How to Get Leaner Legs

While we are all genetically predisposed to store stubborn body fat in unwanted areas, it seems there’s a direct correlation between the types of foods that we eat and where it shows up as fat on our body. There are several factors that influence how and where we store body fat, the obvious being diet and exercise, but it’s important to be cognizant of factors like environmental toxins, the quality of our “healthy” food, hormonal status, and our own body’s ability to detoxify harmful chemicals that we’re exposed to on a daily basis. If you’re a woman, or a man with stubborn lower body fat, it’s imperative you know which foods and herbs will help you finally get those long-lasting lean legs.

 

The Estrogen Effect

How the body deals with environmental estrogens from our environment has a large part to do with how fat we get, and specifically where we get fat. Our body seems to store more body fat in the lower body if we’re exposed to more exogenous estrogens (from food, air, water) that some people can have a hard time detoxifying (getting rid of). Researchers believe that there has been a substantial increase of estrogenic and estrogen-like chemicals in our environment. Because of the high prevalence of chemicals in our environment, we are becoming feminized; contributing to decreased sperm counts, increased infertility, and increased hormonal toxins stored in our body fat.

 

Estrogenic Foods

There are several foods that contribute to increased levels of estrogen in the body and a subsequent increase in stubborn body fat, particularly in the lower body.

  • Conventionally Raised Meats – these animals are often injected with hormones and fed chemically treated grain; including wheat, corn and soy products that effectively bulk them up, but also feminize them. When we eat these meats, we are effectively adding unnatural amounts of hormones and toxins into our body as well.
  • Soy – contains several hormone-disrupting chemicals, both naturally occurring, and because of the aggressive spraying of pesticides and herbicides. The only healthy way to consume soy is through fermentation, in the form if miso, natto and tempeh. All other forms of soy, from oils to bars to protein powders should be strictly avoided.
  • Beer – Hops, the bitter herb that gives beer its distinctive bite, has estrogenic and libido-reducing effects, not to mention its contribution to “man-boobs”.

Anti-Estrogenic Foods

According to author Ori Hofmekler (The Anti-Estrogen Diet and The Warrior Diet), there are several anti-estrogenic components in foods we eat every day that help mitigate the effects of estrogenic chemicals and estrogen mimickers in our environment. By eating more of these foods, we can better detoxify estrogens from the body and reduce troublesome lower body fat, balance hormones, and reduce the risks of cancer.

  • Cruciferous Vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts have natural anti-estrogenic compounds like DIM (Diindolylmethane) and Sulforaphane, which have been shown to exhibit anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and antimicrobial properties and are especially beneficial for helping detoxify and eliminate environmental estrogens.
  • Citrus Fruits – contain bioflavonoids like rutin and quercitin, which are best known for their antioxidant cancer fighting properties.
  • Coffee – contains flavones and is a beneficial bitter herb; one of the only that we consume in the Standard American Diet.
  • Herbs – resveratrol, passionflower, chamomile, green tea extract, milk thistle and turmeric are all powerful herbs that help the body detoxify harmful environmental estrogens.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – found in grass-fed meat and organic dairy products. CLA has anti-carcinogenic compounds and is a valuable addition to any fat loss program
  • Nuts, avocado and free-range eggs – these are higher fat foods that provide necessary Omega-3 fatty acids for reducing the inflammation caused by excessive Omega-6 fatty acids found in processed and packaged foods.

 

Helpful Hints

-       Avoid heating plastic containers in the microwave or leaving plastic water bottles in the sun or in your car as the phthalates in the plastic can leech into your water and food.

-       Choose organic food when possible as it does not contain the harmful herbicides and pesticides that are present in conventionally farmed vegetables, fruits and grain-fed meats.

-       Use hygiene and skin products that do not contain parabens. Daily creams, sunscreen, shampoo’s and even lipstick are full of toxic chemicals that can contribute to unwanted body fat and hormone imbalances. Use www.cosmeticdatabase.com to identify potentially harmful ingredients.

-       Take a daily supplement containing one or multiple detoxifying herbs from the aforementioned list of anti-estrogenic foods.

No matter how lean and healthy you already may be, use these guidelines to keep the body clear of toxic chemicals and estrogen induced lower body fat. And for those that just can’t seem to get those legs as lean as they’d like, this could be just the thing you’re looking for.

Ben Brown is the owner of Body Systems Healing & Performance in Scottsdale. He specializes in corrective exercise and weight-loss programs as well as individualized supplement and nutrition plans. For more info, contact Ben at ben@bodysystemsaz.com or visit www.bodysystemsaz.com.