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SNEAKY CHEMICALS THAT MIMIC OUR HORMONES CAN BE A SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARD
We are constantly exposed to environmental toxins, in our water supply, in the air we breathe, and in the foods we eat, but at what cost to our health?
A recent study from the Yale School of Medicine, published in The Endocrine Society journal, Hormones And Cancer, found that exposure in the womb to chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) can increase a person’s risk of breast cancer.
BPA belongs to a group of chemicals called xenoestrogens, which are used to make pesticides, herbicides and plastics. Xenoestrogens act like oestrogen in the body, attaching themselves to oestrogen receptors in both males and females. These artificial oestrogens can interfere with normal hormonal signalling.
We should take measures to avoid these hormone-mimicking chemicals as they may increase the risk of breast, prostate and reproductive cancers; reduce fertility and immune function; cause early puberty in children; menstrual irregularities and other disorders.
Of all the xenoestrogens, BPA has the greatest impact on our health. BPA is used to make hard, clear plastic containers for items such as baby bottles, water bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, milk and juice containers, as well as the plastic coating inside metal cans. Buy and store foods and beverages in glass or stainless steel containers. Avoid plastic food containers and bottles with recycling label number seven or the letters “PC” on the bottom, as they contain BPA. Trace amounts of BPA can leach from these containers into foods and drink. Plastics with the recycling label one, two and four are a better choice as they are BPA-free. Do not heat food in plastic containers or plastic clingwrap, since heating some plastics can cause xenoestrogens to leach out of the container into the food. Some plastic clingwrap is made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and contains xenoestrogens. Invest in a good water filter and use stainless steel or glass water bottles. Tap water can contain xenoestrogens from medications and agricultural and chemical pollution. Babies are most sensitive to the effects of xenoestrogens than adults and are unfortunately exposed to high levels. Buy BPA-free teething rings, dummies, bottles and toys. Buy organic produce free from pesticides, herbicides and xenoestrogen residue. Use paraben-free creams, make-up and other personal care products that are free from xenoestrogens.
Most of our bone mass is laid down when we are young. This is why it is important to provide your child with a nutritious diet that’s rich in all the key elements for good bone health, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins D, C and A. It’s vital that a strong bone foundation is laid in childhood and adolescence to prevent osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
Yoghurt: An excellent source of phosphorus and calcium, two important nutrients that work together to build strong, healthy bones.
Oranges: An excellent source of vitamin C, important for forming collagen in bones.
Cod-liver oil: A rich natural source of vitamins A and D, needed to improve calcium and phosphorus absorption and for healthy growth and development of bones.
Spinach: Green leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium, one of the most important nutrients linked to bone strength, as it assists in the delivery and laying down of calcium in the bones.