The story appears on

Page B4

April 19, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Expel toxins to clean up your act

THE body must be in top shape to expel toxins. Water, diet, exercise and some special foods are recommended by Zhang Qian.

Toxins are everywhere, in polluted air we breathe, in foods grown with pesticides, in proceed food made with additives; in drinks loaded with preservatives, in soil contaminated with industrial waste, in common chemicals and plastics in our homes (to name a very few).

These are breathed in, ingested and absorbed through the skin, and once in the system many toxins create free radicals and other problems. There are also toxins in accumulated fat, in cholesterol from eating animal fat, and in the stool.

To expel toxins, it's important to keep the body working properly, especially the organs that help eliminate toxins. A healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and certain foods and therapies can help cleanse the body and expel toxins.

"Toxins are inevitable in our lives now," says Dr Tony Lu, chief medical officer of WA Optimum Health Care. He sees more and more children with problems caused by environmental toxins.

"They can be produced within our bodies or introduced into us through what we eat, what we wear and what we use. Even some seemingly helpful things like vitamin pills may turn into toxin when we over dose ourselves, he says, adding that too much of vitamins A, D, E and K will not improve health, but are difficult to expel.

Many people ignore toxin problems because they cannot see what's happening inside the body. But the body does send signals.

Common signs of toxins are blemishes, ulcers and skin rashes, which can also signify other things, according to Dr Lu. Those with severe toxicity may experience headaches, sore muscles and joints, fatigue, insomnia, lowered immunity, more allergies and increased phlegm (which can also signify other problems).

If a cluster of these symptoms occur, a visit to the doctor is in order.

"There is an auto toxin-dispelling system inside our body, but it may fail to function perfectly given that we are facing so many toxins every day," says Dr Lu. "In this case we need to do something to get the system working again."

The liver, large intestine, kidneys and pores are the main organs that help dispel toxins; a healthy diet and regular exercise maintain metabolism and immunity. But sometimes the system needs help.


The liver, the body's largest solid organ, is the most important organ in expelling toxins. It detoxifies by metabolizing and (or) secreting drugs, alcohol and environmental toxins.

Liver damage can be caused by heavy drinking of alcohol or diseases such as hepatitis B. Overwork and insufficient rest decrease liver function.

Foods that help the liver function more efficiently include milk thistle, green tea, turmeric, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and grapes.

Regular bowel movements also expel toxins. Too much highly processed food and irregular diet can contribute to constipation. It's important to drink lots of water every day, as well as fruits an vegetables for fiber. Eating bananas, corn, celery and pumpkin may help ease the problem.

Massaging the belly with the palm can help relive constipation. Massage clockwise in a circle 50 times, then counterclockwise 50 times.

Intestinal lavage (hydrocolonic therapy) helps remove stools, bacteria, mucus, toxins and other elements; the therapy usually requires four to six sessions. It should not be used more than once a year because it also removes the beneficial flora, says Dr Lu, who advises adding lactobaccillus (found in yogurt) shortly after the procedure.

Some people skip meals for one day a week in an effort to eliminate toxins, but that's the wrong approach, says Dr Zhou Duan, head of Internal Medicine at Longhua Hospital attached to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese medicine.

"The metabolism slows if you skip meals, which isn't helpful for toxin elimination," he says. "Instead of not eating, I advise a relatively bland diet one or two days a week."


Kidneys process around 200 quarts of blood each day to sift out around two quarts of waste, including toxins and extra water, which becomes urine and flows to the bladder. It's expelled through urination. Wastes come from normal breakdown of active tissues and food that isn't used by the body. If the kidneys did not eliminate waste they would build up and damage the body.

Drinking more water dilutes toxin density and improves metabolism in the kidneys. Alkaline water is recommended, says Dr Lu, as it gets into cells more easily and removes toxins; acidic water isn't as effective.

Regular moderate physical exercise is important for toxin elimination because it accelerates metabolism and sweating. The skin, which is an organ, helps detoxify through sweat. Occasional heavy sweating in a sauna also helps detoxify.

Gua sha (scraping rashes), a TCM therapy that involves scraping the skin with a horn implement also helps eliminate toxins through pores. The skin is scraped hard until red rashes appear.

Toxin-Expelling Foods


The vegetable jelly contained in many funguses absorbs toxins in the blood and the digestive system; toxins are then eliminated in the stool.


The alginic acid in kelp helps slow the rate at which the intestine absorbs radioactive elements such as strontium.


The galacturonic acid in apples helps accelerate toxin elimination, while pectin helps prevent food from decaying on the intestines.


It helps reduce mercury density in the blood by binding it; then it is expelled in the stool.


It helps liver and intestines in detoxification and strengthens liver function.

Green tea

It accelerates detoxification.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend