The toxic truth about pesticides
April 26, 2024

The toxic truth about pesticides

Exploring pesticides' role in hormonal balance.

How pesticides impact hormones

With spring in full swing, we’re diving into a topic with seasonal significance: the connection between pesticides, toxins, and hormonal imbalances. If you’re no stranger to pesky PMS or an irregular menstrual cycle, this one’s for you. We’re revealing the 411 on pesticide-laden produce, how to shop organic on a budget, and simple ways to reduce your toxin exposure.

Spoiler alert! This isn’t a wake-up call to banish conventional blueberries from your fridge, but it is about empowerment. After all, the impact of pesticides on hormone health is vast—and it doesn’t just affect women.

How do pesticides impact hormones?

To keep pests, weeds, and diseases at bay, farmers have access to hundreds of pesticides. These chemicals do their job well, but they come with a slew of downsides. For example, they can easily disrupt our hormones. In turn, this triggers one of two things: an interference of hormone production or hormone-mimicking in the body. Either way, pesticides are linked to hormonal imbalances—estrogen dominance, worsened PMS, mood swings, a slower metabolism, and fertility issues.

6 holistic ways to minimize the effects of pesticides

While we can’t avoid all pesticides in this modern world (or fully remove them from produce), you can take proactive steps to minimize their impact.

  1. Reduce your exposure. When possible, opt for organic produce when possible (more on this below!). Washing fruits and vegetables—thoroughly—before consuming can also help remove pesticide residues.
  2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of filtered, mineral-rich water to support your body's natural detoxification processes. This helps flush out pesticides.
  3. Sweat it out. On that note, regular exercise (that induces sweating) can help eliminate toxins from your body. Whether it's through a brisk walk, a workout session, or time in a sauna, sweating can aid in toxin removal.
  4. Support your liver health. Your liver plays a crucial role in detoxification. Incorporate liver-supporting foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale), garlic, onions, and beets into your diet. 
  5. Prioritize antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your cells from oxidative stress. Include plenty of colorful fruits and veggies on your plate.
  6. Consider detoxifying foods. Certain ingredients—like cilantro, parsley, chlorella, and spirulina—can help bind and eliminate toxins from your body.

With a tight budget in mind, what produce should you prioritize organic?

Take a peek at the Dirty Dozen. This is an updated list of produce found with the most contaminated levels of pesticide residue. In other words, the Dirty Dozen (strawberries, spinach, kale, blueberries, etc.) have the highest exposure to toxins. Prioritize these foods organic. To lower the cost of organic shopping, focus on buying frozen organic ingredients, consider an online grocer like Imperfect Foods, join a local CSA (community-supported agriculture), and shop for produce in season.

On the flip side, the Clean 15 includes produce with the lowest levels of pesticides. In that sense, they’re safer to buy non-organic. These fruits and veggies (avocados, mushrooms, onions, carrots, etc.) have the lowest exposure to pesticides. 

Can you effectively clean conventional produce?

Yes! Here are helpful tips:

  • Rinse fruits and vegetables under cold running water, rubbing them gently with a vegetable brush. This removes dirt, bacteria, and surface pesticide residues.
  • Additionally, use a vinegar solution. For produce with thicker skins—such as apples or cucumbers—you can create a solution of water and vinegar to further remove pesticide residues. Mix one part vinegar with three parts water in a bowl. Soak the produce for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Peel and trim. While this will remove some of the fiber, consider peeling fruits and vegetables, as this can remove a large portion of pesticide residues. 

Hormone-friendly eats

Have you tried our viral purple sweet potato wraps? These antioxidant-packed, versatile wraps are part of the Clean 15. We make a batch every week! For more recipe inspo, we have you covered.