Contributor: Ann Poorboy
Something they never taught us about in nutrition classes as that most everything we eat and drink and many of our cooking meetings put your food in or on plastic. Plastic contains toxic Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC) (source). These chemicals also known as “xenoestrogens” mimic oestrogen, as well as other hormones. And hormone disruption can lead to weight gain. It’s not dissimilar to the weight gain found by other hormone disruptors like steroids. (source) (source).
Many of us remember when we learned that plastics containing BPA could lead to health problems. BPA just happens to be an extremely powerful xenoestrogen. (source). A study conducted and published in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal is confirmation. (source) This evidence was backed up further in a study published by the University of Georgia. (source) Mainly known as “xenoestrogens” these EDC’s mimic oestrogen, as well as other hormones.
Where Do You Find Xenoestrogens?
- Plastic bottles
- Plastic bags
- Cleaning products
- Food containers
- Soaps, shampoos and conditioners
- PVC-based cling and plastic wraps
- Pans treated with nonstick coatings, and
- Pesticides and herbicides.
This may not seem that drastic, but try and paint a visual image of yourself in a supermarket. Each packet of apples you buy, every body soap and even that bottle of vitamins could in actual fact contain xenoestrogens. (source) And if we expand that thought to the plastic crisis in the world’s oceans, we know that the average American is consuming plastic now as part of their diet. It’s everywhere. The best we can do is to minimize our use of plastic wherever we can. A quick way to start is to prioritize removing plastic where it’s in a heated environment near your food. Such as replacing a plastic spoon with a wooden or silicon one. Silicone isn’t a perfect plastic replacement, but it is slightly better.
How to Avoid Them
6 Simple Tips to Cut Down on Endocrine Disruptors in Your Home
Ensuring an all-natural lifestyle is always going to be your best bet. Here are some things you can do:
- Eat more plants. …particularly those you grow yourself without chemicals
- Swap non-stick cookware for cast iron or stainless steel. …I’ve found this is also helping me tone my arms – an added benefit
- Stay away from all plastics, not just BPA. …try wooden spoons and stoneware or glass
- Filter your water. …I found this in the research but to filter it you’re running it through plastic so use your best justment here
- Avoid the fake stuff… eat butter out of a paper wrapper instead of margarine out of a plastic tub
- Ensure the produce is organic by checking labels, especially eggs and meat products
- Use organic, natural soaps and toothpastes
- Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your garden
- Use glass whenever possible, try and avoid all plastic containers
- Do not store hot food in plastic or microwave anything in plastic. (source)
- Try and keep nail polish, acrylic nails and nail polish remover use to a minimum
- Spend a little more and get beauty products that use natural ingredients
- Use natural household cleaners and detergents such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemons.
- Know the difference between plastics and polyolefins: A variety of consumer brands are aware that plasticizers such as phthalates, bisphenol A and DEHP are a risk to both human health and the environment and use more nontoxic, non-contaminating and lightweight substitutes called polyethylenes. (source)
Why to Avoid Them
According to a variety of studies done, including on in the Oxford Academic Journal, Endocrine Reviews (source), the proven issues associated with exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals include:
- hormone-related reproductive cancers (such as breast, ovarian and prostate cancer)
- neurological issues
- feminization in men (such as man boobs, loss of testosterone and low sperm count)
- unnaturally early puberty in girls
- type II diabetes
- heart disease, and
- thyroid problems
Don’t Think They Are Only In Plastic Products
Unfortunately xenoestrogens are not limited to plastic bottles. (source) (source) They are also found in commercially-raised dairy, meat and eggs. Though these are not synthetic products, commercially-raised livestock are actually fed a diet pumped with xenoestrogens. (source) Not only does it help to get them plumper, but it also helps to increase the amount of milk and eggs they produce. The dietary nightmare doesn’t end there, all livestock food is sprayed in pesticides, so usually they will ingest a double dose of xenoestrogens on a daily basis. (source)
The good news, at least for eggs, is that with so many hobby chicken farms popping up, you can find chickens raised more naturally for a healthier egg. Or raise them yourself.
Great Ways To Inhibit Xenoestrogens
Since it’s nearky impossible to escape them entirely, here are things you can eat to inhibit xenoestrogens from being absorbed in your body.
Some of the best xenoestrogen inhibiting foods include: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, cabbage, onions and garlic. Essential fatty acid, Omega 3 is not only a xenoestrogen inhibitor, but it is incredible at also balancing your oestrogen levels and your metabolism. (source) Don’t forget to eat organic greens, herbs and fruit. They have an antioxidant potential in the body and further protect and enhance your body’s natural balance.
Together, we’ll get healthier one step at a time. Tell me how you reduced plastic use in your life in the comments below.