Most people know that what we eat affects our body’s balance. After all, how we nourish ourselves informs our ability to thrive and function. It’s safe to say that most people understand that unbalanced nutrition can lead to health issues and that we should always wash our fruits and veggies before eating them. But there’s more. What we put IN our body and ON our body can impact our ability to regulate hormones like estrogen, insulin and testosterone.
Your endocrine system is made up of glands that secrete hormones throughout your entire body. Continuing research shows that everyday use of products laden with some common chemicals and pollutants that are wreaking havoc on your hormonal health. Studies show that these chemicals directly contribute to the increased rise in endocrine disorders like PCOS, PMDD, estrogen imbalance, infertility, illness, weight gain and cancer. These chemicals include BPA (found in plastics), Phthalates, PCBs, and other hormone mimickers (like female birth control pill) that cause the body to artificially increase hormone levels or hamper their proper metabolism.
Endocrine disruptors are essentially everywhere but before you freak out and try living in a bubble, there are a few things you can do in your day-to-day to lessen your risk to toxic exposure.
Choose sustainably farmed produce and meat. Make a friend and get to your know your local farmer! Produce and meat that’s been sustainably farmed is less likely to be pumped full of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormone, or chemically laden feed.
Eat the rainbow, along with high quality protein and omega 3 fatty acids! A diet rich in color is also rich in antioxidants that break down and help the liver clear out toxins. High quality proteins also support liver function by binding to free radicals to move them out of the body. Eat to support healthy liver function and hormonal balance!
Reduce your plastic usage. Steer clear of heating food in plastic and switch over to reusable glass for food and beverage containers.
Go fragrance and dye free or use all natural fragrances and dyes.
Mind your skincare products. Choose products that avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals. Here’s a list of 9 chemicals you should try to avoid in your skincare and hygiene products at home. It’s important to read labels, carefully.
Download the ThinkDirty App to your phone. This app allows you to scan the barcode of your household items and skincare products and will let you know whether or not it contains hormone disruptors.
CHEMICALS TO AVOID
Formaldehyde: A known carcinogen and irritant found in nail products, hair dye, fake-eyelash adhesives and some shampoos. Other countries have banned its usage.
Fragrance: Has hormone-disrupting effects that can also causes headaches, dizziness, asthma and allergies. Instead, steer toward products with natural fragrances only.
Lead: A known carcinogen and hormone disruptor found in certain eyeliners, hair dye and lipsticks.
Mercury: A known irritant and allergen that accumulates in the body over time and can impair the brain and nervous systems.
Parabens (Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl- and Isobutyl-): Used as preservatives in lots of products. Studies have shown detected parabens in breast tumors and that these chemicals specifically effect estrogen regulation in the body. While parabens have not been proven causal, the research shows a correlation so it’s best to avoid as much as possible.
Oxybenzone: An active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption and cellular damage. Again, it’s important to vigilantly read read labels but also skin-protective clothing and using natural minerals or zinc products. See the products I’ve recommended below.
DEA/TEA/MEA (Ethanolamines): The agents are used as emulsifiers and foamers for shampoos, body washes, soaps and topical application. Animal studies have shown a link between these chemicals and cancer.
Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES): A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, it’s absorbed into the body.
Diethylene glycol (or DEG): A central nervous system depressant and potent kidney and liver toxin. Sometimes found in fragrances. Glycerin and propylene glycol are sometimes contaminated with DEG, which are common ingredients in personal care products.
CAL’S FAV SKIN CARE & HYGIENE BRANDS
Aragon Oil - straight up! It’s the best moisturizer ever!
If you suffer from inconsistent periods, severe PMS, estrogen dominance or other hormonal issues, let’s chat. My nutrition counseling is focused on helping you find hormonal balance through positive self care and nutrition practices!
*Correction: An earlier version of this post listed Supergoop Sunscreen as a clean option. Upon further digging into their active ingredient list, I no longer stand by their brand messaging as a “clean” option for endocrine function.