What if I told you there were compounds in the environment that not only encouraged you to accumulate fat where you least want it but can accelerate ageing and steal your vital energy? Shocked, suspicious, dismissive?
Typically when I begin to raise the importance of environmental detoxification I’m met with demonstrative eye rolling and audible sighs. I must confess to being a bit of an eye-roller myself in the past. Nutrition and training seem so much easier to quantify and environmental issues just seem - at least on the surface - so ephemeral and difficult to manage. So to halt the derisory sighing let me hit you where it matters most: your appearance!
There's numerous environmental factors that have a powerful influence on your hormonal balance in turn effecting how fat is stored and distributed in your body. Yes, you read that correctly that inch on your hips can actually be influenced by more than just what goes through your lips. For women this is particularly important if you’re looking to achieve or maintain a lean, healthy and energetic body. That said, this information is valid for both genders.
So what exactly are these environmental factors we are dealing with? Primarily I refer to what are known as xeno-estrogens (literally foreign estrogens). For our purposes these are compounds in the environment that mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. Primarily these are
BPAs and phthalates found in plastics, pesticides, everyday cosmetics, air fresheners and perfumes, amongst other things. Frequently they enter the body via absorption through the skin. If you’re suspicious of this mechanism just remember why testosterone gel and nicotine patches
Xeno-estrogens cause a disruption in our natural hormone balance that has been conclusively linked to:
low libido and infertility
excessive fat gain
acne and skin disorders
inability to concentrate and poor memory
lack of energy
magnesium and zinc deficiency
Evidence to suggest links with childhood autism, ADD and asthma
If that’s not enough, excess estrogen contributes to exaggerated fat accumulation in the lower body and chest. If you’ve had a tendency to accumulate stubborn fat in these areas in I imagine I might have piqued your interest.
Of course eradication of estrogen is never the goal. Most readers will be aware of the estrogen’s synonymous relationship with feminine characteristics. For the most part this is true, as it has a particularly profound effect on female development and metabolism. In both sexes healthy estrogen metabolism favours fat burning and decreases fat storage. Additionally managing estrogen effectively will improve insulin sensitivity, decrease appetite and increase mood.
What to do?
1. AVOIDANCE! The simplest and most effective way to combat the effects of xeno- estrogens is to avoid or limit exposure in the first place. Shocking hey? Do a stock take of your household plastics, cosmetics and cleaning products for BPA and Phthalates and ditch them. If you're unsure head over to ewg.org for detailed lists of common offenders.
2. Only use natural organic household cleaning products, air fresheners, shampoos and conditioners.
3. Don't eat and drink from plastic containers and never microwave food in the stuff.
4. Emphasise free range and organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. Foods sprayed with pesticides and grown with synthetic fertilisers can wreak havoc with your endocrine system.
5. Get adequate omega 3 fatty acids from food – EPA, DHA, ALA. These are abundant in cold-water fish, free-range eggs, flax seeds and chia seeds.
6. Consume adequate amounts of vitamin D, zinc, selenium, magnesium.
7. Add up to 40g soluble fibre daily. This will assist in detoxify excess estrogen from the body.
8. Limit highly processed carbohydrates and get majority of carbs from natural vegetables and fruits.
9. Consume high quantities of cruciferous vegetables. These are high in specific compounds that bind estrogen and assist in detoxification. These include: Arugula, Bok choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Horseradish, Kale, Radishes, Turnips, Watercress, Wasabi.
9. Avoid or minimise alcohol, soy and wheat.
10. Supplements that can help: DIM, curcumin and calcium
D-Glucarate. Grape seed extract can be particularly helpful for men.
For a complete no nonsense guide to Reseting your Mind and Body click the link below.