Meet ‘the feisty four’; and learn how to balance them.
It is easy to forget the purpose of food - particularly at this time of year - when we are bombarded with messages about weight loss goals. Too often we associate it with the exterior; how we look. And looking good = being thin. And yet, food is there to fuel our bodies. Neuroscientists will tell us that the component parts of food quite literally determine whether our brain cells fire or not, grow or not, form new connections, or wilt and die. Food is also our most powerful tool when we consider hormone balance in midlife.
On Thursday, we hosted our first Expert Series Session of 2021 with Nicki Williams, founder of Happy Hormones for Life. Nicki and her team of nutritionists have been supporting women with hormone balance for nearly 10 years. Alongside her clinic, she hosts a really informative podcast, edits a digital magazine and supports the MPowder community as part of our consultancy team.
Nicki focused our attention on the 4 hormones she refers to as ‘the feisty four’, the impact these interconnecting chemicals have on our bodies and minds in midlife and the symptoms that may indicate that your hormones need rebalancing:
Cortisol - ‘the stress hormone’; common symptoms associated with cortisol imbalance include feeling ‘wired’, brain fog, tiredness, mood swings, poor sleep, anxiety, frequent colds and hard to shift belly fat.
Insulin - ‘the fat storing hormone’; common symptoms include an expanding waist (where you waist is broader than your hips), feeling sleepy in the afternoon, anger (and in particular, feeling ‘hangry’ - finding it difficult to go without food), mood swings, the 3am wake up, heavy or painful periods, sugar cravings and feeling dizzy before food.
Thyroid - ‘the metabolism hormone’: symptoms can include extreme fatigue (particularly in the morning), feeling sluggish and gaining weight, low mood, anxiety, hair loss, dry skin, cold hands and feet and brain fog.
Oestrogen - ‘the sex hormone’; symptoms here range from dry itchy skin, vaginal dryness, low mood, low libido, hot flashes, night sweats, memory loss, cramps if you still have a cycle, often along with heavy bleeding, fluid retention, bloating, breast tendreness, weight gain and headaches.
Harnessing our hormones is critical as we transition into and through menopause - a life-stage that really begins from our mid to late 30s. If we don’t, we leave ourselves exposed to chronic disease.
And the good news is that lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Nicki has a 4 step Happy Hormone Code that blends good nutrition with self care, the right kind of exercise and the removal of toxic hormone disruptors from the home.
For those of you in perimenopause, many of the food sources she recommends are neatly blended into MPowder Peri-Boost, which makes it super easy! But for those of you waiting on our Meno & Post Boost recipes, here is what you can do now:
Focus on food as medicine: eat protein, healthy fats, slow carbs, phytonutrients and ensure you’re drinking enough water
Prioritise cruciferous vegetables: they’re full of glucosinolates which not only help you fight off infection, recent studies show they may have potential on warding of cancers too
Include foods high in phytoestrogens: but make sure you look for GM free sources (something we always do with our blends too)
Indulge in dark chocolate: it is rich in magnesium and can help reset your cortisol levels. It can also have a very positive impact on mood. We include clinical doses of raw cacao in MPowder Peri-Boost because it has so many qualities that we need in midlife; so alongside the 70% dark chocolate, we’d also recommend some ethically sourced organic cacao nibs as a go-to snack or healthy topping for yoghurts, puddings or porridge.
If you are curious about your hormones and want to learn more, Happy Hormones for Life is full of information. Why not find 5 minutes this weekend to take the Happy Hormones Quiz as a start? Then, if you’d like to talk to Nicki or a member of our team about their testing and tailored nutritional service, you can head to our consultancy page and book a FREE 15 minute discovery call here.
With love, the MPowder Team.