Expert Tips for Hormonal Harmony
People are talking more and more about hormones! In fact, we’re finding that at Gazelli House, our wellbeing space in South Kensington, women are increasingly not just dismissing hormonal imbalances as “that time of the month” but instead seeking help to get to the root of the problem. We caught up with some of our experts to find out more:
“A recent Dutch study of 32,000 women aged between 15 and 45 years found that women felt unwell for around 23 days each year due to PMS and 3.5% of those asked had to take time off work or school regularly,” says Gazelli nutritional therapist Alice Mackintosh and co-founder of Equi London Nutritional Supplements, . “Many of us simply assume that our hormone patterns are ‘just our lot’ and that there isn’t much we can do about them. However, there is good evidence that nutrition, as part of a combination of strategies, can help to encourage hormonal harmony in the body.”
Why Do Hormonal Imbalances Occur?
“There are about 75 types of major hormone in our body,” says Phoebus Tian, Gazelli master of acupuncture and oriental medicine. “Hormonal imbalances occur when the body produces too much or too little of a hormone. This can lead to weight loss or gain, troubled sleep cycles, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, hyperactivity, hair loss, hair over-growth, mood swings, temperature changes… the list goes on. If you have several unusual things happening at the same time, then it’s worth seeking help.” Acupuncture can help with identifying but also treating the root cause of the imbalance.
Where to Start
“The easiest way to better understand your hormones is to keep a record of your periods,” advises herbalist and founder of Forage Botanicals, Natasha Richardson. “Record the length, the blood quality, the heaviness and any additional symptoms such as pain or bloating. Simply chart it, starting on the first day of your bleed and finishing when the next bleed begins. This way you can compare each full month of symptoms. Studies have shown that simply recording symptoms can actually improve the experience of your period. It can offer so much peace of mind to capture things that are actually linked to your period but may not seem so at the time. After all, it's hard to remember a monthly occurrence.”
Eat Your Way to Happier Hormones
Alice shares her tips on what to eat to help you feel more balanced:
• Eat a diet rich in whole foods including colourful vegetables and fruit (aim for a total of ten per day, mostly veggies), fibre-rich wholegrains, lean protein, healthy fats and above all diversity.
• Be sure to eat foods rich in B6, zinc, iodine and magnesium – these are all important nutrients for hormone regulation.
• Keep the gut supported with fermented foods such as kefir and kimchi.
• Eat one form of cruciferous veggies daily – such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli sprouts or savoy cabbage (it’s best not to overcook these, so lightly steam them or have them raw, chopped finely in salads with lovely dressings).
• Eat oily fish three times per week.
• Reduce alcohol intake, and try to limit added sugar where possible.
• Manage stress where possible – it is a huge factor for hormone health.
You can click here to find out more about acupuncture and nutritional therapy at Gazelli House.
Natasha Richardson of Forage Botanicals is hosting a ‘Herbs and Hormones’ workshop at Gazelli House on Saturday 26 October. It’s the first workshop Natasha has taught since becoming a mother! During this two-hour masterclass, she will guide you through turning your period-woes into period-pros. You can find out more and book here.