You've probably seen heavy metal toxicity mentioned in health websites and by wellness experts a lot lately.
But what exactly does the term mean? Holly Zoccolan, nutritional health coach and founder of The Health Zoc, explains that heavy metal toxicity refers to the exposure to heavy metals such as mercury, lead, aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, and nickel, all of which can accumulate within the body over years without a person actually realising what is happening.
Common ways to be exposed include via household products, farmed fish, and dental fillings, with the contact potentially leading to problems with the central nervous system, damage to vital organs, and severe brain fog.
"Once heavy metals have entered your bloodstream, they then travel through your body entering your cells and organs to be stored; and they can remain stored in your cells for years so it's important that we become aware of what they are," she said. "Mercury is one of the deadliest heavy metals there is, specifically impacting our central nervous system. Exposure to mercury and other heavy metals comes from household substances such as cosmetics, fabric softeners, foil, antiperspirants, stainless steel cutlery, drinking contaminated water, metal dental fillings, air pollution, processed foods, and farmed fish. We can also be affected from birth as the heavy metals are passed onto the baby from the mother."
To treat heavy metal toxicity, Holly recommends removing common food allergens such as gluten and dairy from a diet for around 10 days, as well as processed foods, additives, alcohol, and refined sugar, so the liver can get to work sifting out the toxins.
"Throughout the detox, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, around two litres per day if possible. We want to be consuming a range of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and rocket as these are some of the most powerful heavy metal detox foods. Include foods that are rich in vitamin C as they are high antioxidant foods and help to reduce damage caused by the heavy metals - foods such as pineapple, oranges, kiwis, bell peppers, and berries," the expert continued. "We should also be adding herbs, spices, and garlic, and onions into our cooking as they are anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, and assist with the detox process. Omega-3 fats such as chia seeds and flaxseeds are also great additions as they help to further reduce inflammation and contain great levels of fibre to get toxins moving out of the body."
To conclude, Holly insisted abiding by this nutrient-rich diet will also help to improve digestive health, skin, and energy levels.