If you’re passionate about being or staying healthy, you’ve probably heard the terms “toxic load” or “toxic burden.” But what do these terms really mean and what do they have to do with your thyroid?
First, toxic load, also referred to as body burden, refers to the total and accumulated toxins in your body from a variety of sources that can impact your organs and even your body at the cellular level. Over time, these toxins can result in poor health, symptoms, and disease.
Toxins are everywhere and come from our food supply such as pesticides, the water we drink for convenience out of plastic bottles, the air we breathe (pollution), the conventional lotions and potions we put on our skin like moisturizers and sunscreen, our clothing (dry cleaning anyone?), and even the products we use to clean our homes.
Now, what do toxins have to do with your thyroid?
When the body contains too many toxins, the liver, our main detoxifying organ, gets tired trying to clear them out. Think of this as liver fatigue or congested liver.
The liver is responsible for removing toxins and helping process hormones your body creates. It is in the liver where a critical conversion takes place – T4 converts to T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone.
If you have a clogged up liver, you might have conversion problems. Detoxing provides the liver with support to open up its natural pathways designed by nature to release toxins that have built up to allow the liver “unclog.”
When the liver gets exhausted due to toxic overload, it struggles with its daily job of processing hormones and chemicals created in the body.
Toxic overload can lead to symptoms like fatigue, depression, headaches, skin problems, digestive distress (IBS, acid reflux, and constipation), allergies, and weight gain. How many of these symptoms have you felt or are you currently feeling?
Wouldn’t you like to unload all of those toxins and feel some relief from these bothersome thyroid symptoms so that you can regain your health and vitality?
So, what can you do?
Toxins are everywhere in our industrialized world but don’t feel discouraged. Here are five simple steps you can take to decrease your thyroid toxic load which will help your thyroid function better and more efficiently.
5 Steps You Can Take to Decrease Your Thyroid Toxic Load
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins out of your system. Consuming mineral-rich drinks, such as coconut water, will allow for optimal hydration especially during the heat of the summer. On average, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces when it comes to water – good filtered water of course.
I use a water filter at home that removes the fluoride and chlorine which compete with iodide in the body – and you need iodine for proper thyroid function.
2. Skip the plastic bottles
I used to buy distilled water from a water delivery company but the water always came in these huge plastic bottles! I know how convenient it is to grab water on the go but most of it is packaged in plastic bottles. Plastics contain “plasticizers” such as Bisphenol A (or BPA) which are considered endocrine disruptors.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system (this is your hormone system) and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in the body. Instead of purchasing water, opt for a home water filtration system and use a glass or BPA-free water bottle that you can take with you on the go.
My favorite water bottle is the Ello Pure BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle which my sister got me for a birthday gift. You can find these on Amazon.
3. Eat real clean food
I know that eating organics can be a drain on the pocketbook, but this is a great way to decrease your toxic load. Choose organic when you can and stay away from packaged food in boxes or bags. This means you avoid foods with pesticides, herbicides, nitrates, steroids, or hormones.
I realize organic foods are more expensive so if you need tips on how to prioritize your organic purchases, read my previous blog post on “Organics and Thyroid – What’s the Connection?”
4. Drink alkalizing juices and smoothies
If you are constipated, this only adds to the toxic burden in the body. To increase elimination (yes, I mean pooping), consider substituting a “liquid” breakfast for one that you need to chew. This gives your digestive system a break and allows the nutrients to get into your system faster. Green juices and smoothies are great because they are nutrient-rich and alkalizing.
Additionally, with the fiber in the fruit and veggies you can blend into a smoothie, you should see an increase in elimination. Help it along with a morning juice or smoothie with lots of fiber. Note that some juicers extract the fiber and some keep it in.
I prefer to use a Nutri-bullet to blend up my smoothies when I want the fiber and not just the juice.
5. Eat simple non-allergenic foods
Eating simple non-allergenic foods in their most natural state is a simple way to restore your body and allow its natural detoxification processes and pathways to take place. This means removing the common allergens for a while to see how you feel. Many of us are unaware of our “response” to common allergens such as soy, milk, and nuts unless we take them out of our diet for a while and really pay attention.
You may have come to accept common symptoms such as congestion or headaches as “normal” if you are sensitive to a food or ingredient. The best way to know is to be your own health detective and remove those foods for a while and keep notes on how you feel.
Summer is a good time to implement some of these changes and dial the toxins down. If you want a step-by-step program to get started and give your liver some love, consider joining my program, Thyroid Kickstart!
With this program, you’ll get 75 scrumptious recipes that will improve digestion, decrease inflammation, dial down the toxins, and keep you feeling satisfied.
Plus, in 17 days, you’ll have cracked the code on your own personal thyroid diet that works for you! Hope to see you there!