What are heavy metals and why do they matter to me?

Here goes another term that everyone seems to know everything about. But if you’re a bit late to the game (like me) or just need a quick overview of what exactly heavy metals are, I’ve come to your rescue (hopefully you still agree with me by the end of this post).

The What

From the food you eat to the air you breathe, you’re exposed to thousands of toxic substances every day.

These heavy metals and toxins enter your bloodstream, travel throughout your body and gets stored in cells of various tissues and organs, especially adipose tissue. This is because your body is trying to protect your organs from these toxins. However, this can cause the toxins to accumulate and stay in your body for years.

This can result in symptoms like:

  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating (or brain fog)
  • Low mood
  • Digestive issues

Where it’s hiding

Aluminium: Found in deodorants, baked goods, processed foods and aluminium pots and pans, excessive exposure has been linked to Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

Arsenic: Rice absorbs arsenic from soil, water and even cooking water. Build up of this metal has been associated with fatigue, kidney disease and increased risk for diabetes.

Cadmium: Food in fertilisers, white flour, furniture and air pollution, this metal can actually inhibit your body’s ability to use nutrients like zinc, iron and calcium. This can make you more vulnerable to bone and immune disorders.

Lead: Associated with learning disabilities, hyperactivity and dementia, you’ll find this lurking in your lipstick, canned food, lead pipes, ceramic dishes and cigarette smoke (firsthand and secondhand.

Mercury: In addition to sources like dental fillings, tuna, sea bass, halibut and swordfish, even farmed fish, like salmon can be contaminated with mercury. The reason why this metal has gotten so much attention is because it can cross the blood-brain-barrier quickly, increasing the risk of neurological, psychological and immunological disorders.

Now the most important part … What can you do?

Diet: Limit your consumption of high mercury fish or consume wild caught fish is possible.

It’s also important to consume foods that optimize liver and kidney function – these organs are involved in detoxification.

  • Leafy green veggies — One of the most powerful heavy metal detox foods. Try to have some type of bitter greens each day, like kale, spinach, beet or broccoli.
  • Herbs and spices — Basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, ginger, turmeric are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Cilantro is one of the best herbs for detoxifying and can help reduce the buildup of heavy metals like mercury and lead in the body.
  • Garlic and onion – These contain sulfur which helps your liver detoxify heavy metals like lead and arsenic.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C – Citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruit, berries, kiwi, and cruciferous veggies reduce the damage caused by heavy metal toxicity by acting as an antioxidant.
  • Chlorella — A type of green algae that acts as a natural chelator (heavy metal binder). This is especially useful for removing lead and mercury. You can take it in a powder or tablet form.
  • Flax and chia seeds – These provide omega-3 fats and fiber, which can help with detoxification of the colon and reduce inflammation.
  • Bone broth – Rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. It’s also rich in the amino acid, glycine, which plays a key role in your liver detoxification.
  • Water – Drink 8 ounces of water every two hours to stay hydrated and help flush out toxins.


  • Switch to organic and natural beauty and household products
  • Sauna time – Next time you’re doing sauna, try an infrared sauna. It effectively stimulates metabolism, triggering the release of toxins through sweat.
  • Lymphatic massage – Yes, another excuse to get massages! By gently massaging your lymph nodes, a lymphatic massage can help remove toxins from your body.

And … that’s it. Told you it was quick.

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