Detoxification and Hot Yoga
The body has 5 detoxification organs – liver, kidneys, large intestine, lungs and skin. The liver is the body’s main detoxification organ. Detoxification occurs by two phases in the liver. Phase 1 transforms fat-soluble toxins (pesticides, food additives, pollutants, etc.) into less toxic fat-soluble compounds. While phase 2 takes the fat-soluble toxin and transforms it into a water-soluble toxin where it can be eliminated via the kidneys and intestine. There are certain nutrients to help each phase function optimally – B vitamins are extremely important for phase 1, while amino acids and brassica vegetables are required for phase 2.
So where exactly do all these toxins come from?
Many toxins come from our food, beauty products, food and beverage containers, cleaners, air pollution, etc. The Environmental Working Group just released 2016’s Dirty Dozen list – with strawberries topping the list for the most pesticide residue (even after washing!). Many food additives have also be found to be toxic. Beauty products often contain many toxins, including pthalates and parabens (check out some of my favourite green beauty products). If you haven’t made the switch to glass or aluminum water bottles or food containers, plasticizers like BPA have been shown to mimic estrogen and cause havoc with hormones.
If my sweat only contains a few toxins, what else can I do for my practice?
Let’s be honest — many of us participate in hot yoga because we like the feeling of sweating out culinary and liquid transgressions. While only a few toxins are actually eliminated through sweat, we can set up our practice so that we’re minimizing our toxic burden and helping promote other detoxification organs.
- Water bottle: Many yoga studios have filtered water available! Be sure to fill up with water before and after class. Most importantly, invest in a glass or stainless steel bottle – it will help keep plasticizers, like BPA out of your system.
- Washing up: If you have the opportunity, take a shower after class! Lathering with soap will help rid your body of whatever toxins got out from sweating, and prevent them from getting back in. Pro-tip: use a eco-friendly body wash minimize your toxic load.
- Snacking: While refuelling with carbs are important, be sure to add protein to not only help with muscle repair, but to encourage phase 2 to transform fat soluble toxins to water soluble toxins. Plus if you’re eating any fruits of vegetables off the Dirty Dozen, try to go organic instead!
Part 1: Hydration and Hot Yoga
Part 2: Snacking and Hot Yoga
Part 3: Muscles and Hot Yoga