Our bodies are pretty amazing. We can eat and drink all kinds of crazy things and for the most part our bodies are just going to take care of it… for a while at least. Day after day, our bodies are busy getting rid of all of the toxins that we are constantly creating and ingesting. Food, water, air, stress, hormones, pesticides… all are considered toxins. Toxins include those naturally found in small amounts in foods, synthetic toxins found in medicines, pesticides, and preservatives, and our body even makes its own toxins through normal everyday processes like digestion, metabolism, and physical activity.
The good news is that your body does a great job breaking down toxins and eliminating them. Detoxification is your body’s own process for breaking down and eliminating toxins and because the world is full of toxins that can affect us, we’ve evolved some pretty sophisticated detoxification systems.
Detoxification systems are mainly in the liver, but are also located in the kidneys, gut, etc. They help to make toxins less dangerous and allow them to be excreted mostly through urine and stool (and also through breathing and sweating).
What does this have to do with nutrition on the road?
These detox systems are made from many biochemicals in our bodies, such as enzymes. Part of what makes enzymes work are key essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. So, getting quality nutrition on the road helps your body maintain all aspects of your health—including detoxification.
Here are a few simple things you can do every day to “detox” yourself even on the road:
1. Avoid Toxins
One of the best ways to help your body detox is to limit your exposure to toxins in the first place. This seems rather difficult due to the “toxins” being literally everywhere, but we can start by avoiding things like tobacco and limiting alcohol. When alcohol is introduced to the body, it takes approximately an hour for the liver to process and metabolize it. Each additional alcoholic drink takes longer to metabolize. When the liver can’t keep up with the amount of alcohol consumed, the excess alcohol overflows into the bloodstream. The liver processes alcohol before other toxins – which can even mean those toxins we are processing from food, water, medications, stress, etc.
2. Stay hydrated
To me hydration is one of the biggest keys to staying well when you are traveling. Staying hydrated on the road might be difficult but this is oh so important. Not only will it help detox by getting rid of toxins thru the urine (urea which is excreted in the urine), but will also help save you from constipation. Less water = less elimination and more toxin build-up. This combination is definitely not the making for a good trip, so remember to drink up buttercup!
3. Eat Cruciferous Vegetables
When you are on the road, it might be hard to find fresh veggies, but take advantage of local farmer’s markets and grocery stores that might carry some cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetable are really potent! Look for broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy or even some wild greens like Purslane! These potent veggies contain compounds that help support our detox pathways. One of these powerful compounds can be produced when the plant compound glucoraphanin is activated by the enzyme myrosinase to create the bioactive Sulforaphane. Sulforaphane in the body activates the body’s best defense against oxidative stress and is responsible for activating the genes that control antioxidants, anti-inflammation, and detoxification. One of the highest sources of Sulforaphane is in broccoli sprouts.
Want to grow your own broccoli sprouts? Check out this video from Dr. Rhonda Patrick on how to safely grow your own sprouts…and you can freeze them! https://youtu.be/U9iL8Kvug
Glutathione, a nutrient produced by the liver, is comprised of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamate. Glutathione helps your body process and eliminate toxins, boots your immune system, supports energy production, and is a potent free radical scavenger. Sulfur contains the amino acid cysteine, one of the three amino acids that make up glutathione, so consuming sulfur-rich foods can assist your body in making glutathione. Sulfur-rich foods include beef, poultry, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower.
4. Focus on Fiber for Detox
Focus on dietary fiber by eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. By promoting bowel regularity, these help to eliminate toxins from the body via the stool.
Types of Fiber – Soluble fiber dissolves in water and acts like a sponge. When eaten it creates a sticky bolus [a small gel-like mass] that helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. It also works with your liver to escort excess hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, from the body. Sources: oats, oat bran, beans, lentils, chia seed, flax meal, nuts and seeds, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, blueberries, pears, and sweet potatoes.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and acts like a broom, facilitating movement of food through the digestive tract. It also contributes to bulking up stool which promotes regularity and reduces constipation. Sources: whole grains, vegetables [like zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots], avocado, leafy greens.
The amount of dietary fiber varies for everyone, depending on age and gender, but generally it is recommended to aim for more than 25g – 30g daily. Eating a daily diet rich in plants with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and beans can ensure you get adequate amounts.
5. Add in Fermented Foods
Enjoy some naturally fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. These promote digestive health and support your gut microbiome.
Fermentation is simply the process of breaking down food using beneficial bacteria and/or yeast. The bacteria and yeast break down the food, releasing probiotics and enzymes which can aid in digestion. This process also helps preserve the food, which is why many fermented foods have such a long shelf life.
Both probiotics (the beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods) and prebiotics (the food that the probiotics feed on) can help support a healthy gut microbiome, which is important for overall health. In addition, studies have shown that probiotics can help support your immune system, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, regulate blood sugar levels and even improve your mood!
Looking to learn more about how to ferment you own foods – check out this wonderful resource! https://www.wildfermentation.com/
Prioritizing your body’s detoxification process while on the road is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. By implementing the five best ways to support your body during your travels, you can optimize your detoxification pathways and feel rejuvenated throughout your journey. Remember to avoid toxins, stay hydrated, choose some cruciferous veggies, focus on fiber, and don’t forget to add in some probiotics. These simple yet powerful strategies will help you cleanse your body, boost your energy levels, and ensure a vibrant and fulfilling travel experience. Embrace these practices and let your body thank you for the care and attention it deserves. Safe travels and happy detoxing!