Galium aparine);
- burdock (Arctium lappa);
- nettle (Urtica dioica);
- red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza);
- blue flag (Iris versicolour).
We have had great results using these in our clinic and highly recommend anyone concerned about lymphatic function talk to our Naturopaths today.
How Can You Improve Bowel Function?
The diets we eat today do not promote a healthy bowel. We regularly find people are affected by either slow transit times, or irregular bowel movements. Like your garbage bin, a bowel that doesn’t move frequently is smelly, unhygienic and a home for bad bacteria and pathogens.
A properly functioning digestive system and moving your bowels regularly is an integral part of achieving overall health. While diet is the major component for ensuring good bowel health, sometimes herbal support may be necessary. In our clinic we have had great results improving bowel function using herbs such as:
- ginger (Zingiber officinale);
- german chamomile (Matricaria recutita);
- cascara (Rhamnus purshianus);
- cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia); and
- rhubarb (Rheum officinale);
It is important to use these herbs only to kick start a bowel that Is moving sluggishly. Persistent problems with bowel function may indicate more serious problems that need the assistance of a Naturopath.
Looking for Other Ways to Improve Elimination?
Problems with elimination can often lead to other, more serious health complications. If you are experiencing problems with any part of the elimination process book online or talk to our Naturopathic team today. We can help you implement dietary and lifestyle changes that support healthy elimination and will help to improve your overall health.