Many of us associate toxins with strong chemicals that are corrosive and have strong repulsive smells, but in reality, most of the toxic substances we are often exposed to have no smell and are invisible to our eyes.
According to Paul Lutaakome, a nutritionist at Jinja Referral Hospital, many of us have significant toxicity in our bodies and are not aware of it.

“The body stores toxins in fat cells. Fat accumulation is, therefore, linked to high toxic levels in the body. The body stores toxins in fat cells to protect you. Because the liver is the organ that has the primary responsibility to deactivate and remove toxins (detoxification), the body tries to store the toxins as close as possible to the liver,” Dr Lutaakome says.

What happens?
When the liver gets on with its detoxification work, the toxins are already nearby. Building up of fat in the abdomen is therefore what the body does in response to a high toxic level. This abdominal fat that is used to store toxins is called visceral fat. Toxins by nature cause injury or inflammation to different parts of the body, says Amanda Tumwebaze, a freelance nutritionist. Once you have inflammation, then that part of the body will not function well.

For the liver to effectively do its work, it requires a large number of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients that are very abundant in plants and specifically in non-starchy vegetables (such as cabbage, spinach, broccoli, beetroot, carrots, ginger and garlic) as well as in fruits.

Uncooked food
Dr Lutaakome recommends that everyone get between three to seven days of eating only uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. This is because heat destroys many of the vitamins and plant nutrients and so, eating these foods uncooked is the best way to support detoxification.
Tumwebaze says, “Since some of the vegetables are not easily eaten uncooked, they can be made into juice. Detoxifying can be done at least twice a year and when you want to go on a detox, there are important things you should do.”

What to avoid
Remove things from your diet that do not support detoxification or that can make it harder for your body to detoxify. These include sugar, packed juices, soda and all sweetened beverages, among others.

Foods high in refined carbohydrates such as bread, cake, chapatti, mandazi, pasta, biscuits, pizza, white rice, cornflakes and even posho; Red meat such as beef, goat, sheep and pork, including all processed meat such as sausages. Refined cooking oils and deep fried foods such as chips and crisps.

Do things that support detoxification such as drinking a lot of water and sleeping for at least seven to eight hours, which helps your body focus on detoxification.

Supplements
“Consider using some herbs and supplements to help the liver detoxify. Some good herbs, vitamins and supplements to use include dandelion, milk thistle, maca powder, matcha green tea, aloe vera and Vitamin C,” says Dr Lutaakome.

Signs
If you have any of these symptoms and have not been able to figure out why you have them, now you may have an explanation and it may be time to consider supporting your body to detoxify.
• Accumulation of abdominal fat, trouble losing weight.
• Low energy and feeling fatigued.
• Unexplained headaches and migraines.
• Forgetfulness, memory problems and difficulty concentrating or focusing.
• Feeling depressed and having mood changes.
• Nonspecific body pain and soreness
• Sexual challenges and dysfunction.
• Skin eruptions, wrinkles and unexplained skin problems.

bnakibuuka@ug.nationmedia.com