Hormones are the communicators of our bodies and are essential to our everyday lives. The study of these hormones is called endocrinology. Hormones control our sleep mood, temperature, stress and growth, so if something feels off it could be due to a hormone imbalance or endocrine disruptors. Often times what we eat or encounter in daily life can be an endocrine disruptor and we are not aware.
It is important to understand your hormones. The Society for Endocrinology states hormones, “control a wide range of physiological activities, such as growth, development, puberty, level of alertness, sugar retention and appetite, and bone growth.” Clearly, hormones play a large role in every aspect of your health so it is important to understand them and the possible disruptions we can encounter in our daily lives.
HOW TO AVOID THESE ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS
- PLASTICS AND BPA
Endocrine disruptors are often found in plastics, specifically, BPA. A good rule of thumb is to check the type of plastic used in all plastic containers. All plastics should have a triangle with a number in the middle indicating the type of plastic. A little rhyme helps remember what plastics are safe: 4, 5, 1, and 2, all the rest are bad for you. In addition to using a safe plastic, try not to warm up your food in plastic containers. When heating up the plastic, it can release toxic chemicals that are not good for your body. Try switching your storage containers to glass to avoid them coming in contact with your food.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “phthalates are chemicals used in the manufacture of a wide variety of consumer food packaging, some children’s products, and some PVC medical devices.” The good thing about phthalates is they are typically listed on the ingredient list of food items therefore, it is possible to avoid them when reading labels carefully.
- DUST AND VACUUM OFTEN
Flame retardant chemicals are used in many common household products. Although this seems like a good thing these chemicals can be found in electronics, baby products, and couches. These chemicals get caught in the dust in your house and your precious family breathes the chemicals into their bodies. Be sure to dust with a wet cloth to collect as many particles as possible. You can also get the chemicals out of the carpet by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- AVOID FRAGRANCE
Any time the word “fragrance” appears on a label it could potentially be hundreds of ingredients that are not public information. Phthalates are typically found in fragrance and can disrupt the harmony of your hormones. Try to choose fragrance free products to avoid these hidden chemicals.
- AVOID CANS
Canned food sometimes makes dinner super fast and easy, but often times BPA is lurking in those cans to prevent them from corroding. Try to buy fresh or frozen items to avoid the cans and to be healthier altogether.
- WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
Pesticides are hidden in many of the foods we eat today. Try to eat organic foods therefore you know pesticides were not used during the growing process. If organic is just not going to fit into your budget try eating foods that have the least amount of pesticide residue. Typically these are foods that have skins that you would not eat for example, avocado, pineapple, sweet corn, cabbage, onions, sweet peas, papayas, mangoes, eggplants, kiwis, ect.
- FILTER TAP WATER
Instead of using a new plastic bottle everyday drink filtered tap water. This is so much better for the environment and it keeps the harmful chemicals found in the plastic bottles out of your body. Always be sure to filter your water because sometimes chemicals from run-off can get into tap water and be just as bad for you.
- SPEAK OUT
Voice your opinion to companies about these harmful chemicals being in your products. You are the consumer therefore the companies want to please you. When enough people refuse to buy products with hormone disruptors then the companies will be forced to make a change.
Understanding your hormones and how they react to the myriad of things you encounter on a daily basis is important to helping your body thrive. Too much or too little of a certain hormone can impact the release of other hormones. When hormone imbalances occur it causes some of your bodies systems to not work properly.