mercury in fish photo

Mercury can build up in our systems for a number of reasons. Many of us have turned to fish to reduce our cholesterol and blood pressure because it’s a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and protein. But eating fish too often, especially certain kinds of fish, can expose us to high levels of mercury and other heavy metals.

This happens when waters are polluted as a result of coal- and oil-fired power plants emitting high levels of mercury. Pollution and other chemicals in our lives can mean mercury and other heavy metals build up in our systems. Here’s how to detoxify your system of mercury and heavy metal poisoning.

1. Cut out seafood.

Certain fish are higher in mercury than others. According to the FDA, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish are particularly high in mercury as are larger fish that are higher on the food chain. But if you’re trying to detox your body of mercury and other heavy metals, you may want to consider giving up all seafood for a few months.

2. Drink filtered water.

Drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water per day. I go to Whole Foods and fill containers with reverse osmosis water every week. Reverse osmosis water is filtered for heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, and other toxins that can cause heavy metal poisoning.

3. Consider oil pulling.

Oil pulling is one of my favorite detox rituals. It whitens your teeth and cleans heavy metals from your blood stream. Take a little less than a tablespoon of organic coconut oil and put it in your mouth. Start swishing–the goal is to keep swishing for about 20 minutes, which is the amount of time it takes to fully detox your mouth. Spit whatever you don’t swallow in a trash can, because it can clog your plumbing.

4. Incorporate foods that are good for elimination.

Adding garlic to your diet is a good choice because it contains sulfur compounds, which bind to mercury and push it out of your system. Cilantro is also beneficial because it’s loaded with vitamin A, which is important for detoxification.

5. Optimize liver function.

The liver is the most important organ for detoxing the body, so ensuring its optimal function is key. Avoid alcohol and all unnecessary medications so that your liver can focus on other toxins in the body like mercury.

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Image: Gideon