Why is it important to help your child detoxify? The fall is an especially overloaded time of year. Many kids are fighting colds and flu, other kids have a tough time with the shorter days and longer nights, some kids are spending less time outside, and diets (and stooling habits) change. This combination can lead some children to chronic medical problems. I see so many of my patients with asthma exacerbations, eczema flares, runny nose for weeks, weight gain, moodiness, sleeping issues, belly aches, and constipation this time of year. What are these a sign of? An increased toxic burden. Why are kids especially at risk for toxic overload? A young child’s liver, brain, immune system, and detoxification routes are not yet fully developed to handle the toxic burden. Luckily, there are many effective, safe, gentle, and easy to help our children through this vulnerable time of year. I will share my patients’ favorite detoxification routes below:
1. Drink only water or fruit infused water. Why water for detoxification? Water increases metabolic rate, aids in digestive health, and dramatically supports your immune system. Make it a kid challenge or a family challenge. Send your kids with a bottle of their favorite infused or plain water and measure how much was drunk at the end of the school day. Track progress on a big sheet of paper on the fridge. It sometimes helps to have your child reflect upon and mark how they feel at the end of the day. The reflection will foster a greater mind-body connection and that is so empowering.
How much water is enough water? Divide your child’s weight in pounds by half, and that’s how many ounces they should be drinking daily. Add more for hot, sweaty, and active days.
Here are some favorite infusions from my Blossom Pediatrics kids:
Orange – Lemon – Lime
Lemon – Orange – Strawberry
Strawberry – Sage
Cucumber – Lime
2. The most important way to eliminate toxins is to eliminate by stooling. Water, physical activity, fiber, and magnesium with leafy greens will help insure that stooling is regular. A bowel movement that is hard to pass or looks like little pebbles or rocks (think rabbit dropping or a bunch of grapes) is a sign of constipation. Many kids just complain of belly pain day after day. Throwing a handful of dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens. kale ) into a morning smoothie makes a world of difference in the quantity and quality of stooling. Leafy greens are my favorite because they are full of fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants.
3. Help your microbiome thrive – the good bacteria in the gut that help us not only detoxify chemicals, heavy metals, BPAs, and pesticides, but help us digest our food and protect our immune systems. The best way to get probiotics is through home made fermented foods: (sauerkraut, kvass, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha). Sometimes a carefully selected high quality probiotic may help. Cook with garlic and onions, they are not only anti-inflammatory but are potent prebiotics which are food for the microbiome.
4. Glutathione is one of our liver’s most important detoxifier and antioxidant. Increase glutathione naturally with epsom salt baths and delicious cruciferous vegetables (arugula, bock choy, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, radish, and turnips).
5. Sleep more and screen time less. Have your child go to bed earlier to follow the natural rhythms of mother earth. High quality sleep flushes the toxins out of the brain. Exposure to blue light (screens, artificial light, TVs, phones, etc) prevents melatonin production so the quality sleep is severely impacted by blue light exposure close to bedtime. Aim at shutting off the media at least 3 hours before bedtime for the best possible sleep and have your child go to sleep at the same time every night.
6. More sunshine and more happiness. Many kids are deficient, especially in the winter months, in vitamin D, especially in the winter months. Vitamin D is a key component to detoxification. Have your child spend at least 10-20 minutes outdoors every day in the sun, without sunscreen, during non-peak sun hours (11am or after 4pm). This also helps eliminate a silent but dangerous toxin: stress.
Many children need more detoxification support such a specific plan or protocol to get kids back to health. For example, many of my patients require extra support before or after vaccines or tough illness. If you have questions about detoxification, and whether a custom detox plan is right your child, schedule a free 15 minute discovery call by following this link: