Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - NUTRITION NEWS -

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.

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