Organs of Elimination
March 7, 2010
Before I really started questioning, experimenting with and altering my diet, I’d never really thought about how my body got rid of stuff it didn’t want – as long as everything functions OK-ish it’s easy to ignore it. Gradually though, I noticed a few things weren’t functioning as well as they could be, and this led me to think about what I was putting into my body and how the insides of me where actually dealing with it.
I was surprisingly ill-informed. Yet, I consider myself a highly intelligent and curious person. I was certainly never taught this stuff at school. How could I get to my 30s, be living my life through the grace of my body, and yet not even know where my kidneys were or how my body got rid of any chemicals I ate?
I decided I wanted to know about these things, so I read. What I read filled me with wonder. It also filled me with respect. The human body’s process of digestion, absorption and elimination is truly amazing and deserves us to respect it by what and how we eat and what we expose ourselves to.
It is also true that the quality of our internal landscape is largely determined by our lives and our diet. The body’s cells are completely renewed every seven years. That means we could make an entirely new body over a seven year period. One that worked better, was less painful and that served to insure us against future health problems. Wouldn’t that be just incredible?
The elimination system:
There are six parts of our body that work 24/7 to get rid of wastes in the body, these are the five ‘elimination organs’:
And in addition the liver
If you find it hard to visualise these organs, this might help:
How they work:
The colon – This is the body’s ‘sewer’: the main place where wastes are removed from you. Anything that you ingest that cannot be converted into useful stuff to fuel the body will be dealt with in main by the colon.
The lungs – Some wastes come out, as gas, through the lungs (for example carbon dioxide).
The skin – This is the largest organ in the body. Toxins come out through our skin when we sweat – the average toxic loss each day is 2 pounds! When the body has more toxins than it can handle it will try to push these out through the skin.
The lymph – This intricate web extends through the whole body. The lymph system takes waste from your cells and puts it into the blood stream so it can be dealt with by the liver or the kidneys.
The kidneys – These filter our blood of waste at an astounding rate of 150 to 180 litres every 24 hours.
The liver – The liver is not one of the five ‘elimination organs’ but it plays a vital role in the removal of toxins in the body by filtering our blood. If it is overworked the toxins build up in the blood stream, making us feel lousy and causing immune system dysfunction and disease.
If one of these organs doesn’t do its job properly it puts all the other ones under more stress than they need to be – and when things are under stress they have a habit of going wrong and breaking down. Do we really want to put our bodies through this now or store up problems for the future?
Sure, you’ve heard a million times that we should eat more fruit, drink more water and exercise more….and this is why. We need these things for our body to get rid of its rubbish and function on par. Otherwise we are swimming in toxins.
What you can do to give your body a break:
For the colon: Eat well. Look at your diet and try to remove the things in it that are the furthest away from food in its natural state. Remember that there are further options to help cleansing (such as colonic hydrotherapy), but the most important tool to cleanse the bowel (and the cheapest!) is your diet.
For the lungs: Exercise, as this increases the rate at which gases are exchanged in the lungs. Also, why not try some deep breathing, maybe when you are lying in bed in the morning, or while the kettle is boiling?
For the skin: Exfoliation is key and dry skin brushing is the best, and by far the cheapest, way of doing this. This simple, quick routine will get rid of dead cells and toxins as well as encourage the renewal of new skin cells. My own experience with dry skin brushing has been great and I wouldn’t give it up now – I have clearer, smoother skin and use much less product when I am in the shower.
For the lymph: Most of the lymph nodes are found in the places of greatest movement in our bodies – where the legs meet our torso and in the neck. The functioning of the lymph depends on movement, so exercise is the best stimulator for the lymph system - just a little every day will invigorate you and your lymph without tiring you out or taking up too much time. Try to go for a walk for 20 minutes before your lunch, or get on ebay, get a rebounder (great for the lymph) and bounce for 10 minutes in the morning. Skin brushing is also is a good stimulator for the lymph, as is light massage.
For the kidneys: Ensure you are getting enough water. It is essential to your body’s functioning. The amount you need varies based on how much water there is the food you are eating, but try starting at 1 litre a day and moving up from there. It helps to have a container of fixed volume with you – then you can be sure of how much you are drinking.
For the liver: Doing all of the above, but mostly taking care over what you take in to your body will ease the load on the liver.
Taking up just a couple of the steps suggested above would make it easier for your body to get rid of waste. Instead of working against the machinery you have been given to live your life in, why not co-operate with it?