What is BPA and how is it harmful?
Bisphenol A (BPA) has been reported in the news as causing health problems in humans. Unfortunately, the bad news about this toxin is still evolving – A pair of recent studies links BPA with heart disease, obesity, and diabetes risk.
BPA is an organic compound that’s in used plastics, such as water bottles, the lining of canned goods, and thermal receipts. However, BPA mimics estrogen in your body and is thought to disrupt hormone function. As such, BPA is linked to several potential health problems, from infertility to developmental delays in kids to cancer.
A new study from Britain links high urinary concentrations of BPA in healthy men and women to a higher risk of heart disease 10 years later. In another new study, Chinese researchers linked high concentrations of BPA to obesity — especially belly fat — and insulin resistance (a precursor of diabetes) in middle-aged and elderly people. American researchers have found a similar connection between BPA and Type II diabetes.
Simple changes can limit your exposure to BPA and other toxins:
- Opt for fresh food. One study found that a diet of organic fresh food can reduce urinary levels of BPA and DEHP (a type of phthalate chemical which also disrupts hormone function) by more than 50% in just 3 days.
- Look for BPA-free containers. When you buy packaged foods, choose those in glass jars, aseptic packaging, and BPA-free cans.
- Store food in glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel containers. You can find BPA-free plastic containers, but some researchers have found traces of BPA in those, too.
- Shop for dry goods at the bulk bins. Pick up flour, rice, beans, dried fruit, cereal, and pasta at the bulk bins at health-food stores. Sure, you’ll put bulk-bin finds into plastic bags, but you can transfer them to BPA-free containers as soon as you get home.
- Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. The heat causes BPA and other chemicals to leach into food. Similarly, don’t put plastic containers (if you have ’em) in the dishwasher.
- Don’t handle thermal receipts. These are those carbonless receipts you collect everywhere you go, from the grocery store to the gas station to the ATM. Yep, they have BPA. Refuse receipts if you have the option. If you don’t, wash your hands after handling them. BPA in thermal receipts can be absorbed through your skin, as well as ingested with food.
If you are worried you might have been exposed to chemicals, let’s get you into the clinic to get tested.
Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, N.D.
Besides rebalancing hormones, simple modifications in posture, habits, thought, and behavior often go a long way toward reducing feelings of stress and tension. Here are 8 quick and simple things you can do immediately to help keep your stress level under control.
1. Control Your Anger:
Watch for the next instance in which you find yourself becoming annoyed or angry at something trivial or unimportant. Make a conscious choice not to become angry or upset – practice letting go. Do not allow yourself to waste energy and thoughts where it isn’t deserved. Effective anger management is a tried-and-true stress reducer.
Before reacting to the next stressful occurrence, take three deep breaths, into your abdomen and release them slowly. If you have a few minutes, try out breathing exercises such as meditation or guided imagery.
3. Slow Down:
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by stress, speak more slowly than usual. You’ll find that you think clearer and react more reasonably to stressful situations. Stressed people tend to speak fast and breathlessly; by slowing down your speech, you’ll also appear less anxious and more in control of any situation.
4. Complete One Simple To Do:
Jump start an effective time management strategy. Choose one simple thing you have been putting off (e.g. returning a phone call, making a doctor’s appointment) and do it immediately. Taking care of one nagging responsibility can be energizing and can improve your attitude.
5. Get Some Fresh Air:
Get outdoors for a brief break. Our grandparents were right about the healing power of fresh air. Don’t be deterred by foul weather or a full schedule. Even five minutes on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating.
6. Avoid Hunger and Dehydration:
Drink plenty of water and eat small, nutritious snacks. Hunger and dehydration, even before you’re aware of them, can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress.
7. Do a Quick Posture Check:
Hold your head and shoulders upright and avoid stooping or slumping. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress.
8. Recharge at the Day’s End:
Plan something rewarding for the end of your stressful day, even if only a relaxing bath or half an hour with a good book. Put aside work, housekeeping or family concerns for a brief period before bedtime to fully relax. Don’t spend this time planning tomorrow’s schedule or doing chores you didn’t get around to during the day. Remember that you need time to recharge and energize yourself – you’ll be much better prepared to face another stressful day. If you are feeling stressed, let’s get your hormones tested and see what I can do for you.
Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, N.D.
1) Workout first thing in the morning before you start your day. Then, you will have no excuse later in the day.
2) Be more active – choose to walk or ride a bicycle or swim as much as possible, swimming is one of the highest calorie burning activities you can do.
3) Focus all your meals around a good source of protein and healthy fats. This will help maintain muscle. Protein and fats have the highest thermic effect of food which allows you to burn more calories digesting it.
4) Consider getting sorbet ice cream if you do have dessert. They are usually very low in calories compared to fancy Italian gelato.
5) Eat foods high in fiber for breakfast and this will keep you feeling full all day long.
6) Never have 2 “cheat meals” in a row. For example, if you have pasta for one meal, make sure the next meal is something that is healthy, such as lean fish and vegetables.
7) Ask for the dressing or sauce on the side when you order food at a restaurant – you can add the right amount you want as you eat.
8) Drink water based on your body weight throughout the day. The more water you drink, the less likely you will consume large calorie meals.
9) Drink zero calorie drinks. For example, drinks with stevia will help with sweet cravings and do not contain calories which can cause weight gain.
I should trade mark this last piece of advice – I say it to patients all the time:
10) “If you are going to cheat, cheat well.” Do not cheat with junk foods with artificial or junk ingredients. Cheat with food that feeds your soul and your belly – foods that are decadent and worth the calories. Follow the 80-20 rule or the 6 days on, 1 day off rule.
People gain weight when they go on holidays or travel because there are so many different food choices and options. I hope you found these 10 tips useful and you can apply some of them for the fall. If you do need help with a specific diet to achieve the health goals you want, feel free to reach out and let me help you!
Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, N.D.