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We are exposed daily to hundreds of chemicals ranging from naturally occurring gases and heavy metals to agricultural and household chemicals. We can be exposed through the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.

We are exposed daily to hundreds of chemicals ranging from naturally occurring gases and heavy metals to agricultural and household chemicals. We can be exposed through the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Fortunately, foods can also come to the rescue, as they can cleanse our bodies at different levels. Specific foods are used to cleanse the gastrointestinal tract, balance and rebuild the blood, and assist in liver function.

High-fibre foods help bind toxins in the gastrointestinal tract so they are efficiently eliminated. All plant foods have fibre, and it's the insoluble, undigestible fibre that can help with cleansing. Built-up debris from processed foods and improper digestion is gently brushed away through the regular consumption of fibre. This buildup, often referred to as mucoidal plaque, reduces the body's ability to absorb nutrients, and feelings of lethargy, depression and symptoms of malnourishment may result. Scrubbing away this plaque results in less toxicity exposure; consequently, fatigue and gastrointestinal discomfort are often reduced.

Powerful Chlorophyll

Juices, foods and supplements from green plants have a cleansing action and help support the blood due to the presence of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants used to harness the sun's light and create energy for the life of the plant. It also helps fortify the blood. Ultimately, the blood is the carrier of nutrients and eliminated toxic wastes; therefore, it too needs to be supported during cleansing activities.

In fact, the chlorophyll molecule is almost identical to the heme portion of the hemoglobin found in our red blood cells. It has been known since 1936, when an article appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, that chlorophyll stimulates hemoglobin and red blood cell production. Studies on cell mutation have shown chlorophyll, like various other plant pigments, also exhibits potent anti-cancer effects.

Alkaline Juices

Cleansing juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables support and cleanse the body by helping to return the blood's pH levels to a more alkaline state. New theories under investigation explain that disease, viruses and bacteria are more likely to flourish in an acidic environment. Even lemon juice in water can be used as a daily blood balancer. It may taste acidic due to the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) content, but it ultimately has an alkalinizing effect. Beet, carrot and cucumber juices all have the same effect. In addition, both unpasteurized, raw sauerkraut and lactic acid fermented juices are tremendous cleansers of the intestinal tract.

The major and hardest-working cleansing organ is the liver. With more than 500 functions, and depending on our diet and lifestyle habits, it is easy for this organ to get overworked and succumb to toxic overload. Foods with liver-cleansing properties include dandelion greens, beets, artichokes and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale. This latter group contains chemical compounds that help prevent carcinogens previously broken down from the liver from regrouping and causing mischief. These compounds have also been shown to help with the liver's elimination of chemicals.

One major benefit of eating cleansing foods is increased energy, the result of better absorption and more highly oxygenated blood. We can also decrease seemingly unrelated mental problems. The brain needs oxygen and is continually exposed to our blood. There is a blood-brain barrier that filters out toxic and potentially harmful substances, but if the blood is helping to eliminate many toxins from the cells in the body, then we may experience mental confusion, depression and irritability. All these can be reduced or eliminated through regular cleansing.

Disease prevention is another benefit of utilizing the cleansing power of foods. Colorectal, breast and pancreatic cancers are associated with low-fibre diets. Cleansing has been shown to assist with obesity, chemical poisoning, arthritis, allergies, psoriasis, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, neurosis and schizophrenia.

The American Institute for Cancer Research, in its recent study Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Study, stated that diets high in vegetables, fibre and starch possibly decrease risk of colon and rectal cancers. Fibre may assist in reducing toxicity exposure by brushing away putrefying food trapped in the colorectal region.

The First Steps

Cleansing foods can be implemented into your daily program easily, effectively and affordably. Start the day with a squeeze of lemon juice in a cup of warm water and drink upon rising. Not only does this fortify the blood, but it also clears and activates the digestive system after a night's sleep. Whole- grain cereal, such as oatmeal topped with ground flax seed, will provide plenty of toxin-grabbing fibre. A daily fresh-pressed juice with something green in it (wheatgrass, parsley, kale, collards or spinach) will not only provide some chlorophyll but also beneficial enzymes. Or maybe incorporate these ingredients in a soup, stir-fry or large salad.

If your lifestyle is too busy for fresh greens, a supplement containing powdered wheatgrass, chlorella, chlorophyll or spirulina would still be beneficial. Avoid hydrogenated fats, saturated fats, sugars, alcohol and smoking to prevent re-pollution of the body.

Whole grains at lunch or dinner can also provide added fibre throughout the day, and don't forget the power veggies such as beets, artichokes and the cruciferous family of broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. These daily habits will assist your body in its natural detoxification and cleansing processes, but you also need plenty of fluids to assist the blood's task of delivering nutrients and carrying wastes. Plenty of pure, filtered water and herbal teas, such as burdock, dandelion, red clover and pau d'arco, also can contribute to a clean bill of health.

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