Heavy metals are an unfortunate part of modern life. However, we don’t have to just sit back and let them cause damage unchecked. While we cannot avoid them completely, we can take steps to ensure we minimize the exposure and damage. One of the best ways to do this is with food. Most of you have probably heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” This is certainly true. Taking steps to clean up your diet is a big contributing factor to the amount of heavy metal exposure and damage you will deal with. Finding specific foods that support your detoxification system as well as help cleanse the body of heavy metals and other toxins is essential.

When it comes to overall health, your diet is a big factor. However, lifestyle choices also play a role. Your daily habits can make or break the hard work put in the kitchen eating right. Examples of lifestyle choices include:


  • tobacco use
  • alcohol consumption
  • eating excess processed/fast food
  • lack of exercise

These choices in particular have a drastic influence on the frequency and duration of heavy metal exposure/damage. In this article, we will explore the damage these lifestyle choices can cause. Furthermore, we will look at foods you can eat to cleanse your body of heavy metals and other toxins introduced by poor lifestyle choices.


The Basics Of Heavy Metals

While there are other health implications for poor food and lifestyle choices, we are focusing on heavy metal exposure primarily. Therefore, let’s look at some of the basic info needed to understand why heavy metals are considerably more problematic than many realize.


Where Do They Come From?

Heavy metals are naturally occurring trace elements that are denser than water. They are found all throughout the environment as well as in the earth’s crust. They are also a by-product of several man-made industries. Some examples of business sectors that create heavy metal pollution as a by-product are:


  • Automotive
  • Chemical plants
  • Technology
  • Dentistry
  • Healthcare
  • Mining
  • Steelwork
  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation

Basically, any industry that has made life more convenient has contributed to the rise of heavy metal pollution in the environment.


What Environments Are Polluted?

To be frank, all of them. To be a little more specific, the following are environments with substantial heavy metal pollution:


  • Soil near mining or chemical plants
  • Water sources near factories
  • Irrigation pipes with poor infrastructure/maintenance
  • Air via vapors from chemical plants and factories
  • Crop fields due to contaminated soil or pesticides containing heavy metals


How Does Exposure Occur?

Humans get exposed to heavy metals through a variety of means. The most common methods of exposure are:


  • Air inhalation
  • Contaminated Foods
  • Contaminated drinking water

Although, individuals who live near or work in factories, mining facilities, or chemical plants experience even greater exposure due to their work conditions and the time they spend there each day. For these people, a heavy metal cleanse would be much more necessary.

For the rest of us, exposure is mostly through breathing contaminated air, eating contaminated foods, and drinking contaminated water. In regard to air, this is more so for those living in urban and industrial areas a little more so. However, food and water can occur anywhere. Examples of contaminated foods are:


  • crops that are grown in treated fields or in close proximity to industrial facilities
  • seafood from contaminated waters or fish farms
  • canned foods

Examples of contaminated drinking water are:


  • water sources contaminated with industrial waste
  • water from unkept irrigation pipes
  • unfiltered natural water


What Do The Symptoms Look Like?

Symptoms can range from mild and acute to chronic depending on the exposure level, frequency of exposure, and duration of exposure. As I’ve already said, exposure is inevitable, so minimizing exposure frequency and duration is the goal. Symptoms of acute metal toxicity include:


  • headaches
  • dizzy spells
  • fainting spells
  • stomach problems
  • difficulty remembering things
  • difficulty focusing on tasks
  • fatigue
  • insomnia episodes
  • mood swings

Over time if left unchecked, these heavy metals can lead to diseases such as:


  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cancer

With this in mind, we can now look at some foods to help cleanse the body of these metals.


Effective Foods That Cleanse The Body Of Heavy Metals

There are four heavy metals considered to be the most toxic to humans. These are mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. The foods we will look at will either be able to help the body eliminate a heavy metal by binding to it or mobilizing it or will be able to support an organ that detoxes the body.


Metal Cleansing Food #1: Artichoke

Artichokes are a great choice for supporting liver function and aiding digestion. While this food is more adept at helping the body flush toxins from excess alcohol consumption and excess fast food eating, they are still great for overall liver support. Since the liver is the body’s main detoxification organ, any food that supports liver function should be on a metal cleansing list.


Metal Cleansing Food #2: Blueberries

While other berries such as blackberries, strawberries, and elderberries are also high in antioxidants and essential vitamins that support the body’s detox system, the blueberry is the ideal number one pick. Not only do blueberries reduce inflammation making the detox system function better, but they also:


  • have 4 grams of fiber per cup
  • contain around 24% of your daily vitamin C needs
  • have up to 36% of your vitamin K needs
  • contain about 25% of your daily manganese needs

Blueberries also contain trace amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. Furthermore, blueberries also help lower blood pressure, regulate bowel movements (method of toxin flushing), lower cholesterol, and improve digestion. Make sure you get wild/organic blueberries that are free of pesticides to avoid heavy metal contamination.


Metal Cleansing Food #3: Lemons

Another great choice to have on the heavy metal cleansing list is the lemon. For many of you, lemons may already be on the detox list. Makes sense, given that many “detox juices” contain lemon. While some of those marketed drinks are garbage, the ingredients have merit. Lemons are full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports organ function and reduces inflammation that heavy metals can cause. Like any other fruit/vegetable on this list, go organic when possible.


Metal Cleansing Food #4: Flaxseeds

Like lemons, flaxseeds are a commonly cited food for detoxing. These seeds are rich in fiber. Furthermore, flaxseeds bind to metal molecules in the GI tract and help flush them faster thanks to the fiber content via bowel movements. As a bonus, flaxseeds provide the intestinal walls with omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you. Make sure you add some flaxseeds to your next breakfast in order to cleanse your body of metals.


Metal Cleansing Food #5: Garlic

While this is not the first article I’ve done talking about garlic, it is one of those foods that deserve repeated recognition. Garlic contains sulfur and antioxidants that fight free radicals and mobilize metals in the body to be flushed quicker. Furthermore, garlic is incredibly versatile as a vegetable so it is super easy to add to many meals.


Metal Cleansing Food #6: Pineapple

This one is a personal favorite of mine. Pineapples contain antioxidants and a hefty heap of vitamin C to reduce inflammation just like lemons and berries. Furthermore, pineapples are adept at flushing toxins from the intestinal tract, supporting the Gi tract in eliminating metals. If you choose to consume pineapples as part of your metal cleansing diet, make sure to go for the organic fresh fruit and avoid the canned pineapples. While canned pineapple is cheaper, it is at risk of being contaminated with heavy metals from the can lining leaking. Also, canned pineapples are often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Since pineapples are sweet enough on their own, you don’t need the added sugars from canned pineapples.


A Few Tips To Avoid Metal Exposure

A few ways you can further minimize your exposure to heavy metals include:


  1. FILTER YOUR WATER. Avoid drinking your tap water at home without a filter. Get a filter for your faucet or a container you can place in your fridge.
  2. EAT ORGANIC. Organic fruits and vegetables are a little more expensive, but they are far less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals from soil and pesticides.
  3. CHECK YOUR FISH. Since most mercury exposure comes from contaminated fish, be mindful of where your tuna, salmon, and swordfish are coming from. Check your labels at the store, and spend that little extra if need be to avoid canned fish.
  4. INVEST IN A QUALITY METAL CLEANSING SUPPLEMENT. Even if you are eating well, heavy metal exposure is going to occur. One more thing you can do is invest in a quality metal cleansing supplement.


Final Thoughts

While it is impossible to avoid any contamination, you can take steps to stay healthy and cleanse your body of heavy metals before they can do damage. Use the tips above to avoid excess contamination. Use the foods above to help your body detox and cleanse itself of heavy metals naturally.