Have you noticed that many products are now promoting “Hormone Free” on their packaging? How do these added hormones affect our body and what can we do to help our hormones stay balanced?
Injecting hormones into cattle, chickens, and other animals that provide meat, dairy and eggs we consume has been common practice, but studies now show that ingesting these products can be disruptive to our own hormonal balance and may lead to cancer and other chronic diseases.1, 2
In addition, there are many products known as xenoestrogens (pronounced zeno-estrogens) found in pesticides, preservatives, and beauty products (such as paraben) which are estrogen mimickers and can contribute to estrogen-dominant conditions such as breast and uterine cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, heavy periods and infertility.3
Going organic can help combat these environmental factors and following are the top categories to consider:
Food. Purchase hormone-free meats and avoid dairy by switching to almond, oat, low-fat coconut or rice milks which do not contain these types of chemicals and can offer just as much nutrition and calcium.
Skincare Products. Preservatives used in skin lotions, suntan lotions, body lotions, shaving creams, make up, shampoo, conditioners, deodorants – including parabens – are all estrogenic, so choose organic and paraben free.
Plastics and Canned Foods. Bisphenol – A and Phthalates which are used to make plastics are now linked to increased breast cancer. Look for BPA-free products and never leave plastic water bottles in your car or heat food in plastic containers in a microwave.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Xenoestrogens are also found in spermicides, birth control pills and synthetic estrogens used in HRT for menopause. Bio-identical hormones from a compounding pharmacy which uses material that is identical in chemical structure to the hormones produced by the body (organic fermented soy or wild yam) are an easy answer and are just as effective.
Medications. Breast enlargement in men is a side effect from Tagament (used to control heartburn) and is due to increased estrogen in the body. If you take medication for heartburn or other food-related conditions, consider a change in diet to manage symptoms and get to the root of the problem.
There are also many herbs and foods that can help balance hormones naturally. Black cohosh, dong quai and sage are good for hot flashes. Turmeric that contains 95% curcuminoids helps to eliminate cancer-causing estrogens and environmental estrogens via the liver. Sulforaphane (found in broccoli sprouts) is a powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting nutrient and chaste tree berry is known as a progesterone-enhancing herb. It contains flavonoids that help regulate the menstrual cycle yet contains no hormones.
In closing, there are foods that balance estrogens and foods that inhibit bad estrogens such as fruits, veggies, seeds, beans, certain oils and grains. There are also herbs that enhance the action of progesterone (estrogen and progesterone act together in the body to create harmony).
Lastly, there are foods to avoid called “ugly estrogenic foods” such as caffeine, certain soy products, hydrogenated fat, dairy products, alcohol, and GMO foods to name a few.
Amanda Beckner is owner of Your Body Code™ which offers personalized nutrition and wellness programs and is located in Palm Desert. For more information visit yourbodycode.com or call (760) 341.BODY (2639).
References: 1) Block G, et al. Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutr Caner. 1992;12:1-29; 2) Musgrove EA, et al. Cell cycle control by steroid hormones. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 1994;5:381-389; 3) Bolton JL1, Pisha E, Zhang F, Qiu S. Role of quinoids in estrogen carcinogenesis. Chem Res Toxicol. 1998 Oct 11 (10):1113-27.