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Drs. Oz & Roizen: Detoxify for Spring

Our basic premise is: Your body is amazing. You get a do-over; it doesn’t take that long, and isn’t that hard if you know what to do. In these columns, we give you a short course in what to do so that it becomes easy for you to do and then to teach others.

Since it’s almost time for Earth Day celebrations on April 22, we have decided to discuss another way for you to stay young: your detox plan.

Of course, we don’t want you feeling paranoid. Or that you have to knock down your house and move to a straw hut. But we do want you to be aware of some potentially toxic domestic traps. That’s because eliminating toxins from your surroundings can not only lower your risk of big diseases (like cancer or asthma), but also can improve your quality of life and overall feeling of well-being (like having more libido if you want such, which most of us do after age 28). While doctors can diagnose what’s going on inside your body, it’s up to you to diagnose what’s going on in your environment. Here are some examples of things you can do to clean your own environment.

Although the newer insulation cuts the fuel bill, our modern homes also trap toxins, so air out the house as much as possible by opening windows and doors with screens. Get a do-it-yourself home-testing kit, and check your basement for radon and mold this week. Both have proven dangers, and you’ll never know unless you look. Leave your shoes at the front door. You track in toxins like lawn-care pesticides, which can get trapped in the carpet and contaminate children. It’s an old practice and it works. Don’t microwave plastic; you’ll get small amounts of the phthalates in your food when you heat it. Cover food with ceramic, glass, paper towels or wax paper instead. Don’t store open foods in cans for a long period because the food will be exposed to chemicals such as epoxy resin and aluminum (they’ll also begin to taste metallic). In fact, reduce the number of canned foods that you consume. Bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics estrogen (there goes that libido again), is leached from the can liners into the foods. As long as we’re speaking about BPA and phthalates, get rid of all bottles and cans using either as a liner. And get rid of all gas station and similar receipts; they contain the most BPA of anything we’ve run into. And make sure you wash your hands after looking at the receipt—hope you don’t kiss them. BPA isn’t easily absorbed through the skin, so it’s what’s in or on your food or what you place in your mouth that causes you to have it. And what it does is scary. Use products that protect your pillows and mattresses from dust mites. Their excrement—which totals 2 pounds every two years in pillows—can lead directly to asthma. You can obtain 1-micron filter sheets and pillow cases that let the air in but keep the micro dust of the animals out. Or just change your pillows. Always air out your dry cleaning overnight without the plastic bags to remove the toxic perchloroethylene that is used. The best air filter for your home is a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Replace your air-conditioner filter four times a year and clean your air ducts every three years. Partial cleaning can make your air worse, so do a good job when you attack the clumped-up material. Also, check and clean your humidifiers because they can harbor toxins. Speaking of filters, put one on your water supply, including the shower, to remove trihalomethanes, a mix of chloride with organic elements that can irritate your skin—unless you pride yourself on 60-second washes.

Now that you know how to do it, go detox. It really is easy and incredibly healthy. Check next month’s SUCCESS for more healthful tips.

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