Having something said to me that it’s “bad” for me is one of the things I detest the most. Very likely, you’ve heard that almost everything you value is unhealthy for you in some way if you’ve spent enough time around health and wellness circles. It’s annoyance at best and terror at worst. Nevertheless here I am, writing an article that is probably going to make you feel either anxious or roll your eyes. Because I don’t feel hopeless about what I’m going to write, and I don’t believe you should either, I’m sorry for that, but here’s why I’m writing it nonetheless.
The best thing you can do for your health may be to monitor your hormone levels. Your hormone-producing endocrine system has an impact on much more than just your reproductive system. Also, it influences how well your body handles stress, how well your metabolism is operating, how well you sleep, and how gracefully you age. The majority of the obstacles in the way of hormonal health are environmental. I questioned Ariele Myers, a certified herbalist, fertility expert, and founder of Wisdom of the Womb, about how your environment can negatively impact your endocrine system and how you can shield your body from the worst offenders. Keep in mind that this is not a perfect situation. The tiniest effort can have a significant impact.
How does your environment affect hormonal health?
“Endocrine-disrupting chemicals” are substances that are present in your food, personal care products, and household items. These substances mess with your system, says Endocrine.org, either by directly suppressing hormone synthesis or by imitating your natural hormones, tricking your body into believing you’re in balance when you’re not. The list of endocrine-disrupting chemicals is so long that it can seem hopeless, even if you’ve probably heard of the dangers of BPA, PFAs, and synthetic scent. Nonetheless, awareness serves as a catalyst for change, and as people have started raising awareness of the issue, a gradual trickle of responsible businesses have started to implement improvements.
Myers mentioned air quality, single-use plastics, and skincare when I asked her which environmental elements were most crucial (and reasonably simple to avoid). She said, “Single-use (and really any) plastics tend to break down more readily, so we are practically ingesting plastic when we drink through a straw or a plastic coffee lid. Our skin is our largest organ, so whatever we put on our skin should be as clean as possible.” She also warned that off-gassing from fresh paint or carpet can be harmful; nevertheless, if you can’t completely prevent it, try to keep windows open as much as you can.
How to clean up your life to optimize hormonal health:
- Opt for eco-friendly brands: Myers said that taking care of the environment is the finest thing we can do for our bodies, which is why many of her suggestions for maintaining your hormonal health are also more environmentally responsible choices. I often add, “Avoid the things you know are bad for the world too. If the earth is not healthy, none of its inhabitants can be.” It’s a great reason to advocate for environmental rights. Look for eco-friendly businesses that are open about their ingredients if you’re concerned about all the hidden toxins in your items. Little behavioral adjustments can have a big impact on the environment and our hormones.
- Purify your water: Public drinking water may contain microplastics and other pollutants. Based on where you live, you can use the EWG’s free tap water database to determine what kind of water filter might work best in your house. Avoid using tap water wherever possible, invest in a good water filter for your home, such as LifeStraw, and think about installing a shower head filter (contaminants can enter your pores too!).
- Be intentional about improving air quality: Purchasing an indoor air purifier is always a good choice in terms of air quality. Keep windows open, as Myers said, especially after purchasing a new rug or piece of furniture that may be off-gassing, if that is not financially feasible. It’s a good idea to add plants to purify the air, switch to eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products, and make sure your candles are made of natural, non-synthetic ingredients.
- Use non-toxic skincare: Thank goodness, there are a ton of transparent, easily obtainable, and reasonably priced clean skincare brands. The Skin Deep Database, a fantastic free resource from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), rates the safety of beauty products based on their ingredients. You can use it to see if your favorite products fall within a safe range. If not, it’s a fantastic tool for learning about new brands.
- Avoid plastics when possible: Although it may be difficult to completely eliminate single-use plastics, many conscious businesses are making an effort to update their packaging to be more environmentally (and health) friendly. And there are a few techniques that can at least reduce the amount of single-use plastics you use. For example, if you’re a big fan of your regular coffee run, bring your own mug. The majority of coffee establishments permit this, however I personally like using my glass mug with a silicone top and sleeve. Even if avoiding food in plastic packaging is difficult and expensive, just being aware of it may encourage you to buy produce that isn’t already packaged. Having a supply of bamboo cutlery handy for eating takeout on the go.