If you’re a regular reader on this website, then you know that hormone imbalance can cause many unwanted changes in your body, a decrease in your quality of life as well as your longevity. To live a long and enjoyable life, you need a healthy body with an endocrine system that is functioning efficiently and the way it should be – just like when you were 25 years old – or close to it!
In the modern world today, there are chemicals, products, and food that are harmful to us and cause hormone imbalance. These are called hormone disruptors and we’re going to talk about the six worst disruptors that you need to avoid.
1. Sugar – Surprisingly enough, sugar is on the list. We all love sugar, but eating too much leads to some disastrous results in our bodies. For example, the more sugar we eat, the more insulin, testosterone, and estrogen are produced – all three are hormones. Thankfully, we are not talking about the sugar in natural fruits. The sugar in fruit is healthy for you and is not quickly absorbed into the blood stream because of the fiber in the fruit. However, this is also the reason to avoid fruit juices because that sugar goes straight into the blood stream leading to quickly elevated insulin levels.
The sugar we are talking about here is food items such as flour, brown sugar, fruit juices, and any added sugar including what we all know is bad for us – junk foods like cakes, brownies, ice cream, etc.
The reason they are so harmful when eaten on a regular basis is because of their quick absorption by the body and bloodstream. Especially when eaten regularly, this leads to consistent quick and elevated increasing levels of insulin, estrogen, and testosterone. Our bodies do not need this to happen and it is very harmful, leading to an imbalance of potentially all three.
2. Dairy and gluten – Both dairy and gluten can trigger inflammation to start in the body and when eaten on a regular basis, this can lead to chronic inflammation. In addition, both of these cause hormonal imbalances. Dairy is a food item that most people around the world have trouble digesting, to begin with.
It contains a lot of hormones because a) the milk was produced for a baby calf that needs all kinds of hormones, such as growth hormone, to grow into a big, strong and healthy cow and b) the dairy farmers give the cows synthetic hormones, such as recombinant bovine growth hormone, to increase milk production. These hormones are not meant to be consumed by humans and will cause hormonal imbalances in our bodies if eaten consistently.
In terms of gluten, if a person is sensitive to gluten, it can trigger the immune system to increase activity, attack the person’s small intestine and cause inflammation. One of the symptoms of gluten intolerance includes joint inflammation and even widespread pain because the immune system is on hyperdrive and starts attacking healthy tissue. Chronic inflammation can trigger or make hormone imbalance worse.
3. Environmental toxins – Human activity such as pollution and medicines/birth control in the water systems have severely damaged our environment as well as our health in various parts of the world. Another toxin in our environment, that is hard to avoid, is pesticides. These days, almost all of the foods you find in the grocery store, possibly even the organic ones, have pesticides on them.
It is well known that environmental pollutants (xenobiotics) such as pesticides wreak havoc on our bodies if exposed, leading to hormone imbalance and may be even worse afflictions, such as cancer. It is recommended that you do your best to buy organic foods and know the source of your drinking water.
4. Junk food – Going back to food, junk food is another major player here because there is so much junk food around us. Some foods that you might think are healthy, could even be considered junk food. It makes us feel great momentarily, but the results internally are horrible.
As we discussed above, one of these reasons is due to the high sugar and low fiber content. But, junk food also has few nutrients (an empty food) and can contain high amounts of harmful fat as well.
The best food lifestyle to follow is to eat whole foods, mainly a plant-based diet with organic produce and sustainably-raised animal products (including no synthetic hormones). Eating mostly plant-based, with organic produce, you reduce your ingestion of hormones, xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen), and antibiotics. Also, try drinking filtered water as well!
5. Caffeine and alcohol – A little bit of coffee a day, may be a cup or two is generally OK to consume. But if you are drinking caffeine in unregulated amounts, this is not good for your body. This also includes alcohol. It’s arguable that perhaps one drink a day is OK to do, but if your drinking is also unregulated and constant, you’ll want to back off a bit, or may be a lot! Both caffeine and alcohol could be considered (legal) drugs because they change our behavior and body chemistry, significantly. Caffeine is a stimulant and you want to keep this under control.
Replace your consumption of coffee with tea in the morning and dial back your alcohol consumption to consume more water. Water is the healthiest drink on the planet!
6. Stress – Stress is absolutely horrible for us, especially chronic stress. With chronic stress, cortisol levels are constantly elevated, leading to testosterone and estrogen imbalances. It’s important to get good quality sleep every night, exercise regularly, and/or meditate consistently in order to reduce your stress level.
Even just exercising 30 minutes a day and meditating for 10 minutes a day could work wonders on your mood and stress level. In addition, try to get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet (which shouldn’t be too difficult on a whole food, mostly plant-based diet), especially omega-3s, vitamin D, B vitamins, probiotics, and magnesium.
We suggest making small changes in your lifestyle in order to avoid as much as possible the six hormone disruptors listed in this article. By doing this, you can prevent or even reverse hormone imbalance. As you get older, it’s even more imperative that you try to prevent hormone imbalance from starting in the first place by following this advice.
If you want to see what your baseline levels are now with your hormones, consider contacting our clinic to see what’s going on to get a comprehensive blood test. If you are worried that you already have a hormone imbalance, contact one of our hormone advisors to discuss your symptoms as well as a comprehensive blood test to see exactly what is going on. We are just a phone call away!
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Welcoming You To Our Clinic, Professor Tom Henderson.
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