Many of us avoid BPA containing products, due to their high xenoestrogen content. I recently read an article that showed tests that even if all of your plastic is BPA-free it still likely contains chemicals that have xenoestrogens, which mimics estrogen, causing dangerous levels of estrogen in the body. I have a whole slew of BPA-free products for my one year old and my first thought was to throw everything away and replace it with glass products. Well, that would cost a bundle right now and it got me thinking… even by doing that I still can’t totally protect him from xenoestrogens. They are everywhere! When we walk by Yankee Candle, it may smell good, but our bodies are being flooded with these harmful chemicals. From private homes to pubic areas, there’s usually an air freshener containing these. Not to mention eating out, going to BBQs with plasticware, the list goes on. I hate to accept it (and I’ll do anything I can to keep them out of our house), but we can’t totally avoid exposure to xenoestrogens. Until there are regulations put in place (and I encourage you to be active in this fight), there has to be another way to protect our families.
Phytoestrogens. Unfortunately, this word has gotten a bad reputation for some reason. There seems to be some confusion. Let me make it simple….Xenoestrogens = bad; Phytoestrogens = good.
Xenoestrogens are a synthetic xeno (which means foreign) hormone. They raise estrogen in the body to alarming levels and can contribute to, at the least, hormonal imbalances and, at the worst, breast cancer and other cancers. Xenoestrogens are present in just about anything synthetic, from plastics to tin cans, perfume to candles. Phytoestrogens are phyto (meaning plant) nutrients, that ,on the other hand, lock up estrogen receptors in the body and in turn block harmful xenoestrogens from the body. Phytoestrogens have been found to have anti-cancer properties due to this. Phytoestrogens can naturally be found in flax seed, soy, onions, yams, garlic and seaweed.
By adding in phytoestrogen-rich foods to yours and your family’s diet, you can help block the affects of xenoestrogens that, while we can reduce our exposure, are unavoidable. In order to retain the phytoestrogen content, foods containing these nutrients are best consumed raw (raw edamame (soybeans), non-roasted flax seed, raw onions, etc.). Flax seed has the highest phytoestrogen content and can be added to smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, baby foods (my son loves it in oatmeal), baked goods and more.