Losing weight may not be as simple as going to the gym and eating right.
Scientists have recently discovered that environmental toxins that enter our bodies through the food we eat and the products we use in our homes could keep us fat.
The human body is designed to continuously and naturally eliminate unwanted toxins. But if the digestive system, liver, and kidneys aren’t working optimally, these toxins will literally embed themselves in fat cells where they can be stored for years.
Understanding how to rid your fat cells of toxins could be what it takes to shake off those stubborn pounds.
But how are toxins removed from fat cells?
First let’s look at why your body stores toxins in fat and what you can do about it.
Why does your body store toxins in fat?
In the 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ran a program called National Human Adipose Tissue Survey (NHATS).
They found that all the human fat samples contained trace amounts of four industrial solvents and one dioxin. Nine more chemicals, including three more dioxins, were found in more than 90% of the grease samples, and on average, 83% of the samples contained PCBs(1✓)✓ Trusted resourcePubMed CenterHighly respected database of the National Institutes of Healthread source.
Dioxins are a group of toxic chemical compounds that include chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDD), chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDF), and certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They are formed during combustion processes such as waste incineration, forest fires, chlorine bleaching of pulp and paper, smoking, and herbicide manufacturing (2). They can also get into drinking water.
There are two types of toxins that can enter the body:
- Water Soluble Toxins: toxins that are easily removed from the body through the blood, lungs, and kidneys.
- Fat-soluble toxins: toxins that must be converted by the liver to become water soluble, before being eliminated.
Fat-soluble toxins include heavy metals, environmental pollutants, pesticides, plastics, preservatives, food additives, and other environmental chemicals.
If our detoxification organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and digestive tract, are not working optimally, these fat-soluble toxins can stay in our bodies for years.
How the liver removes toxins from the body
A healthy functioning liver produces bile which is then stored in the gallbladder. Whenever you consume fat, bile from the gallbladder is used to help digest it. Bile is also used to remove worn-out red blood cells and certain toxins from your body.
When you digest food, both nutritious and toxic fats are transferred from the stomach to the small intestine, where the liver and gallbladder secrete bile.
In the small intestine, there are millions of tiny villi and lacteal, finger-like “hairs” that simultaneously sweep the intestine, emulsifying fat, and sending toxic fats to the liver for processing.
If this pathway fails at some point in a person’s life, the body stores toxic fats instead of eliminating them.
Gut-associated lymphatic tissue
Gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT), which surrounds the entire intestinal tract, is the beginning of the body’s lymphatic system. It is here that these tiny microvilli and dairy absorb and process both nutritional and toxic fats. Nutritious or good fats are used for energy, cholesterol, hormones, and brain cells, while toxic fats are processed for disposal.
If the lymphatic system becomes congested and if the detoxification pathways in the liver and large intestine are not working properly, the body begins to store toxic fats instead of eliminating them.
The toxic fats then recirculate in the blood and are eventually absorbed into fat cells throughout the body. These toxins can be stored for many years, causing free radical damage and cell degeneration. They interfere with metabolism and can lead to abdominal weight gain.
Signs of a congested GALT include:
- Holding extra weight around the belly
- Irritations or itching on the skin
- joint stiffness
- swollen hands and feet
- Elimination problems (constipation or diarrhea)
- occasional headaches
Once inside the body, these chemicals can interfere with our ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol. Over time, this leads to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.
As you can see, getting rid of these toxins from our bodies is of the utmost importance if we want to feel and look our best.
How to remove toxins from fat cells
Food allergies, excessive body weight, poor diet, and high stress levels all contribute to poor toxin elimination. There are many small changes you can make on your own that can make a big difference.
Try the following suggestions to help your body eliminate toxins naturally:
While the word ‘detox’ may seem a bit daunting, it’s not as scary as you might think. Our bodies detoxify naturally every day. Supporting that system is what you need to do to improve the process and keep things running smoothly.
Periodically detoxifying the liver can prevent it from becoming too congested. You can take a variety of different herbs, such as dandelion root and milk thistle, or perform a juice cleanse, integrating liver-supporting juices.
In addition to herbs and juices, try to consume at least 3-4 liters of filtered or spring water every day. I stress filtered or spring water because tap water is loaded with chemicals. Your kidneys are responsible for removing waste from your blood, so by hydrating your kidneys, you’ll improve the process of eliminating toxins every time you urinate.
Also, you should always do your best to opt for organic foods instead of conventional ones and clean your home with natural products. The more toxins you expose yourself to, the harder your body will have to work to eliminate them.
2. Eat well
Eating right is another important component in keeping your body free of toxins. Eat a wide variety of plant-based foods to increase the fiber content in your diet. You want enough dietary fiber in your diet to absorb the bile.
Cut out any processed, prepackaged, and boxed foods, as well as alcohol and caffeine. Eliminate refined sugars, additives, sweeteners, preservatives, artificial flavors, food colors, and dyes. Respect sensitivities to foods like gluten and dairy, which have the ability to cause even more inflammation.
Fruits, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs, as well as nuts and seeds, are all good choices and are packed with important nutrients.
If you really have problems with constipation, then again, drink those 3-4 liters of water a day (optimally 20-30 minutes before a meal). Also, taking a daily probiotic or sprinkling 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed on your food every day can go a long way with the elimination process.
3. Get in shape
Staying active is another great way to prevent toxic overload. Sweating will help your body expel toxins through the skin (our largest organ of elimination). If you have access to a sauna, this is even better, as it facilitates a body’s response of intense sweating, which flushes out toxins at a faster rate.
The more you move, the more you stimulate the lymphatic system, as well as your cardiovascular system. Therefore, the move will not only benefit the elimination of toxins, but also keep you young and healthy.
Consider activities like walking, swimming, rebounding, yoga, jogging, dancing, or anything else you like to do to stay active. Aim for 30 minutes at least four times a week.
Stress is the main cause of inflammation in the body. Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which temporarily shuts down our digestion. This interferes with the exchange of fats and nutrients in your GALT.
Practice different relaxation techniques such as art therapy, conscious breathing, meditation, yoga or listen to this song.
I personally like to do intentional breath work, as the lungs help oxygenate the brain and body. Breathing deeply can also help open up areas of the lungs that might otherwise be clogged from years of shallow breathing.
When I do breath work, I like to sit with my back on the floor so my legs have room to relax on the edge of a couch or bed. I then place one hand on my chest and one hand on my belly, and focus on breathing only with my belly. You can feel with your hands if your chest is moving or not. Try to let your breath lift only your belly so that your chest stays flat. Inhale for 10 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, then release for 10 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, and repeat. Do this for 5-10 minutes a day.
The bottom line
If you’re struggling to lose weight despite exercising and eating right, toxins may be interfering with your metabolism and fat burning processes.
When fat-soluble toxins can’t be removed by a clogged detoxification system, they linger in the body for years, causing problems with fat gain, fatigue, diabetes, and more.
By supporting your detox system, eating better, sweating more often, and stressing less, you can help flush out the toxins that can keep you from achieving your major health goals.