Listen to your body…..

What’s your body telling you?

For the past few days, I’ve been waking up with a slight headache and some dark and puffy little bags of skin beneath my eyes.
I’ve also been travelling recently for work, plus I’ve been under a bit more stress than usual.

Common messages from your body

Acne is the most common problem for teenagers and young adults. Acne can have a number of causes, the first is an excess of androgen hormones. These hormones cause an increase in oil production causing blocked pores and consequently acne. Women with androgen excess will often find that their acne flares up the last half of their cycle. Other causes of acne can be due to inflammation, poor gut health, and stress.

Your body is sending you the message that you are inflamed. Inflammation can increase as a result of poor diet, low nutrient levels, high alcohol intake, and excess oestrogen levels.

An irregular cycle is when your period shows up at irregular intervals. Sometimes you might have 3
weeks between bleeds, other times maybe 6-8 weeks. This can be a sign that you are not ovulating,
producing high levels of androgen hormones which can lead to PCOS, or that your thyroid is not working as well as it should.

PMS is so common, and it really shouldn’t be. Often the cause behind PMS is high oestrogen levels in relation to progesterone. Supporting your liver, reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake, and boosting progesterone supporting nutrients is key here.

Progesterone supporting nutrients are:
Vitamin C- Often used to stimulate the production of progesterone. It also helps with hormone processing and elimination of excess. Natural sources include; Broccoli, leafy greens, berries, kale,
kiwi and tomatoes.

B vitamins – Helps your body to maintain adequate levels of progesterone. B6, B12 and folate contain enzymes involved in the process of breaking down oestrogen within the liver. If you have too much oestrogen it overpowers the progesterone. Natural sources include; liver, bananas, spinach, walnuts, avocados and organic poultry.

Vitamin E- Helps to protect progesterone against the toxic effects of oestrogen. Natural sources include; Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and green leafy vegetables

Zinc- Helps the pituitary gland to release follicular stimulating hormones, which in turn promotes ovulation. Natural sources include; chickpeas, lentils, dark chocolate, organic red meat and shellfish

Magnesium- An essential mineral used to regulate the pituitary gland which in turn regulates the production of the follicular stimulating hormones as well as the thyroid stimulating hormones, which also helps to stimulate the production of progesterone. Natural sources include; Dark leafy vegetables, figs, nuts and seeds and dark chocolate.

Coconut oil – Circulates the blood stream and from the liver is converted into energy. Coconut oil helps to encourage the process of cholesterol pregnelone that stimulates the production of progesterone. Natural sources include; untreated, unprocessed, raw virgin coconut oil.

Omega 3- An essential fatty acid needed in the hormonal system. Omega 3’s help to transport toxic waste to the liver to be processed. Natural sources include; grass fed butter, organic egg yolks,
walnuts, avocados, chia and hemp seeds.

Chocolate cravings

Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, a nutrient you burn through when you are stressed. Your chocolate cravings are just a way of your body saying “more magnesium please!” Increase your intake of leafy greens, sunflower seeds, some dark chocolate, or think about supplementing.

My personal favourite way of boosting my magnesium intake is by soaking in a warm bath at home in Epsom salt, creating a therapeutic at-home – spa experience for myself.

My detox bath recipe:
 2 cups Epsom Salts
 ½ cup dry lavender
 5-6 drops pure lavender essential oil
 10 drops pure eucalyptus essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, fill the bathtub with very warm water, add the combined ingredients and soak for about 20-30 minutes.

Bloating is annoying and uncomfortable and it can certainly make getting dressed in the morning a real challenge. You need to improve your digestion, the first thing is first, get regular. Dietary fibre is vital in keeping your regular stool moments. Natural sources include; prunes, pears, beans and legumes as well as figs. I add flaxseed powder into my shake every morning! Secondly, drink more water, your bowel requires adequate hydration to function at its best. I struggle with drinking water on its own so I drink a lot of herbal teas throughout the day. My favourite is natural rooibos tea and aloe herbal tea.

You need to listen to your body when it says ‘slow down’. In today’s life, it is a very common habit for people to push through fatigue. Just drink an extra cup of coffee or grab an energy drink, instead of slowing down and resting. Our lives have become insanely stressful and along with that, there is constant anxiety and tension. My first tip is to make lists of all my responsibilities and then I see which ones are the most important and which ones are not so important. I will always do what is most important first and right the ones I couldn’t do today on tomorrows’ list.

The world will not come to a standstill if you take a break or even a weekend away. Listening to your the body can actually help you to live your best life – by helping you find the energy for creativity, inspiration
and finding useful ways to solve problems.

Top tip – You need to stop to listen to what your body, heart and mind is longing to communicate. It is usually far more important than any random item on the eternal things to-do list.

About the author

Qualified chef, Health Coach and Nutritionist based in Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa


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