When it comes to ageing the one thing we fear the most is wrinkly skin, wobbly bits and dwindling energy levels. But with this new concept of eating and living all your old age woes can be a thing of the past!
The Hormone Diet not only helps you eat right, it also helps you sort your life out too. That's right, from how much sleep you get to managing your stress levels to even changing your outlook on life! Why? Because your hormones are connected to absolutely everything in your body.
In fact, you can’t live without them! But we know this isn't something that you're naturally familiar with so to set things straight and start living happy we put our heads together with anti-ageing and hormone specialist, Dr Daniel Sister to find out everything we need to know about balancing our hormones and being the best possible version of ourselves.
Firstly, how do you define ageing? "There’s chronological age and biological age. What’s written on your ID or passport is your chronological age, the way you live your life and at what rate your body ages is your biological age.
"If you look at Tony Blair when he became Prime Minister and saw photos of him when he left office 8 years later, chronologically it’s only 8 years, but biologically he looks 18 years older. You can’t control the chronological but you CAN control the biological," says Dr Sister.
Here's what you need to do to gain back control....
Keep a positive attitude
Keeping positive and living a happy life has a EVERYTHING to do with how you look and feel. Forget your age - how old do you feel? A 2011 study in the journal Psychology and Ageing found that a smile takes two years off your age, TWO years. That's not asking much is it?
Changing your way of thinking from 'I'm so old' to 'I felt great' can have a great deal on how you look and feel. Hang out with younger people, take up a new project, set yourself a new goal or go on a global adventure. There's no age limit for what you're capable of. Focus on CAN, forget CAN'T. Remember, you're as old as the woman you feel.
Manage your stress
This is where attitude comes hand and hand with another important aspect of the diet, stress. Stress has more impact on your hormones than you think - but only if you allow it to. Dr Sister agrees, “It’s all about your attitude."
"If you have a positive attitude and manage to control your stress then you're doing the right thing, but remember, stress isn't always bad, stress is good sometimes - we need stress. If you balance your stress, your brain will release the correct amount of DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone), which is like a 'pre hormone' that will help to balance all the other hormones in the body."
Things like mediating, playing feel-good music, getting to bed early, having a cuppa and laughing are all proven to reduce your stress levels. More reason to book that comedy night, right?
Reduce stress levels
Dr Sister says, “Stress makes you age because your natural functions are exhausted."
If you're dealing with a ton of stress and not managing it properly you risk exhausting your adrenal gland which will then need more cortisol to help you cope. If you don't take care, your adrenal gland will be totally worn out and lacking in cortisol making you feel restless and fatigued.
Believe it or not, taking a simple probiotic can help with stress too. Nutritional therapist, Natalie Lamb says, "It's widely accepted that stress can disturb our gut flora balance. The link also works the other way and it's now seen that a more balanced gut flora helps provide greater resilience to stress." To restore your gut take a probiotic supplement daily, we recommend Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula.
No one's stopping you from making change except you. Find your cause for stress and take action now!
Spot-check your sleep routine
Getting a good night's sleep is not only good for feeling beautiful and great! A lack of shut-eye can actually have a massive impact on our hormones.
If you make sure to get enough sleep every night, your stress hormone and hunger hormones are decreased while your metabolism and brain functions are boosted. Basically, sleep 'switches' off stress. And as they say in The Hormone Doctor, "If you don't sleep well, you screw up your hormones and get fat, old, tired and stupid". Which is the LAST thing any woman wants.
Don't worry, there are lots of things you can do to get more sleep. But the basics come down to cutting out caffeine before bed, avoiding alcohol (even having a glass of wine 6 hours before can affect your sleep), limiting fatty foods, taking a hot bath (it helps cool the body!) and just going to bed early. Simples.
Trick yourself to sleep! Eat foods such as turkey and a little bit of wholegrain rice with vegetables. Your spiking insulin levels from the rice will eventually come down leaving you sleepy and ready for some much needed kip. And thanks to tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in turkey it can help the body produce serotonin leaving you relaxed and ready to nap. Here are some ideal late night snacks: Eggs on toast, cheese on oatcakes, banana, kiwi or some nuts. Try to eat these no later than one hour before bed.
Give your diet a makeover
Dr Sister says, "Your hormones also control your metabolism and your metabolism is how you burn calories and make energy. Your metabolism could be low because you depleted your adrenal gland, your thyroid or if you have too much oestrogen." ALL because of those pesky hormones! Which is why it's so important to be positive, manage stress properly and eat yourself happy!
All your hormones are made out of cholesterol. "Believe it or not, everything starts with cholesterol - lets say you went on a very strict diet without any fats, well, this isn't going to help your hormones so it’s not really a question of what you shouldn’t eat (except if you're indulging in cakes and drinking on the regular) but what you should be eating." Cutting out fats is never a good thing, in fact we need them! What you need, is to know which one's to go for and which one's to avoid.
It's simple. Eat natural, whole foods such as avocados, eggs yolks, coconut oil, fatty fish, organic butter and nuts. These foods provide the essential fatty acids and they also give you vitamins! You don't have to eat them all day but try to incorporate good fats into your diet daily - don't be afraid of them.
Dr Sister recommends eating more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, and adding spices to your dishes like cinnamon, turmeric, cumin or garlic, and ginger. These will help to breakdown the harmful oestrogen which when overexposed to, can lead to breast cancer. Eat'em up girls!
Control your fitness
For some of you this may come as a surprise, but for others it may come as good news too. It's true exercise can boost your youth and reverse the signs of ageing but if you overwork yourself (yup, fitness freaks we're talking to you) this can also have some detrimental affects on your health.
According to research regular exercise can add seven years to your life, improve your health, balance your hormones and make you younger, and not just psychically, but right down to a cellular level.
Even better? It can switch off those hunger hormones too! A 2013 study from Japanese Morinomiya University of Medical Science found levels of the gut hormone, glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), which helps us feel full, ROSE after middle-age Japanese women did exercise. This hormone, in high amounts is known to help with weight loss. Suddenly we're feeling like a gym sesh!
Not only does exercise benefit us when it comes to boosting our hormone profile but it's also know to prevent a whole world of diseases, boosts confidence and even make us smarter. Want in? Make sure to move! If you work in an office, time yourself to get up every 20 minutes so you're not inactive for too long, join an class at the gym, go for a short jog or even keep your posture right! Every bit counts.
Spice up your sex life
When you love and lust your body produces huge amounts of a neurohormone, called beta-phenylethylamine (PEA) which helps boosts the effects of dopamine which is a brain chemical that boosts your wellbeing, pleasure and makes you feel sexier than ever. Basically, it's your youth hormone. No wonder we feel so ALIVE when we're happy in bed.
The answer to feeling and looking great? Have lots of sex with your partner! According to a study at the University of Edinburgh women who had the most sex with their partners (average of 4 times per week) were perceived to be seven to twelve years younger! So forget cashing out on Botox, it's time to introduce a new toy to your sex life. If you're not feeling in the mood and not sure how to get the spark going, hit the gym, it's known to get your blood flowing and get your sex hormones going crazy.
The Hormone Diet is for everyone, you don't have to be a certain age to take part. Essentially it's about “living a balanced life, it’s not about cutting everything out. Dr Sister says, "The most important thing is understanding the difference between chronological age and biological age. Nobody cares if your ID says that your 75 years old - if you look 60 then great!" Keep your mind and body happy and let your hormones do the rest.
What do you think of The Hormone Diet? Are you up for trying it? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!
You might also like: