Image Source: MorgueFile / Pippalou

Following on from yesterday’s post where I explained what xenoestrogens are (environmental estrogens) and how they are related to breast cancer and a whole host of other diseases (including diabetes, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, menstrual irregularities such as heavy bleeding and cramps, menopausal symptoms, and cervical cancer), today I’d like to share with you some ideas on how to protect yourself from them xenoestrogens and estrogen dominance. 

First, a refresher on where xenoestrogens come from:

The Most Common Sources of Xenoestrogens

commercially raised meat (full of antibiotics and synthetic hormones)

plastics, plastic food wraps

canned foods

styrofoam cups (especially when used with boiling hot liquids)

industrial wastes

chlorinated water

paints, solvents, lacquers

most personal care products & cosmetics (unless organic)

pesticides and herbicides

car exhaust and pollution

birth control pills and spermicide

household detergents and cleaners

all artificial scents (like aerosol room deodorants)

air fresheners, perfumes

Keep in mind that this is only a partial list.  These are just the best known sources of xenoestrogens.

25 of the Best Ways to Protect Yourself from Xenoestrogens

  1. Find Out Your Hormone Levels – I believe this should come first.  Find out what your levels are (there are test kits available from this reputable site) and supplement with progesterone if needed.
  2. Diet – ensure you are getting lots of fresh whole (and organic) foods in your diet every day.  Whole foods support your body’s natural ability to balance itself, and provide essential nutrients your body needs to thrive.  Make sure your diet includes abundant brightly colored vegetables and fruits, hormone free meats, and healthy fats including cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil. Limit or avoid refined foods like white sugar and flour, as these foods deplete the body of essential nutrients.
  3. Eat Phytoestrogens – (plant estrogens) because plant-based estrogen compounds bind to the same estrogen receptor sites on cells that xenoestrogens do. When a receptor site is already occupied by a phytoestrogen, xenoestrogens cannot attach to it. The great thing about phytoestrogens is that they are generally much weaker in their estrogenic effects than xenoestrogens, or even the body’s more potent natural estrogens. So phytoestrogens help to protect the body against excessive estrogen stimulation by binding receptor sites against more potent xenoestrogens.  Phytoestrogens are found in soy, all legumes, whole grains, flaxseed, and dark green leafy vegetables.
  4. Stress Management – stress directly affects your hormones.  When stress is chronically high, hormones become out of balance.  Therefore, finding ways to de-stress every day are a must. Take a little time each day to breath deep, exercise, and find ways to relax like yoga, meditation and walking.
  5. Eat Organic or Free Range – meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables (whenever you can).  I still believe that if you can’t get something organic and you’re really craving it – to me that’s a sign your body needs that food.  Buy it and be really OCD about washing it to remove any traces of pesticide from it by using a good quality fruit & vegetable wash.
  6. Learn How to Garden Organically – avoid all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicide.
  7. Filter Your Shower Water – have a good water filter for your source of water to protect yourself from organochlorines in our water. 
  8. Avoid Plastic Containers – they leach into your food and into the environment (especially don’t leave a plastic bottle of water in the sun!).  Use glass, ceramic or stainless steel whenever possible to store food.
  9. Replace Plastic Wrap on meats and other foods as soon as you get home from the store with plastic wrap that doesn’t have DEHA in it. Or use some of those newer food wraps that use beeswax and cloth for keeping things fresh.
  10. Beware of the Microwave – do not microwave food in plastic containers, and especially avoid the use of plastic wrap to cover food for microwaving. I only use my microwave for those seed-filled heat packs.
  11. Avoid Teflon and Other Non-Stick Cookware – titanium or cast iron are better alternatives.
  12. Don’t Use Fabric Softeners – it puts petrochemicals right on your skin.
  13. Use Safe Cleaning Products – choose “green” products with no nasty chemicals in them.  Contact me if you need a good source.
  14. Use Safe Body Products – especially toothpaste.  You’re putting this into your mouth and your children’s mouths.  You don’t need fluoride, it’s a myth! 
  15. Avoid Sun Creams and Cosmetics That Have Toxic Chemicals – the cheaper they are, the more toxic chemicals they have in them.  See my article about safe body products and cosmetics for some reputable companies.
  16. Avoid Nail Polish and Nail Polish Removers – these are just too full of toxic chemicals. Look for cleaner varieties (they do exist!).
  17. Avoid Perfumes and Use Essential Oils Instead – most perfumes are petrochemical nightmares. Use organic essential oils instead – they not only smell wonderful but they are full of beneficial plant compounds that will help keep you healthy and won’t give you a headache like some perfumes can. 
  18. Avoid Birth Control Pills and Lubricants Found in Many Condoms and Diaphragm Gels
  19. If You Get New Carpet Installed, Live Somewhere Else For a Few Days – it gives off noxious fumes, so does new furniture.
  20. Avoid X-rays As Much As Possible
  21. Avoid Synthetic Flea Shampoos, Flea Collars, and Flea Pesticides for your pets and home.
  22. Avoid Synthetic Air Fresheners – instead put a few drops of your favorite essential oils into a spray mist bottle filled with distilled water.  Smells better, works well, it’s cheaper and safer.
  23. Avoid Canned Foods – in the USA, over 85% of tin cans are lined with bisphenol-A (BPA) to reduce the metallic taste that can be present in canned foods. Unfortunately, BPA is a known xenoestrogen that leaches when exposed to heat, such as the sterilization process some cans undergo, or acid (and tomatoes are acidic).
  24. Avoid Anything Containing Red Food Dye – FD&C Red No. 3, a common food dye (erythrosine) is a known xenoestrogen.
  25. Find Non-Toxic Paints – look for companies that make interior paints that are formaldehyde free, emit minimal VOC’s, and contain additional sealing properties that reduce outgassing.

Unfortunately, because these compounds are so ubiquitous in our environment, no article of this length could possibly be as comprehensive as I’d like it to be.  I would encourage you to read further on the subject and educate yourself, your family, and friends.  In the end, voting with your pocketbook and spreading information to enable others to do the same is likely to be the single most important thing you can do to help slow the spread of estrogen dominance and its accompanying health problems.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.