Exposure to certain types of plastics and materials containing potentially harmful compounds known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) or “Xenoestrogens,” is becoming an increasingly pressing issue.
Research suggests these chemicals can lead to serious health concerns, including diabetes, obesity, reproductive issues, and neurological problems.
EDCs or xenoestrogens are worrisome because they imitate hormones in our body, particularly estrogen, disrupting normal cellular growth and development. Over time, these harmful substances can accumulate in our bodies.
These artificial estrogens can aggravate health conditions related to estrogen, such as breast or ovarian cancer. They can also lead to feminization in males, fertility challenges, premature puberty in girls, and an increased risk of reproductive cancers due to synthetic estrogen overload.
Studies involving lab animals and wildlife reveal that exposure to xenoestrogens can cause reproductive irregularities. These chemicals bind to estrogen receptors in reproductive tissues, body fat, and even the brain, potentially causing testicular tissue deterioration and sexual dysfunction.
Andrea C. Gore, a respected pharmacology professor at the University of Texas, has indicated that harmful chemicals can leach into our food when it’s stored in plastic containers or cooked in non-stick pans.
More than a thousand studies have suggested a strong connection between everyday hormone-disrupting chemicals and serious health issues, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, infertility, hormone-sensitive cancers, prostate cancer, thyroid complications, and poor brain development in young children.
Common EDCs include bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, flame retardant chemicals, and numerous pesticides. These substances are so pervasive that nearly everyone has been exposed to at least one.
Even minimal exposure to EDCs during pregnancy can potentially provoke obesity in the offspring. These chemicals can affect cells in the pancreas, liver, and fat cells, encouraging insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels, which directly lead to Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that higher BPA levels corresponded to a 50% higher rate of diabetes than lower BPA levels.
Chemicals like di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), found in plastic food wraps, soaps, cosmetics, and food containers, have been directly associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, and high blood pressure in children and adolescents.
Frequent exposure to EDCs is alarmingly common, coming from various sources such as pesticides, plastics, fuels, personal care products, preservatives, and drugs. Many EDCs are found in processed, packaged foods and non-organic produce. Also, commercially farmed dairy, meat, and eggs often contain xenoestrogens as these chemicals are used to enhance production.
Recognizing the prevalence of these EDCs, it’s crucial to limit your exposure.
As highlighted by Dr. Joseph Mercola, the top ten items to avoid are: Phthalates in personal care products Tap water and individual plastic water bottles Canned foods Non-organic produce Non-organic meat, poultry, and dairy Mercury-containing fish Kitchen products like non-stick cookware and plastic storage containers Cleaning products Office products like printer ink and toner Cash register receipts Yet, we’re not powerless in the face of these ubiquitous chemicals.
There are several steps we can take to reduce our exposure to EDCs and xenoestrogens:
• Prefer organic foods, especially the “dirty dozen” known to be most pesticide-ridden, to avoid synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
• Refrain from using pesticides and herbicides outdoors, especially on your lawn.
• Avoid all plastic containers, especially single-use water bottles and plastic food storage containers. Always store hot food in non-plastic containers, glass being the best choice.
• Never heat food in plastic containers and avoid using plastic wrap.
• Steer clear of nail polish, nail polish removers, and acrylic nails.
• Choose only “all-natural” personal care products, avoiding products containing parabens. Unfortunately, cheaper brands often contain more toxic ingredients.
• Opt for organic, grass-fed meats, and organic dairy products. Aim to consume wild-caught fatty fish as much as possible.
• Use organic, natural soaps and toothpastes.
• Use natural household cleaning products.
• Use natural perfumes or essential oils. Many commercial perfumes contain petrochemicals and preservatives that include xenoestrogens. • Choose non-petroleum-based laundry detergents and dish soaps.
Focus on a nutritious diet!
A nutritious diet full of specific foods can also help counteract the detrimental estrogenic compounds in our environment. These foods can inhibit the absorption of xenoestrogens and assist the body in eliminating any excess stored within.
Adopting a diet based on whole foods, rich in organic plant-based foods, can help maintain your system clean. Following an unprocessed foods diet, like the Fat Burning Kitchen diet, can also aid in avoiding these harmful chemicals.
Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, and cabbage, inhibit estrogen and prevent the absorption of artificial hormones. Onions and garlic, rich in quercetin, have anti-estrogenic, immune-boosting, and detoxifying properties.
Omega-3 fats, found in grass-fed meats and wild-caught fatty fish, play a critical role in defending against xenoestrogens. These fats significantly aid in balancing and metabolizing estrogen.
Other beneficial foods include green tea, citrus fruits, organic (full fat) dairy such as grass-fed butter and raw grass-fed cheeses, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, and organic virgin olive oil.
Consuming organic greens, herbs, and organic fruit also contributes to the body’s antioxidant potential, providing additional protection and promoting the body’s natural balance.
Keep up with The Environmental Working Group!
The Environmental Working Group annually publishes a “Dirty Dozen” list of top endocrine disrupters, as well as a list of the produce highest in pesticides and preservatives.
The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database also lists brands that are free of most harmful ingredients, and Care2 has compiled a list of non-toxic nail polishes. PETA provides a comprehensive list of beauty brands that do not test on animals.
Make sure to try and keep up to date with all of their publishings and info they put out to avoid dangerous endocrine disruptors.
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