Ever since I was diagnosed with PCOS, I’ve been on a quest to remove synthetic chemicals from my daily routine. That includes everything from our bathroom cabinet to our pantry. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of pesky ingredients in household items and skincare products. In fact, most of us aren’t aware of how many we’re exposed to—as in like, 80,000 chemicals, every day! Over time, these unnatural ingredients wreak havoc on hormones. They also impact longevity and blood sugar. The fewer we come in contact with, the better. Let’s uncover common endocrine disruptors and how to do a gentle hormone detox.
What are endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disrupting chemicals are harmful substances in the environment. They’re usually manmade. You’ll find them in a wide variety of consumer goods. Think: carpets, cookware, household dust, fragrances, furniture, paints, skincare products, plastics, pesticides, and certain pharmaceuticals. And, unfiltered drinking water. Unfortunately, they mimic our hormones and interfere with our delicate endocrine system. Meaning, they also impact our metabolism and blood sugar. Luckily, it’s possible to limit (or avoid, altogether) endocrine disruptors. Knowledge is power.
Common Endocrine Disruptors
There’s a laundry list of endocrine disruptors out there, but these are the most common and where you’ll find them hidden:
- Bisphenol A (BPA) and other bisphenols: plastics and canned goods.
- Chemical flame retardants: furniture, mattresses, and kitchen items.
- High-risk pesticides: personal care, conventional food, weed killers, and unfiltered water.
- Methylisothiazolinone: preservative found in cleaning and personal care products.
- Oxybenzone: sunscreen and fragrances.
- Parabens: personal care.
- Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): stain-resistant carpeting, nonstick cookware, cosmetics, some food packaging materials, and some menstrual health products.
- Phthalates: plastics, canned goods, fragrance
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): paints, plastics, and rubber.
- Triclosan and triclocarban: cleaning products, labeled as “antimicrobial.”
Download the Think Dirty app to test your household products, cleaners, and skincare for endocrine disruptors.
How to do a hormone detox
Now that you know what common endocrine disruptors are, it’s time to get hormone-smart. A gentle hormone detox is a process that starts in your liver and digestive system. It’s key to supporting estrogen metabolism. Below are six simple steps for hormone detoxification to promote balanced hormone levels. These steps include eating foods which promote hormone detoxification, getting adequate sleep every night, drinking plenty of filtered water, and leveraging the right supplements to reduce hormone imbalance.
1. Add Probiotics
Consider adding probiotics to your diet, such as organic full-fat yogurt or fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, etc.). These support the digestive bacteria in your gut, helping process and metabolize excess estrogen and other hormones. You can also opt for a probiotic supplement.
2. LIMIT Processed foods
Unfortunately, many processed foods have hormone-disrupting compounds, added sugars, and inflammatory oils. These contribute to a slew of health issues, including symptoms of estrogen dominance. Aim to eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods: nuts, seeds, veggies, high-quality animal protein, full-fat dairy, beans, legumes, etc.
3. Eat More Fiber
When it comes to balancing your hormones, fiber is your friend. Leafy greens, seeds, artichokes, beans, legumes, and cruciferous veggies are all high in fiber. I love adding both broccoli and broccoli sprouts for liver detoxification and gut health. They’re powerful hormone-balancing foods that also provide prebiotic fiber for beneficial gut bacteria.
4. Drink Filtered water
Hopefully, you’re already doing this—and avoiding plastic water bottles (which contain common endocrine disruptors). Staying hydrated is a key piece of the hormone balance puzzle, and hormone detox is no different. Diet soda, along with numerous cups of coffee, are both dehydrating and make hormone issues worse. While you’re at it, try to swap your coffee for green tea (or matcha). Green tea contains an antioxidant called EGCG, which has been shown to help your body eliminate excess estrogen.
5. Get At least 7 hours of sleep
Many of us aren’t sleeping enough. But sleep helps balance cortisol, support digestion, improve metabolism, and more. Sleep is especially important for menstruating women! When you sleep well, you should wake up feeling rested. This allows cortisol to reach a ‘peak’ about 30 minutes after you wake up, which impacts all of your other hormones.
6. Move your body
Ideally, spend 30 minutes moving your body. It doesn’t have to be intense! Go for a walk, practice yoga, or do a strength training session. You can also break this up into three, 10-minute sessions throughout the day. Moderate exercise improves hormone balance and breaking a sweat helps excrete toxins.
Click here to learn how to detox your home.
Images courtesy of Unsplash. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.