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19 Mar, 2024

Why everyone is talking about hormones

In this day and age, hormones are a hot topic. The reality is that we’re exposed to more pollutants, toxins and chemicals than ever before. The food we consume is also growingly processed and modified, and the modern stresses we deal with day-to-day can play havoc with our mental and physical health. When our gut health is off, we struggle to absorb nutrients and larger molecules aren’t able to pass through the gut wall, resulting in inflammation, food sensitivities and discomfort. The microbiome plays a part in the synthesis and regulation of some hormones and neurotransmitters, facilitating the absorption of macro and micronutrients and contributing to the production of oestrogen levels. This is when we need to look at the symbiotic relationship between hormone health, lifestyle and environment to heal hormonal imbalances or simply preserve consistent and healthy hormone production and regulation.


First things first, what are hormones?

Our bodies produce over 50 hormones that act as messengers for various bodily functions, as part of your endocrine system. Your endocrine glands make the hormones, which are then involved in many bodily processes, including metabolism, digestion, sleep, mood, and development. Your main endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. On top of this, women produce hormones in their ovaries and men in their testes. Sometimes you won’t have enough of a hormone to signal to your cells to respond, which is when your hormones are unbalanced.

DISCLAIMER: If you are struggling with hormonal imbalances with severe symptoms that are debilitating, please seek medical advice.

What hormonal imbalances are commonly a cause for concern?

Increased cortisol as a result of chronic stress can be a common cause for concern. Furthermore, though it is normal and natural for oestrogen and progesterone to ebb and flow throughout women’s cycles, a lot of women are now concerned with low progesterone or excess oestrogen levels due to medication, increased cortisol, hormonal birth control, or underlying health issues like PCOS; experiencing increased symptoms outside of PMS such as mood swings, bloating, energy slumps.

What commonly causes loaded stress that could lead to hormone imbalances?

Modern women and men often find their personal life and relationships, economic instability, PTSD, responsibility, diet culture, over-exercising or workouts that are too intense on the body, behavioural disorders, food allergies and intolerances are causes for concern that can trigger a stress response and increase cortisol levels, aka your 'stress hormone'.

How can this hormonal imbalance affect us?

Your hormone health is linked to your mood, skin, energy, gut health, sleep, weight, appetite, libido, and feeling out of touch with your body and mind.

How can we address these issues?

The body already does a wonderful job of regulating hormones by itself - the nature of the female body is to experience hormonal imbalance at different times of the month. However, we believe it’s important to realise how changing your lifestyle and environmental variables to optimise your hormones can impact the way you feel long-term. This involves taking a holistic, sustainable approach to learning to listen to your body, reconnect with it, treat it well, and tune into your hormonal cycles. Notice the change and feel the balance.

We are here to help with that change, whether you're going through your menstrual cycle, perimenopause or menopause, to support the production and maintenance of balanced hormones to make you feel more grounded and more like you, whilst feeling fully in sync with your body through diet, movement and mindfulness. We aren’t suggesting any specific diets to follow at different points of your cycle, but rather providing a generally healthy, balanced diet to provide the raw materials you need to produce hormones, support your body and provide the energy to do its best to regulate and balance hormones naturally.

Though there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diet during your cycle, we do encourage cycle-syncing by making small adaptations in your diet and movement according to how you feel and what you think your body needs, whilst still making an effort to move regularly (even slightly) and eating nourishing, balanced foods. For example, this could be eating more fats and protein during one phase of your cycle, whilst doing a couple of cardio or high-intensity workouts a week versus eating more complex carbohydrates during another phase, with more starchy veggies and dark leafy greens whilst engaging in lower-intensity exercise or yoga.

The key takeaway is being gentle and mindful with your body, taking away the extra stress load as much as you can, for healthier hormones and bodily function, and focussing on diversity in both your diet and movement for optimum gut health.

For guides and resources on navigating your menstrual cycle, we are partnering with Evelyn who have provided a digital guide that you can access here.

For guides and resources on navigating menopause, we are partnering with M’Powder who have provided a guide that will be included with your programme.

Here’s how you can adopt a holistic approach to serve the core pillars of hormonal health:

  • Nutrient-rich food. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is essential for sex hormone production, liver function and a balanced cycle. This includes eating enough protein to provide the essential amino acids your body needs to produce peptide hormones, which play a crucial role in growth, metabolism, appetite, stress and reproduction.
  • Gut health. Eating gut-friendly foods to target your gut health will help optimise your gut microbiome, which regulates hormones by modulating insulin resistance and feelings of fullness. When the gut ferments fibre, it produces short-chain fatty acids such as acetate and butyrate, which could increase your calorie burning and therefore prevent insulin resistance to help weight management.
  • Lower sugar intake and balancing blood sugar. Eating too much refined sugar can promote insulin resistance and upset your gut microbiome and liver function. In order to improve your blood sugar balance, your meals and snacks should have decent amounts of quality protein, fat and fibre.
  • Calmness. High levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) due to constant stress will stimulate your appetite and the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, which may lead to further insulin resistance, which is why stress management is key to hormone production. Eating in a calm environment allows the body to tap into its parasympathetic nervous system, and encourages it to absorb the nutrients from the food better. We recommend implementing at least one calming or relaxing ritual into your daily routine, at whichever point you may feel more stressed or worried. Here are some of the things we practice to reduce stress:

- Breathwork (see your free session by The Yoga Class available as part of the 10-day Balance Plan)

- Meditation (see your free session by The Yoga Class available as part of the 10-day Balance Plan)

- Getting outside for 20 mins+, ideally in a natural environment

- Yoga, especially yin yoga (see your three free sessions by The Yoga Class available as part of the 10-day Balance Plan)

- Reading

- Time with family and friends

- Stretching

- Writing or journalling

- Slow, mindful morning and evening routine (eg. brewing and making a herbal tea or coffee slowly, skincare, hot or cold showers or baths)

  • Consistent movement. Physical activity will help improve blood flow to your muscles and increase hormone receptor sensitivity, whilst improving your insulin regulation and sensitivity. Try and build in 3-5 workouts a week, with a mix of cardio, low intensity, strength and yoga. Try and make every 1 in 5 workouts high intensity, and the rest low intensity. Disclaimer: Be kind to your body as too much intense exercise can have a negative impact on insulin resistance, due to a rise in cortisol, driving your body into fight or flight mode. This can trigger the storage of visceral fat, making it harder to lose weight and potentially leading to a hormone imbalance. See your free online sessions by The Yoga Class available as part of the 10-day Balance Plan to help build yoga, pilates, barre, meditation and breathwork into your weekly routine.
  • Movement sync: Many women find it beneficial to adapt their types of movement to their cycle or the way they feel, which is a reflection of their hormone production. For example, when oestrogen surges, they are likely to favour more high-intensity exercise or cardio, as they are likely to have more energy. Whereas when their oestrogen declines and progesterone rises, lower intensity exercise like yoga is likely to be more complimentary to their energy levels. See your free online sessions by The Yoga Class available as part of the 10-day Balance Plan to help build yoga, pilates, barre, meditation and breathwork into your weekly routine, which are aligned with different phases of your hormonal cycle.
  • Deep, regenerative sleep. Sleep is crucial for hormone production. Lack of sleep will increase insulin resistance (up to 33% after one poor night’s sleep), blood sugar spikes, inflammation in the body, the likelihood of weight gain and disruption to our adrenal glands.

Supporting your natural detoxification system & the connection with hormones

If our body is struggling to eliminate the harmful toxins and excess hormones in our body, this can lead to hormone imbalances.

How can you help this?

  1. An anti-inflammatory diet. Our food is designed to align with the body’s natural detoxification system using whole food ingredients, rich in fibre and good quality, lean protein that avoids potentially inflammatory ingredients (gluten, dairy and refined sugar), balanced macronutrients, and portions to energise and provide total satisfactory nourishment. We encourage customers to minimise caffeine and avoid alcohol to help support natural detoxification, too.
  2. More water. We see it said everywhere but how does drinking more water connect to hormone health? Water helps transport nutrients to our cells, lubricate our colon, support circulation and aid in the detoxification process in our liver and kidneys. Opt for filtered options when you can to avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Put intention into action and discover the pleasure, joy and healing aspect of food and movement with our 10-Day Balance Plan, launching on 26/03/2024. Stay tuned.