When purchasing foods and household products, you should be aware of some of the ingredients which are commonly included in these products. These days there are many different chemicals included in most of the foods, household cleaners, and cosmetics we purchase. And many of these can be toxic to your thyroid health. This doesn’t mean these chemicals always have a direct effect on your thyroid gland, but many times they can affect the adrenal glands, immune system, and other areas of the body which can impact thyroid health.
This is why you should be careful when purchasing foods and household products. For example, many meats contain xenoestrogens, which are artificial hormones given to livestock to increase their size. Eating a lot of foods which contain these xenoestrogens can have a hormone-like effect on the body, and can even contribute to the condition known as estrogen dominance. I’ve spoken about this condition in the past, as it involves an imbalance in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and can affect thyroid health. So one obvious way you can minimize your exposure to xenoestrogens is to purchase organic meat.
This of course is just one example, as there are ingredients in other foods which you should try to avoid. Another common food which can affect thyroid function is unfermented soy. Usually it’s obvious which foods contain soy, although sometimes you need to be familiar with the ingredients in order to realize it contains soy. For example, when you purchase soy milk or soy yogurt, it’s obvious that these products contain soy. On the other hand, many foods contain soy-based ingredients, but you would never know this unless if you were familiar with some of them.
Here are some of the examples of some of the common names in which soy goes by:
• Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
• Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
• Soy lecithin
• Isolated soy protein
This doesn’t mean that you need to completely avoid all of these ingredients permanently (although certain ones like MSG you really do want to completely avoid), as most people can consume some soy in moderation. And the same thing applies to many other ingredients, as eating foods with such ingredients every now and then usually isn’t a big deal, but the problem is that most people don’t pay attention to these ingredients, and therefore consume too much of them.
Some other ingredients you want to try avoiding, or at least minimizing your consumption of when purchasing foods are:
High fructose corn syrup. Many people realize they should avoid, or at least minimize their consumption of this, as high fructose corn syrup will spike up your blood sugar levels, leading to many different health issues if you consume large quantities of it.
Aspartame. Most people are familiar with this artificial sweetener which is used as a sugar substitute. There have been questions about its safety for years, and I personally avoid the consumption of this ingredient, and recommend that others do the same.
Artificial colors and sweeteners. I actually wrote a post on food dyes and why you should avoid them, which you can read by clicking here:
BHA & BHT. These preservatives are in many foods and are used to protect fats from oxidation. Just like many of these other ingredients, there is some controversy as to whether they are safe or not, but once again, it all comes down to how frequently you eat foods which contain these preservatives. For most people, eating such foods every now and then probably won’t cause any serious problems, although keep in mind that there are many natural alternatives that don’t consist of these preservatives.
Nitrates and nitrites. These are frequently used as a preservative in certain meats…especially deli meats.
So the next time you grab a turkey sandwich at your favorite fast food sandwich store, keep in mind that the meat probably contains xenoestrogens and nitrites. And the bread which surrounds the meat of course contains bread dough conditioners and other ingredients that can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Once again, having a sandwich from these places every now and then is fine, but eating there regularly because you think it’s a healthy choice is a big mistake. If you must have a turkey sandwich, you can visit your local health food store or Trader Joes and purchase meat which is free of hormones and added nitrites, and you can choose a healthier type of bread.
Anyway, these are just some of the ingredients that may be harmful not only to your thyroid health, but your overall health as well. But there are many others I didn’t mention here. Plus, there are also certain ingredients included in cosmetics and other household products that you want to try avoiding. Here are a few examples:
Sodium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfate. Used in many soaps and shampoos, but have been shown to cause irritation of the skin and eyes, can lead to allergic reactions, and is potentially carcinogenic (a cancer causing agent).
Propylene Glycol. This product is not only used in many shampoos, hair conditioners, and body lotions, but also in anti-freeze and brake fluid, and according to the Material Safety Data Sheets it is “implicated in contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities, and can cause dry skin and surface damage”.
Diazolidinyl Urea. A chemical which releases formaldehyde, which as you probably know, can be very toxic to your health.
Plus, many of the household products also contain xenohormones, which as I mentioned earlier, can affect your thyroid health, your adrenal health, etc.
Once again, these are just a handful of ingredients which are commonly found in many of the household products people buy. There of course are other ingredients that can be toxic to your thyroid gland, as well as your overall health. And this is one of the primary reasons why you should try to eat mostly whole foods, buying organic whenever possible, and minimize the consumption of processed foods.