If you’ve learned one thing as a regular Hormona, let it be this: Your hormones are constantly changing. But did you know that some foods that disrupt hormones? And wouldn’t it be great if you could give your hormones a break by limiting unnecessary interference? That’s handy, because today we’re talking about hormone disruptors and how to limit your exposure.
What are hormone disruptors?
The clue is very much in the name for this one. You’re exposed to a huge variety of artificial and natural chemicals on daily basis. Problem is, lots of them can disrupt the signaling in your endocrine system, the control panel for your hormones. This in turn can impact your brain function, immune system, and reproductive development.
And because our hormones fluctuate at such incremental levels, as if you need reminding, even super-small doses of disruptors can have a huge effect.
Where are hormone disruptors found?
Plastic products, including bottles, containers, and plastic wraps are the serial offenders here. And that’s because they harbor Bisphenol A, or BPA, and Phthalates. Then there’s the Dioxins often found in good old fruit and veg.
All of the above are hormone disruptors. But the list doesn’t end there. There are also plenty of foods that can disrupt hormones with the same chemicals. And they crop up in our food for one of two reasons. First, the products were grown or raised in a polluted environment. For example, dixions and BPAs are present in your carrots because of pesticide use, and fish can carry chemicals from polluted water.
And the second reason? The food was produced or packaged in a way that introduces those chemicals, for instance in the plastic packaging your fish and carrots are sold in.
How can I avoid foods that disrupt hormones?
If you’re panicking at this point, you can now breathe out. Let’s talk food! Small changes to your diet are the easiest ways to address your intake of chemicals and the like.
Meat and Dairy
Harmful chemicals can build up in fat cells higher up the food chain through a process called bioaccumulation. And that basically means that if you eat larger animals or fish, you’re also eating the chemicals in the animals, fish, or plants they ate and so on, right back to the bottom of the food chain.
To reduce exposure, try reducing your meat intake, and opt for leaner cuts. Bioaccumulation, though, can also affect dairy products, including milk, cheese, and butter. The advice? You guessed it, limit your intake here too if you can.
Fish presents similar issues to meat, but with the added risk of mercury contamination. This is why pregnant or nursing people often eat less fish. Not that we’re suggesting you give up your beloved fish, but there are ways to get around the excess chemicals.
First and foremost, try sourcing your fish from less polluted areas if you can. But if that’s proving difficult, remember this: As a general rule of thumb, less oily fish is lower down the food chain and so less likely to be affected by bioaccumulation.
So add cod, haddock, pollock, and tilapia to your fish repertoire where possible.
To avoid dioxins, try opting for organic, or pesticide-free, produce. If that’s a little too rich for your blood, here’s a fab tip: Make sure you’re washing and peeling your fruits and veggies thoroughly before eating them. That’ll help reduce contamination on the surface, and lower the amount of chemicals you might be ingesting.
If you’re looking for more handy tips on avoiding pesticides, take a look The Pesticide Action Network.
Watch out for the packaging!
Plastic-wrapped and canned foods are often laden with Phthalates and BPAs. So here’s something you should definitely know: Never heat food in this packaging. And we mean ever. Decant into a bowl or saucepan before even thinking about cooking it.
Better yet, pass on the plastic altogether and opt for stainless steel or glass containers, and taking a trip to your local refillery, if you’re lucky enough to live near one.
Foods that disrupt hormones – the bottom line
As things stand, you can’t fully eliminate your exposure to foods that disrupt your hormones. But you can limit the chemicals going into your body. Just a few small changes could make all the difference, but as always, start by making changes that feel doable for you. And if you feel like tracking the results of those changes, come join us on the Hormona app! We’d love to see you!
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