Modern humans live in a toxic world. Since the early 20th century, tens of thousands of new chemical compounds have infiltrated our air, drinking water, and soil. While most people think of chemical spills when they hear the phrase “toxic exposure,” the truth is that for most people, exposure to toxins is much more gradual. We are exposed to tiny amounts of toxins day after day, through the food we eat and the air we breathe. These can eventually build up in the body and have far-reaching consequences on our health.
While environmental toxins might be the most obvious, toxins can also come from inside the body. Internal toxins can include things like waste products from normal cell function, and excess hormones that the body is having trouble eliminating.
The biggest misconception about detoxing is that certain foods and vitamins detox for us. But the truth is that our cells naturally detoxify themselves every minute of every day. If this process did not happen continuously, we would quickly die.
However, our bodies do need special fuel to help that detox process: Healthy fats, high quality protein, plenty of fiber, and abundant fruits and vegetables are some of the best tools we have for ensuring our cells are detoxing as they should.
High quality plant fats can go a long way towards protecting your organs of elimination, and ensuring your detox mechanisms are humming along smoothly. Here are 5 reasons why healthy fats are an important part of your detox journey:
Healthy Fats Allow You to Use Vitamins A, D, E, and K
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are known as "fat-soluble vitamins" because you need dietary fat to absorb them properly. Proper nutrient balance is critical for a healthy detox process. Make sure to include healthy fats with every meal to help ensure you can utilize all the nutrition in your food. Try drizzling a tablespoon of cold-pressed oil over your veggies, or stirring a tablespoon of flax oil into your soup before serving.
Healthy Fats Keep Inflammation at Bay
Inflammation halts nutrient-rich blood in its tracks, slowing down circulation and the delivery of detox-boosting nutrients all over the body. Fats in the omega-3 family are particularly important for inhibiting inflammation. Walnut oil, flax oil, and hemp seed oil are all great sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, in addition to fatty fish like salmon.
Healthy Fats Speed Up Bowel Motility
One of the most important toxin elimination pathways is through the colon. When stool sits too long in the colon (constipation), toxins that were on the road to elimination can be re-absorbed back into the bloodstream. This leads to a much greater burden on your liver, since it has to work twice as hard to clear these toxins out a second time.
Essential fatty acids, which are found in many cold-pressed plant oils, help promote bowel regularity by helping to soothe inflammation. Healthy fats can also boost digestive motility, gently speeding up the movement of waste through the large intestine.
Fats Rich in Vitamin E Help Protect the Liver
Vitamin E is one of the most important nutrients for promoting detox. Found in nuts, seeds, leafy greens, sesame oil, and almond oil, Vitamin E protects cells from dangerous free radicals and can help support detox from dental fillings and xenobiotics.
Healthy Fats Support Hormone Balance
Excess hormones are one of the biggest sources of internal toxins. Essential fatty acids, found in many cold-pressed seed oils, help regulate the production of stress hormones (like cortisol) and sex hormones (like estrogen). Evening primrose oil is particularly good for balancing female hormones.