By removing certain foods, consumer products and behaviors from your life, you eliminate exposure to toxic influences that contribute to disease and malaise, while opening space for the introduction of health-promoting influences in their place.
Story at a glance:
- Removing toxic exposures from your life can help reduce your risk of disease and increase your quality of life and well-being.
- The No. 1 item to remove is linoleic acid, the primary fatty acid found in vegetable/seed oils in most processed and restaurant foods.
- Other items to eliminate for better health include artificial sweeteners, plastic food containers and bottles and nonstick cookware.
- Antibacterial soaps, commercial cleaning and personal care products and EMFs from your cellphone should also be eliminated as much as possible.
- Avoiding eating after dinner and replacing your desk chair with a standup desk round out the list of items you can do for optimal health.
1. Linoleic acid: Linoleic acid is the primary fat found in polyunsaturated fatty acids, including vegetable/seed oils, and accounts for about 80% of the fat composition of vegetable oils. Omega-6 fats must be balanced with omega-3 fats in order to not be harmful, but this isn’t the case for most Americans. Most of the omega-6 people eat, including seed oils, has been damaged and oxidized through processing.
“Most of this linoleic acid, when it oxidizes, it develops lipid hydroperoxides and then these rapidly degenerate into … oxidized linoleic acid metabolites,” says Dr. Chris Knobbe, an ophthalmologist and the founder and president of the Cure AMD Foundation.
According to Knobbe, OXLAMs (oxidized linoleic acid metabolites) are:
- Cytotoxic and genotoxic
Metabolic dysfunction can also occur, while OXLAMs are toxic to the liver and are associated with inflammation, fibrosis and fatty liver disease in humans.
Linoleic acid is found in virtually every processed food, including restaurant foods, sauces and salad dressings, so to eliminate it you’ll need to eliminate most processed foods and restaurant foods from your diet — unless you can confirm that the chef only cooks with butter.
Olive oil is another health food that can be a hidden source of linoleic acid, as it’s often cut with cheaper seed oils.
2. Eating after dinner: The timing of your meals is nearly as important as the foods that make them up. Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a simple powerful intervention that mimics the eating habits of our ancestors and restores your body to a more natural state that allows a whole host of metabolic benefits to occur.
TRE involves limiting your eating window to six to eight hours per day instead of the more than 12-hour window most people use.
Research shows, for instance, that TRE promotes insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar management by increasing insulin-mediated glucose uptake rates, which is important for resolving Type 2 diabetes.
3. EMFs and cellphones: Most cellphones include a little-known warning that states to keep the phone a certain distance away from your body — usually 5 to 15 millimeters — to limit radiofrequency exposure to under the federal safety limit. If you carry your phone in your pocket or your bra, or hold it against your ear when you talk, you’re violating this warning with unknown health consequences.
Devra Davis, Ph.D., founder and president of the Environmental Health Trust, has warned for years about the risks of cellphones in general but, in particular, about the risks to pregnant women and their unborn children, noting that prenatal animal studies have shown exposure to radiation from cellphones:
- Altered DNA
- Altered brain metabolism
- Compromised spinal cords
- Affected learning abilities
Research conducted by the National Toxicology Program also found “clear evidence” that exposure to cellphone radiation led to heart tumors in the male rats, along with “some evidence” that it caused brain and adrenal gland tumors in them.
While most people won’t want to eliminate their cellphone entirely, avoid carrying it on your body and keep it in airplane mode as much as possible.
However, even in airplane mode it can still emit signals, which is why you should not sleep with it in your bedroom and should turn it off at night.
4. Artificial sweeteners: Consuming artificially sweetened foods and beverages leads to disruptions to metabolism and has been linked to increased appetite and cravings, as well as an increased risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
The artificial sweeteners acesulfame potassium and sucralose — brand name Splenda —may even interfere with your liver’s detoxification process, as research found they inhibited the activity of P-glycoprotein, a “defense protein” that’s important for protecting organisms against environmental toxins.
Because P-glycoprotein also plays a role in other body functions, including maintaining the blood-brain barrier, the researchers stressed the need for further research to determine how artificial sweeteners may be affecting other organs beyond the liver.
Specifically, total cancer risks increased by 13% among artificial sweetener consumers, while the risk of breast cancer rose by 22% and the risk of obesity-related cancers increased up to 15%.
In addition to their common usage in diet beverages and low-sugar snacks, be aware that artificial sweeteners are hidden in many products that might surprise you, including dairy products, ketchup, salad dressing, baked goods and medications.
5. Plastic food containers and bottles: If you’re still storing your food in plastic containers or drinking from plastic bottles, switching to safe alternatives like glass, ceramic and stainless steel is a smart choice.