Note: this post has been updated in January 2022.
Can What You Eat Disrupt Healthy Hormones?
You want to be healthy and keep your hormones in balance, so you are eating a whole food plant-based diet with little processed food and trying to balance proteins, veggies and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. Sounds good, right?
It is good. It’s excellent.
There is still one thing that could be disrupting your healthy hormone balance. There are a number of chemicals found in pesticides and other areas of food processing that can disrupt your hormones if you get them in sufficient quantities. In the excerpt below we look at several of these and some ideas of how to avoid them.
EWG researchers compiled the new Dirty Dozen list by scouring the scientific literature and identifying the most hazardous and widely used hormone-disrupting chemicals that pollute the environment and our bodies.
These substances are frequently found in food, water and consumer products, and studies have linked them to a wide array of health problems, including cancer, birth defects, lowered sperm count, lowered IQ and thyroid disease.
BPA—Eat fresh foods instead of canned, as many food cans are lined with BPA, or research which companies don’t use BPA or similar chemicals in their products. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. And avoid plastics marked with a PC, for polycarbonate, or recycling label # 7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do.
Lead—Keep your home clean and well maintained. Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. Studies also have shown that children who eat healthy diets absorb less lead.
Arsenic—Use a water filter that lowers arsenic levels.
Mercury —If you still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with healthy fats, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices. Choose mercury-free cosmetics. – via EWG
More Hormone Disruptors
There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: 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.
What happens when you introduce highly toxic chemicals into nature and turn your back? For one thing, feminization of male frogs. That’s right, researchers have found that exposure to even low levels of the herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs.
Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant. Atrazine has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty and prostate inflammation in animals, and some research has linked it to prostate cancer in people.
How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and get a drinking water filter certified to remove atrazine.
Who needs food tainted with rocket fuel?! That’s right, perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel, contaminates much of our produce and milk, according to EWG and government test data. When perchlorate gets into your body it competes with the nutrient iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to make thyroid hormones. Basically, this means that if you ingest too much of it you can end up altering your thyroid hormone balance. This is important because it’s these hormones that regulate metabolism in adults and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.
How to avoid it? You can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter.
As for food, it’s impossible to avoid perchlorate, but you can reduce its potential effects on you by making sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Eating iodized salt is one good way. – via EWG
As discussed above there are many toxins in our food that we eat everyday and most of the time not realizing what is in the food we eat. The major takeaway is that to be sure we are eating foods that nourish us and not kill us, we need to read food labels and be careful what we put into our bodies.
Get away from toxic foods!
Science confirms that a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods can help you live to the fullest and still get adequate protein. In fact, a growing number of physicians advocate a completely plant-based diet for many of their patients who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Check out these great sources:
The Forks over Knifes, a simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium.
What you think may be healthy is not
However, we do need to be careful of the things we do eat as all is not what we think! The Food Babe has authored several books on this, and I highly recommend that you read this one Feeding You Lies: How to Unravel the Food Industry’s Playbook and Reclaim Your Health
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If I can answer any questions or if you have an opinion that you would like to express, please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Have you been trying to limit the number of unwanted chemicals that you get in your food?