Many women in today’s culture are experiencing excess estrogen. Why? Because it is literally everywhere…. in our plastic water bottles, our shampoos, mascara, beauty products, clothing, receipts, food storage containers… the list is long. How is estrogen, a hormone produced by our ovaries and fat cells, in these products? Well, it is not actually estrogen, but Xenoestrogen, a chemical that mimics what our body thinks is estrogen. These Xenoestrogens are absorbed into the body through our skin cells when we use these products or through food and drinks. Because our body is tricked into thinking we have more estrogen, we experience an overflow. And this excess estrogen does not produce pretty symptoms. These Xenoestrogen chemicals are hard to metabolize and break down, and can be stored in our body’s fat cells for years… even decades.
Signs of having an excess of estrogen:
- Breast Tenderness and Swelling. Excess estrogen can stimulate breast cell growth (potentially leading to breast cancer.) Hear of man boobs? (Awful term, I agree!) Men can have excess estrogen too!
- Heavy menstrual flow & dark clots in menstrual blood– we can learn a lot about our hormones by examining how our menstrual blood looks month to month.
- You suffer from Endometriosis, Fibroids, or PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Irritability- leading into Anxiety and Depression
- Painful Periods- it doesn’t have to be this way, I promise!
Ok, so we live in a world full of chemicals and I am truly not trying to scare you, just wanting to share this information to promote awareness.
So how can we get by in this toxic world and navigate our way towards health?
- Reduce ingesting BPA &Phthalates through food and skin. Look for the BPA free label! BPA is used to coat inside of food cans and makes hard plastics such as water bottles. Yet BPA can leak out into the food and water, especially when the containers are heated or frozen because these plastic molecules may burst in these processes. Avoid plastic water bottles and look for water bottles and cans that say BPA free. Use reusable glass food storage containers. Phthalates are in many cosmetics and beauty products. Read labels and shop for products without phthalates at your local health food store. Company products I love are Pure and W3LL for makeup, Acure for Shampoo, Jason for hand soap, and Nature’s Gate for toothpaste.
- Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine. Studies show that drinking a glass of wine each night can increase estrogen in women with breast cancer. Limit servings of alcohol to three per week (suggested by Dr. Sarah Gottfried, Harvard Women’s Health Expert). When your liver is working hard to metabolize alcohol, it has less focus on metabolizing excess estrogen.
- Exercise. As fat cells produce estrogen, excess weight and lack of exercise can lead to excess in estrogen and also high levels of insulin. Losing weight will help lower estrogen and high blood sugar! Find a form of movement that is fun for you: yoga, gym, brisk walk for 20 minutes daily, hiking, Pilates, work out DVDs, you name it!
- Food: Fiber and Cruciferous Veggies. Eat your broccoli! Yep, I said it- your mom was not kidding. And kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, collards, cabbage, chard… All the things you avoided as a child. These foods are of the Cruciferous family, and when the liver breaks them down, it produces a thing called Indole-3-Carbinol, which metabolizes estrogen! Eat these foods daily, (unless you have a thyroid condition). Eat them raw on salads, or steamed or baked. (Stay tuned for a delicious recipe next post!)
I hope these tips were helpful. More info is coming on my next blog post: Part 2 of Do You Have Excess Estrogen? I will be including a yummy recipe that will be sure to get you eating green! And Part 3 of the Estrogen Series will explain estrogen affecting Menopause.