Today is all about choices. There are many choices that we can make throughout the day that will either help us or hinder us in trying to keep estrogen from taking over the dance. Below are some of the most important ones.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an industrial chemical commonly used as lining in cans as well as in hard plastics. There has been evidence that exposure to BPA can cause breast and prostate cancer as well as infertility. High levels of BPA in the blood have been associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as with abnormal elevation of liver enzymes and a compromised immune system. You can avoid BPA by eating from glass, stainless steel and ceramic containers. If you must use plastic, try to ensure that that it is BPA free and do not heat up in the microwave.
Phthalates are another industrial chemical used in soft plastics and can be found in PVC products, nail polish, shampoo, shower curtains, baby toys and IV bags. In children, these chemicals can influence thyroid-hormone signaling in the developing brain. In men, it affects reproductive development and thyroid function. In women, they affect levels of free testosterone and sex-hormone-binding globulin. One type of phthalate, called DEHP, blocks estradiol production, causing anovulation or lack of egg production in the ovaries, which in turn leads to estrogen dominance. This can also lead to buildup of uterine lining with subsequent excessive bleeding and infertility. Look for items that indicate “phthalate free”.
Use as many natural alternatives to cosmetics, nail products, hair products, deodorants and lotions as you can. Ensure that they are free from sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde and hydroquinone. You can even make your own cleaners with essential oils, lemon and vinegar.
When you walk into your home, remove your shoes. All the debris, pesticides and other endocrine disruptors get spread within your home. If you have pets or children, this becomes more important. You want to reduce contaminants within your household.
You might not like this, but reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcohol raises your level of estrogen, can disrupt liver function and increase breast cancer if wine consumption is more than 4 glasses per week. Better yet, restrict the alcohol consumption to special occasions.
You’re going to love me with this one. Cut caffeine consumption to balance both your estrogen and cortisol levels. Ideally you’d replace coffee or espresso with yerbe mate tea, green tea or matcha tea which all provide some caffeine but not as much as coffee. Both green and matcha teas contain polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins which are powerful antioxidants. While coffee is inflammatory, green tea is actually anti-inflammatory. “But green tea doesn’t give me the boost that coffee does you”, might say. Then try matcha tea or yerbe mate. They have both replaced my need for coffee.
Eat less meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals and when you do eat meat, use a portion of no more than 3 ounces. Fill your plate with leafy greens, cruciferous (think broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts), carrots, beets, peas and beans.
Increase your fibre intake. Fresh fruits and vegetables (especially prunes) are terrific options for increasing your fibre intake to 35 – 40 grams per day. Some of the best sources for fibre are avocados, berries (especially raspberries), coconut, figs, peas, black beans, chickpeas, lentils and almonds
Lose weight. This is not about aesthetics. Weight loss will reduce your excess estrogen levels and lower your risk of breast cancer and other conditions. It will help prevent insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes as well as risk of heart disease and strokes. Overall, it’s in your best interest to keep your body mass index to a range of 21 to 25 for best health.
Exercise regularly. Exercise has so many benefits such as reducing estrogen levels, lowering your risk of breast cancer and increasing your production of good estrogens. It reduces cortisol levels and makes you feel happier, more flexible, stronger, and it increases your stamina.
Go to sleep by ten p.m. Going to sleep by 10 p.m. provides optimal production of melatonin, a hormone that lowers estradiol (the not so great form of estrogen). Getting more sleep will also help with weight control, improve your energy and lower your need for stimulants like coffee.
Overall it’s not what you do once in a while that makes a huge difference, it’s what you do every day. We all have sleepless nights, skip our exercise session for the day, drink too much or eat something that was purchased in a can that didn’t necessarily say it was BPA free. Do we need to be concerned? No. But if you’re going for weeks without much sleep, not exercising at least 3 or 4 days a week, drinking alcohol every day and microwaving your food in plastic, then you should be concerned and do whatever you can to adjust your lifestyle.
I also highly recommend that you detox periodically. Spring and Fall are the ideal times … and I like to throw one in during January after all the Holiday celebrations. Check out my 10-Day Body Reset Detox program which is all whole foods based and an effective way to detox your body and reset your metabolism.