I drink tap water and it is one of the major sources of xenoestrogens in our environment. I don’t have one of those fancy reverse osmosis water filtration systems, but I do have a water pitcher filter that I surely don’t replace often enough. But you know what? I’m doing the best I can, and so are you!
There are so many things you can do to reduce your chemical load and you don’t have to turn your life upside down to do them. I’m here to tell you that even small changes make a BIG difference when they all add up.
Maybe I’ve gotten ahead of myself and you’ve never heard of these “xenoestrogens” I’m talking about? Xenoestrogens are chemicals we encounter daily that behave like estrogen in our bodies; they interfere with the functions of our hormones. They’re in our water, our pesticides, our shampoo, our coffee cups, our cans/plastics and the list goes on. Well, they’re seemingly inescapable.
The bad news: When there are more xenoestrogens in our environment, we end up with more estrogen in our bodies. These xenoestrogens are unfortunately much stronger than the natural estrogens our bodies produce, so you may experience symptoms of excess estrogen, like: breast tenderness, irregular menstrual bleeding, ovarian cysts, fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis, PMS, headaches, excess fat tissue, low libido, etc all due to environmental exposure. Xenoestrogens affect men and women.
The good news: Thankfully, our bodies are brilliant machines that have the amazing ability to remove the majority of these toxic estrogens through liver detoxification and elimination. It is only when we are over-exposed, and our bodies are over-exerted, that we start to feel the symptoms because our elimination pathways just can’t keep up with the chemical load.
There’s more good news. The purpose of this blog is to teach you how to reduce your load of xenoestrogens so that your body is better equipped at getting rid of them.
Here’s what you can do:
Enjoy foods and drinks that help your body eliminate harmful estrogens, you’re already eating anyways!
The following foods/drinks decrease the binding effects of xenoestrogens in the body:
- Ground flax
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Non-GMO, organic soy
- Green tea
- Hibiscus tea
- Alfalfa sprouts
The following foods/drinks increase the elimination of xenoestrogens from the body:
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Bok Choy
Know the common sources of xenoestrogens and make small changes to avoid them
- Xenoestrogens can be found in a wide variety of household products: cosmetics, cleaning products, body products, cookware etc.The next time you you run out of laundry detergent buy a natural one instead, and skip the unnecessary dryer sheets full of chemicals.
- Skin Deep is a site where you can search cosmetics and determine whether they have hazardous chemicals, without having to read a single label!
- Avoid plastics as much as possible: use glass containers, use a reusable water bottle, do not heat plastics in the microwave or dishwasher, bring a travel coffee mug to work.
- The “dirty dozen” is a list of the top 12 produce with the most pesticides. You do not need to buy everything organic, in fact buying organic in only these 12 foods reduces your pesticide exposure by 60-90%.
- Avoid tap water when you can- reverse osmosis water has the fewest toxic compounds (although it is not great for the environment).
Other tips for healthy elimination of estrogens:
- Opt for high fiber foods, including: complex carbs, fruits, veggies
- Drink at least 2L of water daily to support elimination
- Limit alcohol intake to 1-2 glasses of red wine a week for optimal liver function
- Get outside in the sun and exercise: vitamin D and sweating both contribute to lower estrogen levels
Even if you only choose to make one tiny change after reading this blog, you’re still better off than you were before. I do the best I can but I don’t treat it like a full time job! I use natural cosmetics, body products, and tampons. I try to use glass containers and avoid heating plastic, but I do love coffee shops and my faithful dishwasher!
Wozniak, M., & Murias, M. (2008). Xenoestrogens: endocrine disrupting compounds. Ginekologia polska, 79(11), 785-790.
Paterni, I., Granchi, C., & Minutolo, F. (2015). Risks and Benefits Related to Alimentary Exposure to Xenoestrogens. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, (just-accepted), 00-00.
Arya, G., Tadayon, S., Sadighian, J., Jones, J., de Mutsert, K., Huff, T. B., & Foster, G. D. (2017). Pharmaceutical chemicals, steroids and xenoestrogens in water, sediments and fish from the tidal freshwater Potomac River (Virginia, USA). Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, 1-11.
Michałowicz, J. (2014). Bisphenol A–sources, toxicity and biotransformation. Environmental toxicology and pharmacology, 37(2), 738-758.