Our Toxic World – Part II
How do you help yourself if you’re exposed to environmental toxins a lot? Well….everyone is exposed, its a matter of what you’re exposed to.
Pay attention to the air-flow in your home. If you live in a new home, there might be all sorts of chemicals off-gassing to your body – things such as paint, carpet, treated woods, formaldehyde in plywood, new furniture and who knows what else can make your body suffer. You may not notice the symptoms right away. They can be as subtle as feeling cranky, or more tired, which you could assume is just because you moved and your life is in boxes. If you have an older home, you might be exposed to various molds. If you live in the city, you might be getting auto exhaust fumes. If you live in the country, near a vineyard – there are all sorts of lovely chemicals being sprayed on the plants, and flying into your home. Either having a good ventilation system or an air filter will help you take better care of your lungs.
Antioxidants are compounds that keep the body from breaking chemicals down into free radicals – unstable molecules that cause aging and disease. Andrew Weil published a list of the 10 “super” antioxidants in terms of their ability to help prevent illness. These are: CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, pycnogenol, selenium, beta carotene, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, and green tea. These have recently been shown to protect the lungs from damage due to air pollution.
The vitamin A, selenium, zinc, beta-carotene and sometimes E and C are readily available in a good multivitamin. The alpha lipoic acid is very good for the liver – it helps with the detoxification process in addition to strengthening the immune system. You should be careful with green tea because it is often grown in areas that use DDT as insecticide, try to find organic tea if you want to drink it.
Medicinal mushrooms have been shown to enhance immune cell function as well. These include reishi, shitake, maitake and many others. In my own experience, I’m finding that high doses of vitamin C are very helpful.
Eating sugar, dairy, wheat, or gluten can make your symptoms worse if you are allergic to them. They will lower your immune system’s ability to do its job. Actually any food you are sensitive to will cause your symptoms to get worse, since it will increase inflammation in your body. If you don’t know whether you are allergic to them or not, do an experiment for two to three weeks, cut them out and see if you feel better. Your body will let you know.