Feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin after a long winter is amazing isn’t it? I think it’s your body drinking in the Vitamin D that it’s been lacking for such a long time.
We know Vitamin D is the ‘sunshine vitamin’ but did you know, it is actually a hormone? And it’s absolutely vital to keep us in optimal health.
Here in Europe we are coming out of our winter hibernation, and seeing some long-awaited sunshine. Not just important for boosting our mood (how many more smiles do you see when the sun’s out?), but incredibly important for topping up our Vitamin D stores that have been depleted over the winter.
Are you deficient? Probably!
According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 90% of the general population in the United Kingdom have insufficient blood levels of vitamin D, and 5%-20% of the population are in a state of severe deficiency.
Nicki WilliamsVitamin D – the most important hormone of all?
As you know by now if you read my blogs, I am passionate about hormone balance! That’s because it’s one of the main ways to truly stay happy and healthy as we get older, especially as we go through the peri-menopausal years (from 35 onwards!).
To truly balance your hormones, you need to start seeing food differently. Not as calories, but as INFORMATION. Food has the power to change how you look, feel, think and perform. It does this by sending messenger signals to your cells and hormones. It can literally tell your body to burn or store fat, to increase or decrease your energy levels, to alter your mood, to change how your brain functions or to switch on genes that cause disease.
Pretty powerful right? So if we use food in that way, it can have a hugely positive impact on our health.
As a nutritionist I have to keep on top of the latest natural and organic health products out there. Obviously I want to be recommending the best products to support your health and hormones, but secondly I’m genuinely interested in new products and companies that are really trying to make a difference in the world.
This show is one of my favourite events of the year. It’s packed full of amazing products – from the big supplement and food companies to the tiny new fledgling companies that are trying to break through.
As it’s a trade show, there is also plenty of sampling to do – delicious raw chocolate bars and the latest healthy sugar free snacks – I’m a sucker for it all!
SO, here are my top 10 favourite products (old and new) from this year’s show;
Nicki WilliamsMy top picks from this year’s Natural Organic Products Show!
Did you know there are over 100 identified hormones in the body? No wonder hormone balancing can get a bit tricky as we get older!
However after years of study and my own personal hormone journey, I have decided that there are 4 main ones that pretty much seem to control the important things for us women over 40 – energy, weight, metabolism, mood, brain function, sleep, stress, sex drive and skin/hair/nail quality.
We all know that stress is bad for us, and can even kill us! But did you know that it can ruin your hormones too? And your immune system, digestion, sex life and brain function?
The hormone behind many stress related issues is cortisol. Cortisol’s job is to keep us alive, so it’s pretty damn important! It’s released from the adrenal glands to wake us up in the morning, keep us alert during the day and help us manage any dangers or threats that come our way.
In caveman times, this would help save our lives from a lion attack or a famine. Our ‘fight or flight’ response would kick in – the brain would send a message to the adrenals to release adrenaline (the big initial rush), and cortisol (to keep us on high alert).
Nicki WilliamsThe Cortisol Connection – How stress affects your hormones
‘You’re going through perimenopause’, my Dad said in that infuriating matter of fact Doctor speak, like they see it every day. Well actually, he does see it every day, but hey I’m his daughter, I deserve a bit more sugar-coating!
Don’t be daft Dad, I’m only 42, and what the heck is perimenopause anyway?? I’m assuming it’s something to do with the menopause (I’m clever like that), and I’m way too young for that – so what on earth do you mean?
‘It’s the run up to the menopause’ he sighs, and apparently it can start at age 35 and go on for years! Actual menopause is when your periods have completely stopped for a year and the average age for that is still 51. BUT in the years running up to your periods stopping, your hormones can really cause havoc.
Your hormones can take a battering over the Christmas period. In return, they are likely to leave you a few gifts – some extra pounds around your waist, a foul mood and zero energy come January!
Let’s start with stress….
If you’re a woman with a family (and more than likely a busy job), Christmas is no doubt the most stressful time of year. You are super busy at the best of times, but add in the extra shopping, planning, cooking, relatives and the rest, it can be really hard.
Nicki WilliamsHow to survive Christmas without piling on the pounds
For YEARS, we’ve been told that fat MAKES YOU FAT.
Ever since the 1950’s when research came out that linked saturated fat and cholesterol with heart disease, the low-fat food industry has flourished and we have avoided dietary fat like the plague.
It’s so ingrained in us that most of us cringe at the thought of dripping or lard. Even BUTTER…! And never touch the chicken skin, OMG!
The very sad thing is that the original research that started this all off has been invalidated. It turns out that saturated fat is not the main cause of heart disease. If that was the case, some high-fat eating populations around the world would have been wiped out. (One of these is the Inuit tribe of Greenland – they still eat high amounts of saturated animal fats, and have very low levels of heart disease, diabetes and obesity).