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.
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
If you’re a woman over 35, your hormones are starting to change.
These are the peri-menopausal years, transitioning you between your reproductive years and menopause when your cycle stops and you are no longer ovulating.
Not every woman is affected by this, but the majority of women will have at least some symptoms, even if they are mild. And many women suffer multiple symptoms at once. This is very common, as hormone balance is very delicate and one hormone can disrupt all the others.
Nicki WilliamsHow to tell if you have a hormone imbalance
That spare tyre around your middle – it just won’t go, no matter what diet you try or how much exercise you do?
Insulin is one of the hormones responsible. It’s our FAT STORING HORMONE! We absolutely need insulin – it has a life saving job of regulating our blood sugar levels, which need to be kept in a very narrow range, or it can be dangerous. But our diet and lifestyle can contribute to overly high levels of insulin, which can be problematic.
Nicki WilliamsWhy controlling insulin is the key to weight loss
If you’re a woman in your mid to late forties chances are you’ve noticed a few changes recently. Not only in your body, but your mind too. Welcome to the Perimenopause!
The good news is you’re not going crazy and you’re definitely not alone. Declining oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels during the perimenopause years create hormonal imbalance with a host of unpleasant symptoms.
Nicki WilliamsYou Know You’ve Hit Perimenopause When…
During the summer months, we can all feel the heat. But if you’re a woman going through perimenopause, hot flushes and night sweats can be a nightmare!
From the age of 35 onwards, our hormones can start to fluctuate. Oestrogen and progesterone start to decline as our ovaries live out their usefulness. But during this time oestrogen can be on a roller coaster, swinging from high to low. And it’s during the low times that we can get hot flushes (or flashes) and increased sweating at night. It’s thought that 70% of women at this time will suffer!
Nicki WilliamsFeeling the heat? Don’t sweat it! How to cope with hot flushes.
Most people ask me what foods they need to eat (or not eat) to lose weight. Anyone can lose a few pounds on a diet, only to put it back on as soon as the diet’s over (and more usually!).
The key to lasting weight loss, especially for women over 40 is hormone balance. If your hormones are out of whack, you will find it almost impossible to lose weight and keep it off. Nourish and look after your hormones and they will repay you with a body that will look and feel great.
Nicki Williams5 hormone balancing foods that help you lose weight
If you have a normally functioning thyroid, you may be a bit skeptical when you hear a woman with some extra weight blaming it on her thyroid.
But thyroid conditions are absolutely real and becoming much more common, especially in women over 35. And if you have low levels of thyroid hormone it is extremely difficult to lose any weight – believe me I’ve been there!
Nicki WilliamsHow to tell if you’re thyroid is struggling and 13 tips to help it naturally