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Hormones and Health: How we can help strengthen our immune systems

 

As part of our #FestivePeriodHacks, we’ve been giving you tips to help you nourish your body. This is important for your hormones and health. Nourishing your body helps with balancing your hormones.

 
We’ve teamed up with registered nutritional therapist and queen of all things hormonal health, Angelique Panagos, as part of our nourish hack. Angelique’s philosophy is that food is healing and nourishing, affecting each cell in our body. She is registered and regulated by The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).She’s here to tell us all about how we can help strengthen our immune systems.

 

Monthly woes:

 
“For some ladies being on their period is just a normal day, but many of us often come to dread that time of the month. It’s not only the actual bleed that fills is with fear, it’s the run-up to it as well. From spotty hormonal chins to bloating. From insatiable hunger to mood swings that bring out the snappiness and irritability of an angry dragon lady. It is safe to say for many, our periods are not always the easiest of times.
 
If that’s not bad enough, on top of the typical symptoms of PMS, there are others that sniff or sneeze away. Some people can feel rotten, fatigued or full of cold and flu, each and every month in the run-up to their period!

 

Come on Mother Nature, what’s going on?

 
While you may just coincidently have the flu, research suggests that when we ovulate (this mostly occurs mid-cycle), we are more susceptible to illness. You see, our bodies are amazing. When we get ready to release an egg and our oestrogen levels soar it’s thought that our immune system is slightly suppressed. This means we are more prone to coughs, colds, bugs and nasties.
 
While it might sound like a pain in the neck (and, let’s face it, we don’t exactly need to add to our monthly woes!), it does have a biological purpose. It helps avoid killing invading species, such as sperm so that we can fall pregnant.

 
Of course, we don’t want to feel terrible every month. So let’s give our immune system a boost, particularly during the winter months!
 

So, what can we do to support our bodies during this time?

 

Nourish your body:

 
Keep your body’s economy topped up. When our bodies lack certain minerals and nutrients, we are more likely to catch coughs and colds. Focus on foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin E and zinc. This helps protect against cold and flu and sluggishness that brings with it the tendency to want to hibernate. Foods that are perfect during the cooler months include kale, which is high in iron. Butternut squash or sweet potato is also perfect, as they are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene. Think stuffed sweet potatoes or homemade curries with quinoa or brown rice. You can find these recipes in my book The Balance Plan.

 

Be kind to yourself:

 
I say this to all of my clients – ‘me time’ is a necessity, not a luxury! At certain stages of our cycle, it’s more important than ever to take some time out and make ourselves a priority. What’s more, stress suppresses the immune system. Make sure you do something for you every single day! This could be embracing meditation and gratitude, enjoying a long hot soak in the bath, going for a manicure or massage, or simply relaxing and reading your favourite book/ magazine.

 

Make sure you move:

 
Getting sweaty helps to get our circulation going, which gives our immune system a helping hand in fighting off any invading nasties. Whether you fancy going for a brisk walk, enjoying some meditative Yoga, indulging in some HIIT or weight training, or simply jogging with a buggy in the park. Try to get some daily movement in every day. But if you are not ‘feeling it’, don’t push it.”

 
A huge thank you to Angelique for this blog! For more support and advice on how to strengthen the immune system during your time of the month or balancing your hormones, then you can read Angelique’s blog by clicking here. To chat to Angelique you can follow her on Instagram here, Twitter here or you can find out more information via her website www.angeliquepanagos.com.
 

Helen (3)
(Photography via Sidey Clark)

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