Detoxify Your Body for Optimal Heart Health

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Heart Health Principles
Last Reviewed 02/20/2014

Detoxify Your Body for Optimal Heart Health

Here’s another tip about heart health that I believe in, but that I’m willing to bet you won’t hear from most other doctors: Limit your exposure to chemicals in the environment.

I’m not talking only about obvious problems like mercury and other heavy metals (although that’s a big one). I’m talking about the toxins in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, the personal hygiene and cleaning products we use—literally everything around us.

Over time, the chemicals we absorb in small and seemingly insignificant ways—from plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, makeup, toothpaste and even prescription drugs—can build up in the body. When they reach toxic levels, cellular dysfunction and illness can result. That’s why it’s so important to detoxify your body.

I’m convinced that environmental toxicity is a major contributor to many serious medical conditions, including heart disease.

Heavy metal toxicity is particularly threatening to heart health. Mercury vapor emitted from burning coal finds its way into our waters. And what gets into our rivers and streams eventually gets into algae, which in turn is eaten by fish, which are then eaten by humans—who end up with toxic levels of mercury in our bodies.

Another source of mercury is broken-down and cracked mercury amalgams in our teeth. And finally there are concerns about the aluminum and thimerosol (a mercury-based preservative) used in vaccines.

How to Detoxify Your Body

One way to improve your heart health (and your overall health) is through reducing your exposure to environmental toxins. Another is to detoxify your body on a regular basis. Here are five things you can do to help rid your body of unwanted toxins and promote long-term heart health and general well-being.

Sweat It Out

Sweating is a simple and natural way to detoxify your body. When we perspire, the toxins, pesticides and petrochemicals that have been stored in our subcutaneous fat are excreted through our pours via sweat. It should come as no surprise that perhaps my favorite way of working up a good sweat is with a good workout. (I can’t stress enough how important regular exercise is to optimal heart health.)

Another great way to cause a sweat is in a sauna—specifically a far infrared sauna. These units are portable and can be placed indoors or outdoors.

Far infrared energy heats objects by direct molecular excitation, without heating the air surrounding them. Far infrared rays penetrate body tissue much deeper than near infrared rays do. As the body absorbs far infrared heat waves, the transfer of water across cellular membranes increases, thereby improving blood flow and facilitating healing.

No matter which option you choose, just be sure to wipe off perspiration afterward. If perspiration is left on the skin, the toxins may be reabsorbed. Also note that anyone with advanced symptomatic heart disease or unstable angina should not use a sauna unless supervised by a physician.

Breathe Better

Your lungs expel waste products every time you exhale. So full, deep breathing is paramount to good health.

When breathing is restricted, chaotic or dysfunctional in any way, detoxification is impaired. I recommend trying an exercise called the Squeeze and Breathe. It will help you breathe more deeply, which enables the respiratory system to detoxify your body more efficiently.

Try a Detox Drink

Once or twice a week, I suggest you whip up my special Detox Drink to help flush the toxins out of your body. Just drink up and clean out!

Focus on Fiber

Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a primary route of elimination for heavy metals and other toxins, and it cannot clear these agents with a sluggish or stagnant bowel.

The standard American diet includes only 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day—which is simply not enough to keep this critical detoxification mechanism working smoothly. Instead you need at least 30 grams of fiber daily from natural sources, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. This is easily accomplished if you follow my heart-healthy Pan-Asian Mediterranean diet.

Finally, don't neglect exercise. One of the best ways to avoid constipation is through a daily walking program.

Support Your Liver and Kidneys

These two organs have a big job to do, because they are key players in processing and detoxifying your body. Therefore, it’s essential that both your liver and kidneys have plenty of the raw materials needed to support the biochemical processes involved in detoxification.

Two key supplements that can be especially helpful to detoxify your body are N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA).

Your body needs NAC, an amino acid, and ALA, a versatile antioxidant, in order to make glutathione, the body’s most important antioxidant. Glutathione binds together toxins—including heavy metals, solvents and pesticides—for excretion. The more toxins you come into contact with, the more support your body needs. I recommend 300–600 mg daily of NAC and 50–100 mg daily of ALA.

WATCH: The Top 20 Toxins in Our Everyday Environment

Video courtesy of HeartMDInstitute

More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Achieving Optimum Heart Health

How do you attain the proper mind-body balance needed for optimum heart health? Learn eight great stress-reduction techniques that will help promote the mind-body balance you need for a healthy heart.

What two nutritional supplements should everyone take for optimum heart health? Find out which two supplements I recommend for one and all to maintain a healthy heart.

How can the practice of Earthing help you obtain optimum heart health? Discover how reconnecting your body to the natural electrical field of the Earth’s surface can boost heart health.

Read questions and answers about the Principles of a heart-healthy lifestyle.

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