This article I came across last month about a 10 year old girl who was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. This story is both shocking and frightening because of the possible health trend it describes. It brings to mind a big concern that I have been seeing in my practice over the years, early onset puberty. Some girls I am seeing develop breast buds even as young as 7 or 8 and I've read about cases of some children developing early puberty signs as young as 3 years of age. Just 20 years ago puberty was averaging around age 12 and 20 years before that even later than that. Luckily, if I see the early signs of puberty in young girls I do a lot of educating the parents and use diet and herbs to try to head off the early puberty signs until later. The goal is to push back puberty as much as possible to age 12. Why does it matter? Statistically, girls who go into puberty early will have an increase life-long of risk for hormonally related cancers and health concerns. This includes increased risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, not to mention risk of fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. These cancers and illnesses are to a great extent avoidable.
- Don't microwave food in plastic containers or with plastic wrap. Remove the food and put onto a microwave safe dish or bowl. The plastic contaminates the food with heating in microwave.
- Avoid soy and soy containing foods. This is particularly true of soy oils which are in MANY processed foods because they are a cheap ingredient. Check in mayonnaise and prepackaged foods. Soy is estrogenic and will act as a estrogen in your kid's bodies. Fermented soy products are ok like miso, tempeh and naturally fermented soy sauce.
- Avoid eating too much non-organically grown meats and chicken. Or choose the ones that were grown without growth hormones.
- KNOW what is in your beauty products. MANY make-up, lotions, shampoos are extremely high in hormone disrupting chemicals. If you aren't sure, check the Environmental Working Group's database "Skin Deep" which contains toxicity information on most commercial products.
- Eat the fruits and vegetables that are organically grown. At the very least avoid the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables.