Through the meats, fruits and vegetables that you eat, you could be consuming a harmful amount of foreign hormones, such as xenoestrogens, that make your menopausal symptoms worse. It can be difficult to avoid these chemically altered hormones due to agricultural practices of farmers both in your own country and from countries that export both produce and livestock. However, with a little planning, you could create a hormone-free meal plan that benefits you and your entire family. Keep reading to find out how.
What Does “Organic” Mean?
Usually, the term organic will refer to fruits and vegetables cultivated without the use of pesticides, which can contain foreign hormones, or fertilizers. This will make a big difference if you are trying to limit the amount of xenohormones that you are exposed to. If you are going to peel off the outer layer of the food, such as an orange or grapefruit, you'll more than likely avoid any harmful hormones. Also, beware of paying more for produce labeled “natural”. This just means that it was not processed in a factory, which most fruit isn't.
Why Do Some Meat Products Say “Hormone Free”?
Hormone free is a term used to describe meat and dairy products. Keep in mind, this doesn't mean that there aren't any hormones found in the meat or eggs that you're about to purchase. A more accurate term would be "no hormones added" because animals naturally posses their own hormones.
The United States government prohibits the use of hormones in raising poultry and pigs, so U.S. residents needn't look for these types of labels on chicken, turkey, or pork. In the UK, The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs enforces the restriction of growth hormones in any type of livestock.
How Can I Ensure That I'm Actually Buying Organic?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) performs rigorous inspections of most food sources so that they may label them USDA-approved. If you see a seal from this government department, the food is grown or cultivated as advertised. Also, make sure you don't get caught in a common marketing trap; sometimes you'll see labels that say "antibiotic-free" or "free range". While these are two great qualities to look for in meat products, they do not necessarily mean that those products are hormone free.
Things to consider
Always wash your organic fruits and vegetables thoroughly, because the absence of chemical residues may allow bacteria to thrive on these products. If you can't buy organic produce, look for items grown locally or domestically. Farming practices in other countries tend to allow more pesticides.
More Information about Hormones
Xenohormones include plant-derived and chemically-created hormones that the body recognizes as its own. These substances can cause fluctuations in the hormone levels of menopausal women and lead to aggravated symptoms. Click on the link below to learn more about hormones.