8 ways to calm your hormones so you can feel good on the inside and out
Are you constantly putting pressure on yourself to exercise, eat healthily and resist junk food, but not seeing results when it comes to feeling good?
Well that's no fun! Before you look to the gym (or the pharmacy) to make yourself feel better, make a few small changes.
Here's 10 sure-fire ways to restart your bod with baby steps:
1. Cut back on sweets and starches and try a mini-detox
Too many sweet foods and sugary snacks can send your hormones cray cray. Giving your digestive system a break from having to assimilate one rich food after another is why a mini-detox works. Take it one day at a time. Remove all sugar, starch and fructose-rich foods (like syrups, sauces, food additives and condensed stock cubes) from your diet. Your body will react positively to this short internal cleanse, even if you can only manage it for a couple of days.
2. Let go of the negativity surrounding good fats
Not including enough good fats on your dinner plate will make it more difficult for your body to produce hormones to provide you with energy, curb your cravings and make you feel full. Trans fats are the problem, not good fats. Research shows that dieting and reducing healthy fats raises levels of hormones that stimulate the appetite — and lowers levels of hormones that suppress it. See nuts, eggs, oily fish like sardines and avocados as your little foodie friends from now on.
3. Reduce your sugar intake for a couple of days
Many people who are intolerant to certain foods have no idea why they don't feel well. Get an allergy test done to find out why that sluggish/lethargic/itchy feeling is always there. You may unknowingly be carbohydrate-intolerant, for example. If you love to overdo it on the bad carbs, you are not alone. The same goes for indulging in sweet fruits like bananas – they can contain resistant starch – as your body can have problems with metabolism or insulin distribution and digestion if they are under-ripe. There is no harm in getting to know your own body a little better.
4. Girl. At least try to get enough sleep
I don't advise power naps on the work desk or sleeping standing up on the Luas, but try to go to bed early a few times a week or get a power nap in when the babas are sleeping. The laundry can wait; your body needs time to release the hormones necessary to repair, restore and refresh brain cells while you catch seven hours of sleep.
5. Carefully consider your drinks
Too much caffeine in the form of coffee, energy drinks, fizzy drinks, and sometimes even tea can interfere with the specific hormones necessary for restorative sleep. White wine is another one; as we love it, it does affect the production of collagen in your skin. That's a big non-no as it causes sagging. Good news for the red wine drinkers though, red wine reduces inflammation. Drinking the whole bottle is counter productive so stick to one glass.
6. Limit exposure to chemicals
Low-level exposure to chemicals in your home cleaning agents is not so great for your immune system. According to Kimberly Snyder, The New York Times Nutritionist, over-use will damage the linings of your cells, especially in the nose and digestive tract and may interfere with optimal hormonal function. Try to switch to more natural cleaning products; more often than not soapy water can do the job.
7. Train yourself to wind down
Everyone needs to blow off a little steam every now and again. If you are a bundle of stress or have a huge challenge in your life at the minute, set out some time to enjoy yourself. Even if that's a sneaky dinner with your gal pal, a walk in the woods or an hour with your book in a cool new coffee shop, do it.
8. Be nice to your immune system
Eat fibre regularly to support good bacteria in your gut and keep bogus gut bacteria at a minimum. This will not only keep digestion and elimination running smoothly, it also helps balance your hormones. Fermented foods help with this; easy options include raw tomato sauce, Kefir (fermented yogurt) and Kombucha. Have a go and see what you think.
Do you have a feel-good tip you'd like to share with us? Join the conversation on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.