Endocrine disruptors: Have you heard of this term? They might sound like characters in a sci fi film, but they’re very real and very hard to avoid. Endocrine or hormone disruptors are in our everyday food, cosmetic and packaging items, and affect our health in a myriad of ways.
One example is BPA, or Bisphenol A. It’s a chemical found in canned foods (unless labeled BPA free), certain plastics and even receipts–so I recommend storing your food in glass containers, looking for BPA-free labels and avoiding receipts when you can. If you must touch a receipt, try to wash your hands soon after and definitely before eating.
According to the Environmental Working Group, these chemicals work by “increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.”
Our delicate balance of hormones affect our health in many ways, in terms of our reproductive health, stress levels, weight, mood, energy and much more. Studies show that some of these chemicals, dubbed obesogens due to their ability to cause weight gain, can also work to increase our appetites, reduce metabolism, and actually increase the number and size of fat cells. They also raise our risk of becoming insulin resistant, linked to not only diabetes but also heart disease and cancer.
Luckily the EWG (Environmental Working Group) has us covered…they have a list of the 12 worst offenders and what you can do to limit your exposure and keep your hormones as healthy and happy as possible. Read all the info here.
- Increase your greens to boost your body’s hormone function. Start with 1/2 cup and work your way up to 2 cups a day if you can!
- Incorporate healthy fats. Coconut and olive oils, raw and sprouted nuts and seeds, and fatty fish like wild salmon, sardines and mackerel benefit our endocrine system. 12 ounces or so of the fish per week and several servings of nuts/seeds per week is a good goal.
- Drink plenty of water. Half of your body weight in ounces per day is a healthy aim to flush out toxins and keep your cells juicy and working well.