If you are concerned about heavy metals and their effect on your health, eating certain foods may help to detoxify these toxic chemicals from your body. Heavy metals found in our teeth, our homes and in our air can have long-lasting toxic effect on our organs, becoming lodged in the tissues of our liver, kidneys, hair, skin and bones. However, some whole foods protect our bodies from mercury, cadmium and lead, improving our ability to chelate and excrete them safely. Consult with your health care provider before combining natural remedies with prescription medications.
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Chlorella is a green algae rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and chlorophyll. In a study published in "Nutrition Research and Practice" by the Korean Ewha Womans University in 2009, researchers investigated the detoxifying properties of chlorella in animals given high doses of the heavy metal cadmium. Chlorella reduced the amount of cadmium that became lodged into the cellular tissues of the animals and increased the levels of cadmium that were detoxified through the urine and feces. Chlorella when taken internally can counteract the toxic and dangerous effects of heavy metals and aid in their safe excretion from the body.
Cilantro is a culinary and medicinal herb more commonly known as coriander. The leaves of the cilantro plant are rich in essential oils with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and detoxifying properties. According to Kevin Gianni, author of "High Raw," cilantro leaves have significant chelating properties, binding to heavy metals in the tissues and helping to carry them outside of the body. Cilantro can be taken as an herbal extract, a tea or consumed regularly in foods as a fresh green.
Pectin is a form of soluble fiber that is found in many fruits, including apples, pears and citrus. In a clinical trial published in "Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine" in 2008, children with high levels were given pectin supplements to test the detoxification properties of the fiber. Children given pectin had significantly lower levels of lead in the blood, and the excretion of lead through the urine increased by up to 132 percent. Eating pectin-rich fruits in the diet helps with digestion and liver health, supporting proper detoxification by binding toxins and heavy metals and carrying them out of the body.
Milk Thistle Seeds
Milk thistle seeds are used in Western herbal medicine as a protective and toning plant for the liver. In a study published in "The Journal of Biological Research" in 2000, researchers tested the effects of both garlic and milk thistle seeds on animals poisoned with high doses of mercury. In the animals treated with milk thistle seeds, the liver organs were protected against some of the harmful effects of the mercury. Taking milk thistle seeds as a supplement or a herbal tea helps to prevent heavy metal toxicity and supports the functional health of the liver.
According to research published in "The Korean Journal of Medical Science" in 1987, garlic aids in the detoxification of heavy metals. Researchers from Korea University administered garlic to animals poisoned with heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. Garlic protected organs from heavy metal toxicity with comparable efficacy to standard prescription drugs and aided in the excretion of cadmium through the feces and urine. Crushed garlic should be consumed fresh, uncooked to preserve its medicinal actions, or it can be taken as a dietary supplement.