No evidence supports the notion that a particular food or drink can directly detox your body of toxic substances, including heavy metals. Seek immediate medical attention if you're experiencing heavy-metal poisoning. If you're concerned about the buildup of heavy metals in your body, take steps to eat a diet that supports your liver and kidneys, the organs that help rid your body of these substances.
About Heavy Metals
Heavy metals are minerals that occur in food and the environment. Some are essential for health, including zinc, iron and copper. These heavy metals generally come from the food you eat. Other heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic and mercury, can be dangerous to your health, especially in excessive amounts. You may be exposed to these more dangerous metals through your environment, such as your home, or through the food you eat, such as fish.
How Your Body Detoxes
As long as they're in good health, your liver and kidneys will rid your body of toxic substances such as heavy metals. Your liver does most of the work by filtering the toxins from your blood and transforming them into something your body can use; processing them to make them less harmful; or getting rid of them in your urine through your kidneys or through feces or sweat.
Diet for Liver and Kidney Health
To support cleansing your body of heavy metals, you need to eat foods that keep your liver and kidneys healthy. That means a diet low in fat and high in fiber. The American Liver Foundation suggests more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, beans, lowfat milk and healthy oils. You also need to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Heavy-metal poisoning takes place when an overaccumulation of any of these metals occurs in your soft tissue. This type of poisoning can be serious. Signs and symptoms of heavy-metal poisoning depend on the cause. For example, arsenic poisoning can lead to abdominal pain, low blood pressure, jaundice or coma. Treatment includes eliminating exposure to the toxic substance along with the appropriate medical treatment. Only a doctor can properly treat heavy-metal poisoning.
- Today's Dietitian: Spring Cleansing: Assessing the Benefits and Risks of Detox Diets
- Oregon Public Health Division: Heavy Metals and Your Health: Frequently Asked Questions About Testing, Treatment and Prevention
- National Organization of Rare Diseases: Heavy Metal Poisoning
- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh: Liver: Functions and Information
- KidsHealth: Are Detox Diets Safe?
- American Liver Foundation: Healthy Foods