7 Reasons Why sweating is important
Many may wonder, why is sweating important? Sweating is one of three ways the body naturally detoxes itself from toxins (the other two are urination and bowel movements). In today’s modern world our bodies are bombarded with harmful chemicals on a daily if not momentary basis.
This is why regular bowel movements, urination, and sweating are all critical to maintaining health. When these processes are not occurring regularly throughout the day (like only pooping every other day, only urinating a few times a day and only sweating a few times a week), toxins can begin to accumulate within the body and lead to an array of harmful outcomes.
Why sweating is important
1. Excretes Heavy Metals
Sweating has been found to detox the body of heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead. Heavy metals can easily build-up within the body over time causing a range of negative health symptoms and even death if left untreated. Some of these illnesses can include headaches, constipation, weakness, tiredness, joint pain, nausea, numbness, passing out, etc (source).
Heavy metals can build up in the body through a variety of exposures: working in factories or with substances that contain heavy metals, old lead paints, products, or foods contaminated with heavy metals and fish (source).
Mercury build-up is particularly worrisome for those who consume large amounts of fish (like tuna). Sweating regularly can help prevent the accumulation of these metals in the body.
While heavy metals can be excreted through urine, one study demonstrated that sweating excretes more heavy metals from the body compared to urination.
2. Excretes Harmful Chemicals
BPA’s (bisphenol A), PCB’s (Polychlorinated Biphenyls), PBDES (a flame retardant chemical), and a range of other endocrine disruptors are present in plastics, laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos, skincare products, and more.
Chemicals such as these have been linked to hormone disruption, negative effects on brain health and behavior, increased blood pressure, and in some cases, cancer. Avoiding products that contain these endocrine disruptors is the most effective lifestyle change. However, complete avoidance of all harmful chemicals is almost impossible in today’s modern world.
3. Helps Balance Skin Microbiome
An imbalance in the microbiome of our skin can lead to acne, dryness, and premature aging. Some studies suggest that sweat releases glycoproteins that bind to bacteria and remove them from the skin. Sweat can also act as a prebiotic to the skin, further helping to balance the bacteria present.
Lastly, sweating results in increased blood flow throughout the body which, in turn, leads to increased cell turnover. In other words, the fresh blood allows your skin to heal faster and create new skin cells faster.
4. Helps Prevent Infection
Amazingly, our sweat hosts powerful antimicrobial proteins. These proteins have been found to bind to bacteria and viruses (H. pylori, E. coli, HIV, etc) in the body and carry them out through sweat. This can significantly reduce your chance of infections and illnesses like the common cold and flu.
Another favorite immune booster/infection fighter of mine is propolis! I take it daily for immune-boosting benefits and illness prevention. Fun fact, I haven’t been sick since I started using it, even when traveling abroad. Propolis also boasts an array of amazing health benefits. Read all about them here!
5. Reduces Recovery Time after exercise
Just as increased blood flow from sweating helps improve skin health through increased cell turnover, so too can this mechanism speed up recovery times after exercise. Sweating has been found to boost growth hormone production, the body’s main mechanism for healing itself after exercise.
6. Reduces stress hormones & increases “happy” hormones
Cortisol and other stress hormones are reduced when sweating and the body is able to go into parasympathetic (rest and recover) vs. sympathetic (fight or flight). Along with this, sweating induced by exercise or sauna use also boosts the production of “happy” hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
7. Reduces risk of kidney stones
Kidney stones can often be caused by the build-up of salt and calcium. Sweating helps excrete excess salt and causes excess calcium to be directed towards our bones rather than kidneys (source).
My Favorite Ways to Sweat
- Infrared Sauna
- Detox Baths
If you’re like me and don’t really break a hard sweat when you exercise, then options like the sauna and detox baths can be great ways to ensure you are getting a good sweat in!