Does Christmas play havoc with your hormones?
Hormonal imbalances are caused by a combination of factors LIFESTYLE INCLUDING DIET, MEDICAL HISTORY, GENETICS, STRESS, EXPOSURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS, AGE and CHRISTMAS. Well, we are in December and it’s officially the festive season – the time for burning the candle at both ends , stressing about money, presents, time management, family members, work commitments, alcohol excess and much more! All these factors together with large intakes of alcohol or caffeine, reduced sleep, STRESS and poor food choices will impact hormones. You could develop Christmas hormones. So, as we are early into the festive season here are a few suggestions to help Christmas hormones at bay.
Eat Healthy Fats (Including coconut oil and avocados)
Choose natural foods when possible. I appreciate this is hard but if you wish to avoid Christmas hormones try when you can. Include foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids – this is key to keeping your hormones in check. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.
My four favorite sources of anti-inflammatory anti Christmas hormones fats are coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, wild-caught salmon and trout. Coconut oil can be used for cooking, as a moisturiser, to clean your teeth and much more. From a naturopathic viewpoint it contains anti-bacterial and fat-burning properties so ensure you use some good quality, organic coconut oil daily.
Eat Fish: salmon and trout are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive function so this is a good time to load up on rich sources of natural omega-3s (other options include wild fish and shellfish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and grass-fed animal products).
Happy hormones like foods high in gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. GLA has anti-inflammatory properties and I have found it helpful for reducing menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast tenderness, mood swings, hot flashes and Christmas hormones. All symptoms more likely to present over the festive season when you are likely to be partying rather than mindful living. Foods containing GLA include borage oil, starflower, evening primrose and hemp. Borage can be used on salads, as a massage oil or on your face to treat spots and hormonal acne. Borage oil can be bought at most health food shops. Hemp is an amazing plant product and again can be used transdermally and internally. Many vegans find hemp protein powder an excellent source of amino acids. Hemp associated products can also be purchased at health food shops. If you click of these links use “Maple” promo code for a 10% discount.
Water is the most refreshing and revitalizing liquid. It has the ability to dissolve and remove impurities from our blood. According to research published in the Biochemistry (1) journal, changes in tissue hydration significantly influences hormonal balance, concentration of toxins and the uptake of nutrients.
Here is how poor water intake affects hormonal balance:
- Affects liver and kidney detoxification: Water maintains our circulatory pressure. When we don’t drink enough water our overall circulatory pressure decreases. This affects the detoxification and blood supply of the kidneys and liver. Since most hormones in our body are metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys, any disturbance in the functioning of these organs can directly lead to healthy hormone status.
- The Brain: Hormone secretion and output is controlled by higher brain centres – such as the pituitary gland. Unfortunately, when we are dehydrated the feedback signals don’t work so well which means that functional hormones may not be released adequately.
- Toxins: Most glands are very sensitive to the concentration of toxins in the blood. Alcohol and caffeine both cause dehydration in the body. When we are dehydrated our bodies can’t release the toxins and hangovers will linger not to mention hormonal imbalances and symptoms such as spots, breast tenderness, anxiety, mood swings, fatigue and insomnia. Also consider the toxicity within your tampons.
- Drink good quality water – If you don’t have a water filter then I urge you to buy filtered water. Use non Bisphenol A (BPA) products to carry your water in. Researchers have uncovered an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) in commercialized bottled water, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. EDCs are man-made compounds that are commonly used in many plastics. These compounds interfere with our hormone systems, particularly reproductive systems. In 2010, Medical News Today reported on a study which revealed that adults who had been exposed to EDCs prenatally may be at higher risk of breast cancer, For more information on this look at Medical News Today
- Bathe in Magnesium Salts. The average adult female requires between 280 and 300 milligrams of magnesium daily. If you suffer from fibroids or any uterine disorder you may need more than the recommended amount, although you should discuss the proper dosage with a qualified nutrition or naturopathic practitioner . Magnesium is found in foods like leafy greens, nuts, tofu, legumes, potatoes with the skin on, whole grains but you can also take it via a supplement or relax in an Epsom Salt Bath (Contraindications: Heart trouble, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Pregnancy)
- Epsom Salt Baths are made of the mineral magnesium sulphate. When magnesium sulphate is absorbed through the skin (such as in a bath) it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles and is a natural emollient and exfoliator. Hot water draws toxins out of the body to the skin’s surface, and whilst the water cold it pulls toxins from the skin. Directions: Dissolve up to 500 mg of Epsom salts in a warm bath. Lay back and relax for up to 20 minutes. Do not use soap or body wash etc. When you get out of the bath have a short cool shower. Drink plenty of fluids.Reference: Haussinger, D. (1996). The role of cellular hydration in the regulation of cell function. Biochem. j, 313, 697-710.
Spend some time in silence daily
This is so important. Mindfulness and meditation is the number one support tool. It is fantastic to reduce stress and Christmas hormone horror. If you have never experienced it then I really suggest you try. There are many forms of meditation – mindful, such as eating mindfully, yoga, prayer, singing, art therapy, mantra chant, or visualisations which take you on a journey. You can even try transcendental meditation. Here are some recordings for you to listen to but you may prefer to come to see me for a 1-2-1 meditation class or scroll down to read more about how to experience meditation in one of my workshops or seasonal programmes
Maintain your focus! Start January with good intentions
January is not the ideal time to begin a detox despite the fact that globally everyone seems to think it is! However, I offer 4 seasonal cleanses per year to connect with our seasons and one does begin in January.
The winter months provides an immense personal growth and a profound re-balancing process. It is time to examine what is working in your life and what isn’t. It is a good idea to form business plans and step by step coaching plans as to how you can/will achieve any new goals and ambitions you have for 2021.
You can join my January short cleanse which is a simple warming cleanse to re-boot your digestives and release excess post christmas and new year celebrations.
We begin this post Christmas weekend cleanse Monday January 11th 2021 and complete on Saturday January 16th 2021. Will you be joining me?
Justine Evans ND refers to herself as a Hormone Alchemist. She connects reproductive wellbeing with natural cycles and seasons, integrating Western science with traditional medicine, nutritional therapy and yogic philosophy. A Registered Naturopath, Nutritional therapist, Reiki Master/ Teacher, Justine runs a private hormone health and fertility clinic in Surrey, London and Gloucestershire.
email@example.com to reserve your place on any seasonal cleanse or to request a naturopathic nutritional consultation. You can also call me on 07747 133170.