Hormonal Health: Why Balance Is So Important For Women

Hormonal health is all about balance – but achieving the right balance can be a challenge, particularly for women at midlife. One of the most striking examples of this dynamic is found in women whose estrogen and progesterone balance is off kilter. The wide range of resulting symptoms can be debilitating and women can find themselves battling heavy periods, disruptive PMS, fatigue, brain fog, weight gain and many more symptoms.

How can balance be restored for optimum well-being? Let’s take a look at how hormones influence your health and how a healthy lifestyle can help. 

Hormones and their Role In Your Health

Your body contains over 50 different types of hormones and they all act as chemical messengers to other parts of the body. Hormones are secreted by endocrine glands:

  • Pituitary gland
  • Pineal gland
  • Thymus
  • Thyroid
  • Adrenal glands
  • Pancreas
  • Testes
  • Ovaries

When hormones are released by endocrine glands they travel to specific receptor sites, where they “lock in” and transmit a message to perform a specific action in the target organ or cell.

What does this mean in practical terms? Your hormones control almost every function in your body, including:

  • Maturity and growth
  • Metabolism of food items
  • Hunger
  • Sleep
  • Sexual function and reproductive health
  • Mood
  • Cognitive ability
  • Stress response
  • Appetite

Hormones also work in tandem with each other. A good example is the relationship between progesterone and estrogen, two hormones produced by the ovaries that work together to regulate the menstrual cycle.

The Link Between Estrogen and Progesterone

Estrogen and progesterone have complementary functions. Estrogen is the more energizing of the two and helps with memory, libido, mood, sleep and many other functions. It helps protect bone density, youthful skin and hair, mental sharpness, and healthy cholesterol levels. Estrogen levels rise in the follicular phase, which is the first half of the menstrual cycle, up to the point of ovulation. 

Progesterone is produced after ovulation occurs (this time in your menstrual cycle is called the luteal phase) and has a more calming function. Progesterone levels peak about midway through the luteal phase (about 3 weeks after your last period began), then drop off before menstruation occurs. This sudden drop can contribute to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Progesterone helps regulate the effects of estrogen on the body. It plays a role in the growth of the uterine lining during menstruation, and helps regulate the timing of menstruation.

As you see, both hormones play vital functions in a woman’s body, but they must be balanced. Having inadequate levels of progesterone is not only problematic on its own, but estrogen doesn’t function as well with low levels of progesterone. When your levels of estrogen and progesterone aren’t balanced, estrogen dominance can occur.

Estrogen Dominance: When Hormones Go Off Kilter

Without the balancing influence of progesterone, estrogen’s influence on the body can lead to troubling symptoms. Women who previously hadn’t experienced trouble with their periods may find themselves bleeding far heavier than before. They may struggle with PMS or wonder where their wild mood swings came from. The symptoms of estrogen dominance include:

  • Heavy periods
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Fertility issues
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Weight gain, particularly around the belly
  • Thyroid problems
  • Higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • PMS
  • Mood disorders, including anxiety and depression
  • Anger management issues
  • Increased risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers

What Causes Estrogen Dominance?

Many factors can lead to estrogen imbalance, and it’s not uncommon for a woman to experience more than one cause.

  • Problems in other parts of the body can contribute to estrogen dominance, including poor liver function, because the liver helps eliminate excess estrogen.
  • Other hormones also influence estrogen and progesterone production, particularly insulin and cortisol, so when those hormones are disrupted, the effects can cascade.
  • Chronic stress can lead to harmful hormonal fluctuations.
  • A poor diet can also lead to hormonal problems, because magnesium, zinc, protein, and B vitamins help to metabolize estrogen. In addition, since fat cells produce estrogen, obesity can contribute to excess levels.
  • Normal age-related fluctuations in hormone levels can create imbalances, particularly during the perimenopause years. Women experiencing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are also vulnerable.
  • Interestingly, sometimes estrogen dominance isn’t caused by estrogen itself. Xenohormones are compounds that mimic the properties of estrogens. They can be absorbed by the body and trigger estrogen production, leading to further imbalances. Many common products contain xenohormones, including plastics (watch out for plastic food containers in particular), pesticides, factory-farmed meat, car exhaust, and emulsifiers found in shampoo and other beauty products.

How To Balance Estrogen and Progesterone

1 – Reduce stress.

Stress, particularly the chronic stress so common in our modern lives, impacts cortisol production, which in turn impacts other hormones, including progesterone. Stress reduction techniques such as meditation and yoga can help regulate stress and hormone levels. Sometimes, a simple attitude shift in attitude can slow the “flight or fight” response that produces cortisol. To do this, try considering a stressful event in a more positive light – perhaps as an opportunity to prove your strength.

2 – Get enough sleep.

Hormonal imbalances can cause sleep disturbances. At the same time, you need adequate sleep to maintain healthy hormonal balance. If this seems frustrating, it is! That’s why I include working to create a healthy sleep routine and pattern as a key step in my 90 Days to Hormone Harmony Program.

3 – Maintain a healthy liver and gut.

Your liver metabolizes estrogen, so it’s imperative to maintain optimum liver health by reducing exposure to toxins and minimizing alcohol. In addition, your gut microbiome also plays a role in estrogen regulation. Probiotic supplements, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, and drinks like kefir help maintain the “good” bacteria in the microbiome. Fiber consumption triggers the production of more bacteria, so increase your fiber intake with a focus on whole grains and produce (my 2 favorite high fiber foods are blackberries and artichoke hearts). High amounts of fiber can also lead to more bowel movements, which helps eliminate excess estrogen.

4 – Eat for hormone health.

The traditional Western diet of highly processed, high-sugar foods is linked to higher estrogen production. In contrast, Plant Based and Mediterranean diets have been shown to reduce estrogen levels. These diets center around whole grains, brightly colored vegetables, olive oil, and legumes. Green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are particularly beneficial.

Protein is essential for the production of amino acids, which are the building blocks of hormones. Some evidence shows that vegetarian sources of protein are the most effective in regulating estrogen – but the most important factor is to avoid meat from animals exposed to pesticides and artificial hormones.

Omega-3 fatty acids help regular insulin and cortisol production and reduce inflammation, which has a beneficial effect on estrogen. Foods high in omega-3 include chia seeds, avocados, many nuts, and fatty fish.

5 – Improve hormone receptivity with exercise.

Some research shows that regular exercise can make your body more receptive to the messages carried by hormones. Plus, exercise can help reduce excess body fat, which carries estrogen.

6 – Consider replacement.

The decision to start hormone therapy can be complex, with many factors to consider, including a woman’s age and overall health. It’s important to work with myself or another integrative practitioner to find a solution that works for you.

In bioidentical hormones (often called bHRT), the hormones are derived from plants and are identical to the hormones produced in your body. These can be customized based on your unique hormone profile. Traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is synthetic. The hormones are close to those in your body, but not always exactly the same. Long-term use of synthetic HRT carries many risks, including increased rates of certain cancers, heart disease, and strokes.

If you recognize any symptoms of hormonal imbalance, I can help! Reach out to get a comprehensive assessment of your hormones and a customized plan for rebalance. You don’t have to live with an imbalance of hormones!

Book your appointment today to get started! New patients can book a FREE Meet & Greet with me HERE and existing patients can book a consultation with me HERE.

Sources

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Layman DK, Anthony TG, Rasmussen BB, et al. Defining meal requirements for protein to optimize metabolic roles of amino acids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(6):1330S-1338S. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.084053

Sánchez-Zamorano LM, Flores-Luna L, Angeles-Llerenas A, Ortega-Olvera C, Lazcano-Ponce E, Romieu I, Mainero-Ratchelous F, Torres-Mejía G. The Western dietary pattern is associated with increased serum concentrations of free estradiol in postmenopausal women: implications for breast cancer prevention. Nutr Res. 2016 Aug;36(8):845-54. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.04.008. Epub 2016 Apr 26. PMID: 27440539.

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Sánchez-Zamorano LM, Flores-Luna L, Angeles-Llerenas A, Ortega-Olvera C, Lazcano-Ponce E, Romieu I, Mainero-Ratchelous F, Torres-Mejía G. The Western dietary pattern is associated with increased serum concentrations of free estradiol in postmenopausal women: implications for breast cancer prevention. Nutr Res. 2016 Aug;36(8):845-54. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.04.008. Epub 2016 Apr 26. PMID: 27440539.

5 Signs of a Healthy Gut

How’s your gut health? A simple “gut check” is one of the most comprehensive ways to assess your overall well-being. Growing research points to the importance of the microbiome in a wide range of functions, from your immune system, weight, and hormone levels to your mental health and more.

The term microbiome refers to the trillions of microorganisms – bacteria, fungi, and other living microorganisms that exist in your gut. It’s a complex world, with hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. Those microorganisms are the foundation of the gut-brain axis, the two-way communication network between your brain and your gut.

Maintaining the microbiome requires a delicate balance of bacteria. The “good” bacteria helps digest food, absorbs nutrients, helps produce vitamins and hormones as well as protects against “bad” bacteria. A myriad of factors can impact this balance. High-fiber foods are beneficial – gut bacteria breaks down fiber to digest it, a process which stimulates the production of more bacteria. A varied, nutrient-rich diet is important for a diverse biome, something that isn’t typically possible if you eat a lot of processed food. Stress, alcohol, and many medications may also alter the composition of the microbiome.


Is Your Gut Healthy? 5 Ways To Tell

Scientists are only just beginning to learn about the complexity of the microbiome. Despite the many mysteries still to discover, it’s actually quite easy to do a general check of your gut health. Following are some things to look for.

1 – Transit time

Healthy digestion is the key to maintaining the microbiome, and one indication of that is transit time, which is how long it takes food to pass through your digestive system. Why does this matter? Slower digestion can lead to the formation of harmful bacteria. On the other hand, when food passes through your body too quickly, you may not absorb essential nutrients. Although everyone is slightly different, optimal transit time is from 12 to 24 hours, which, for most of us, means one to two bowel movements a day. If you have no idea how long it takes to digest food, try eating about a half cup of raw beets, then keep an eye on the color of your stool (watch for bright red and don’t be alarmed, it may look like blood but it isn’t).

How to improve transit time:

  • Foods high in fiber keep things moving through your intestinal tract, so focus on unprocessed fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
  • Many people find that dairy and overly processed foods slow digestion – aim to avoid these foods.
  • Movement leads to increased blood flow and stimulates peristalsis, the wavelike contractions that move food through the intestines. Many yoga poses can help with digestion, particularly twisting moves and “child pose”.
  • Some supplements that can speed up digestion include magnesium citrate and supplements with psyllium. However, it’s important to work with a healthcare practitioner to determine the correct use and dose. It’s possible to become dependent on supplements and laxatives, which can ultimately harm your digestive system.

2 – Perfect poops

It’s nobody’s favorite subject, but the condition of your poop actually gives a good indication of  your intestinal health. The Bristol Stool Scale provides an easy visual reference. Some key things to look for include:

  • Texture: Should be smooth. Hard, lumpy poops often indicate constipation.
  • Shape: Sausage-shaped is ideal. Overly liquid is typically a sign of diarrhea, and pellet shapes are a sign of constipation.
  • Buoyancy: Sinks in the toilet. Poop that floats may contain undigested fat.

Any straining or experiencing any pain during bowel movements should be investigated, as should any blood. Get to know your own body and be alert to any changes.

3 – Gas after meals is not disruptive or painful

Some gas is inevitable after a meal and some foods, like beans and raw veggies, certainly trigger gas more than others. Excess gas, however, can indicate something is amiss in your gut. While everyone has a different baseline, pay attention if you notice changes in your level of gassiness or if gas causes distress or pain.

Easing gassiness

The following tips can reduce gassiness:

  • Chew food slowly and thoroughly. The more you break down food in the mouth the easier it is to further digest.
  • Keep a food diary to identify triggers. Common culprits include legumes and dairy products.
  • Try a short walk after a large meal since movement helps stimulate peristalsis.
  • Limit the consumption of carbonated drinks – this includes seltzer and sparkling water.
  • Try probiotic supplements. It’s best to work with a healthcare practitioner, because sometimes excess probiotics can actually cause gas.

4 – Good energy levels

Do you feel rested when you wake up? The answer is a good indicator of your gut health. Because we get energy as food is digested, your gut health is essential to your energy level, and how ready you are to face the day. If you can’t break down food properly, you won’t receive vital essential nutrients. However, the role of your gut in fighting fatigue goes deeper than that. Bacteria in the microbiome produce B vitamins, which are essential for energy. They also regulate the immune system, which is imperative for good energy.

The gut-brain axis also influences your sleep. It’s a two-way communication channel: your sleep influences the balance of bacteria, but bacteria also influences your circadian rhythms.

Low energy can also be a sign of leaky gut syndrome, which happens when the lining of the gut becomes too permeable, which allows unhealthy gut bacteria and inflammatory substances to leak into the bloodstream. People with leaky gut syndrome are at high risk for issues like Crohn’s and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, conditions that lead to fatigue.

5 – Your memory, mood, and focus

Growing research points to the impact of gut bacteria on our moods. Up to 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, so it’s not surprising that altering the balance within the biome has notable effects on mood. Once again, this is a two-way street, as stress alters gut composition, which in turn can make you even more stressed because the gut’s production of hormones that impact your mood then shifts. It’s ultimately a sign of the importance of recognizing and addressing gut issues early.

The neurochemicals in your gut also impact your ability to learn new information and retain it. If you notice a change in your cognitive abilities, it’s a good idea to evaluate the other signs of a healthy gut to see if there is a connection.

How did your gut check turn out? If any items on this gut health checklist raise concerns for you, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Book your appointment today to get started! New patients can book a FREE Meet & Greet with me HERE and existing patients can book a consultation with me HERE.

Sources

Madison, Annelise, and Janice K Kiecolt-Glaser. “Stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota: human-bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition.” Current opinion in behavioral sciences vol. 28 (2019): 105-110. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.01.011

John F. Cryan, Kenneth J. O’Riordan, Caitlin S. M. Cowan, Kiran V. Sandhu, The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis, Physiological Reviews, 28 AUG 2019, https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00018.2018

Science Daily, “Food’s transit through the body is a key factor in digestive health,” June 27, 2016

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Why Women Need to Understand How Cortisol Affects Their Health

Balance is the key element when it comes to cortisol, a hormone produced in your adrenal glands. Cortisol performs many vital functions, including:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Metabolizing glucose (sugar)
  • Assisting with circadian rhythm regulation
  • Formulating memories

Many of these tasks contribute to cortisol’s role in controlling the “flight or fight response.”  When your body senses danger, cortisol kicks in with the physiological responses that enable you to either flee the danger or fight it. Your heartbeat increases, blood flows to your major muscle groups, your nervous system is on hyper alert – all thanks to cortisol and other hormones like adrenaline. In this state of emergency preparedness, even the clotting ability of your blood increases, in case of injury. To create a fast supply of energy, you metabolize carbohydrates faster.

From an evolutionary perspective, these responses made a lot of sense. Long ago, stressors were often direct threats requiring a fast physical response, one that still serves us well in certain stressful situations.

Now, however, much of the stress in modern life is chronic stress and we have much more sedentary lives. The cortisol our bodies release in times of stress isn’t necessarily required to initiate a physical response.

How High Cortisol Levels Affect Women

As a result of our more sedentary and stressful lives, many women suffer from an imbalance in their cortisol levels. An excess of cortisol in the body can lead to many troublesome symptoms, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain, particularly in the belly and upper back
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Low libido

For menopausal women, these symptoms can be particularly pronounced. Cortisol levels rise at the end of menstruation, exacerbating menopausal symptoms at what is already a difficult time achieving hormonal balance. This is one of the main contributors to a common issue among menopausal women: excess belly fat.

In menstruating women, excess cortisol can lead to painful, heavy, or absent periods. When estrogen is lowered from continuous stress and cortisol production, all the female hormone imbalance symptoms such as night sweats, sleep problems, and mood swings can get worse.

3 Key Steps to Balance Cortisol Levels

1 – Eat for success

A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to regulate cortisol levels. Start by implementing these habits into your daily meals.

  • Reduce sugar and simple carbs. Studies show that a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar raises cortisol levels. Somewhat paradoxically, a high-sugar diet can also make your body less efficient producing cortisol when in a stressful situation.
  • Drink lots of water. When you’re dehydrated, your cortisol levels rise.
  • Focus on fiber. The gut microbiome influences hormone production. A healthy microbiome requires high fiber intake, in order to stimulate the production of “good’ bacteria in the microbiome.
  • Choose omega-3s. The anti-inflammatory qualities in omega-3 fatty acids help reduce cortisol levels. Foods high in omega-3 include flax, hemp and chia seeds, and nuts like walnuts.
  • Fermented foods for gut health. Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut help contribute to healthy bacteria levels in your gut, which helps regulate hormone production.  

2.  Supplement smartly

Supplements that reduce inflammation and improve gut health can support lower cortisol levels. Some to consider include:

  • Magnesium. Magnesium is a wonder-mineral that helps your body cope with stress and promotes relaxation.
  • Ashwagandha. Adaptogens like ashwagandha help your body cope with stress by lowering cortisol production.
  • Chamomile. Tea made with chamomile has been a relaxation treatment for centuries, and new studies suggest it may reduce cortisol levels.

Taking any new supplementation should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner to make sure it’s the right fit for you. I can help you with a personalized wellness plan tailored to your needs.

3. Reduce daily stress

Chronic stress contributes to problems with cortisol because your body is in a constant state of alert. However, reducing stress is often easier said than done. Focus on coping mechanisms to help address the way you respond to stressful situations.

  • Get enough sleep. It’s frustrating: When we’re tired, we produce more cortisol but that cortisol also keeps us awake! This creates a seemingly endless cycle of exhaustion. Focus on creating a relaxing nighttime routine, including a regular bedtime and a restful sleep environment. Avoid alcohol, screens, large meals and intense exercise before bed. Start to associate sleep with your body and mind being at peace.
  • Spend time in nature. It’s a prescription that has stood the test of time. Being outside lowers your stress responses, including cortisol production. It doesn’t have to be an epic hike – just taking a walk through the neighborhood on a busy day helps.
  • Work on your relaxation responses. Meditation, yoga, and breathwork all condition your body to deal with stressful thoughts while minimizing their physical impact.
  • Be careful with the company you keep. Ever notice that some people are inherently stressful to be around? Although positive social relationships can improve our responses to stress, negative relationships create a sense of chronic stress that isn’t good for your cortisol levels. And don’t limit your reach to human companionship – studies have found that positive interactions with pets can lower cortisol too!

If you recognize any of the signs of high cortisol levels, it’s time to take a proactive approach to managing your response to stress. Let me know if you want to learn more about controlling cortisol levels – and improving your overall health!

Book your appointment today to get started! New patients can book a FREE Meet & Greet with me HERE and existing patients can book a consultation with me HERE.

Sources

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Tryon MS, Stanhope KL, Epel ES, Mason AE, Brown R, Medici V, Havel PJ, Laugero KD. Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jun;100(6):2239-47. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4353. Epub 2015 Apr 16. PMID: 25879513; PMCID: PMC4454811.

Tryon MS, Stanhope KL, Epel ES, Mason AE, Brown R, Medici V, Havel PJ, Laugero KD. Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jun;100(6):2239-47. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4353. Epub 2015 Apr 16. PMID: 25879513; PMCID: PMC4454811.

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Keefe JR, Guo W, Li QS, Amsterdam JD, Mao JJ. An exploratory study of salivary cortisol changes during chamomile extract therapy of moderate to severe generalized anxiety disorder. J Psychiatr Res. 2018;96:189-195. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.10.011

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Healthy Glowing Skin Starts from Within

Healthy, glowing, wrinkle and blemish-free skin is something we take for granted when we’re young, but as we age, retaining that youthful glow becomes more challenging. This is partly the result of the natural aging process, and partly due to accumulated exposure to environmental toxins. Add in stressors like poor diet and gut health, dehydration, UV rays, dry and cold air, and skin becomes noticeably duller and more damaged over time. However, rejuvenating your skin doesn’t have to be expensive or rely on invasive procedures. Below are five steps to achieve healthy, glowing skin naturally…because beautiful skin starts from within!

Stay hydrated

Most people know to put moisturizer on dry skin, but it’s equally important to hydrate the skin from within. Staying adequately hydrated affects every cell in your body, including your skin. Studies show that drinking enough water improves skin density and improves blood flow to skin. Here are some quick tips on staying hydrated:

  • Drink enough throughout the day. Although adequate amounts vary by individual, aim for about two to three liters a day.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink your water, invest in an eco-friendly stainless steel bottle so it’s always with you even on the go.
  • Don’t like the taste of water? Adding a bit of lemon juice, cucumber slices or a drop of peppermint oil can also help make water more palatable.
  • Stay hydrated with fruit and vegetables! Including foods with high water content like leafy greens, parsley, strawberries and cucumbers also contribute to skin health.

Protect your gut health and eat a nutrient dense diet

Good skin is also linked to your gut. Many conditions, including acne, psoriasis, and eczema, can be linked to bacterial imbalances in the microbiome. How does this work? In simple terms, hormones greatly impact your skin, and they are metabolized in your gut. So, when your gut can’t do its job, you’re at risk of hormonal imbalances. Balance is also important with relation to the microbiome, and an overabundance of “bad” bacteria increases inflammation throughout your body, particularly on your body’s largest organ – your skin.

Restoring healthy bacterial balance reduces inflammation and helps to regulate hormones. Focus on whole, natural foods, and eliminate processed foods, in particular, foods high in trans fat, sweets, and fried foods. Also, alcohol can wreak havoc on your gut and lead to dehydration. Too much vino is not your best plan for healthy glowing skin!

Top skin and gut healthy inclusions:

  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts, hemp hearts, and flax seeds. Omegas can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Healthy fats also contribute to smoother, more supple skin, according to research. 
  • Foods high in beta carotene, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers, can help protect your skin from sun damage. Beta carotene is an antioxidant, which means it neutralizes damaging free radicals and reduces oxidative stress that leads to inflammation. Another carotenoid called lutein also contributes to skin health, and is found in brightly colored produce like broccoli and tomatoes. One interesting study of 800 women found women who ate a lot of green and yellow vegetables even had fewer wrinkles.
  • Foods high in vitamin C are associated with more youthful skin. It’s also needed to produce collagen, which is the protein that keeps your skin in good shape. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits and leafy greens are full of beneficial vitamin C. You may be surprised that strawberries and red bell peppers are foods high in vitamin C.
  • Be sure to also include probiotic-rich food and beverages like naturally fermented coconut yogurt, kombucha, tempeh, kimchi and sauerkraut which add to the good bacteria that keep your microbiome in top shape.

Gua Sha

This traditional Chinese healing method uses a scraping tool on lubricated skin in certain fluid motions to help increase circulation. One study noted a decrease in blemishes after one week while another pilot study reported increased microcirculation to the areas treated. While not all “beauty treatments” deliver what they promise, the ancient technique of Gua Sha may be a healthy add on to your skin regimen!

Members of my Wellness Club can get 20% OFF Acurea brand Gua Sha and other facial tools through Wellevate!

Facial acupuncture

An easier, typically much cheaper alternative to injections, facial acupuncture offers myriad benefits with minimal side effects. It’s thought that acupuncture can improve circulation and stimulate collagen production, resulting in a brighter complexion and smoother skin. And, by improving circulation and detoxifying, acupuncture is also an effective treatment for acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Create a skin-friendly lifestyle

Sleep and exercise both impact your skin. Moderate exercise increases blood flow and stimulates antioxidant production in a way that slows the aging process. The connection between skin health and sleep is not always apparent but there’s a reason we call it “beauty sleep.” Studies show that even one night of missed sleep can impact the quality of your skin.

Aim to get 7 – 8 hours of quality restful sleep each night and set aside time in your day for exercise to maintain youthful and glowing skin!

Book your appointment today to get started! New patients can book a FREE Meet & Greet with me HERE and existing patients can book a consultation with me HERE.


Sources

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Pilkington S.M., Rhodes L.E. (2010) Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Skin. In: Krutmann J., Humbert P. (eds) Nutrition for Healthy Skin. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-12264-4_9

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Injury Prevention Tips for an Active Lifestyle

Guest post by Sarah Sherman, PT, DPT, ATC, SCS owner of LIVE4 Physical Therapy & Wellness Advising in Acton, MA

At the start of the new year, we often find ourselves reflecting on our health and setting out to achieve a more active lifestyle. You might be trying a new workout class, focusing on including movement in your daily life, or setting new strength goals. Whatever you are working towards, it is important to set yourself up for success. Achieving and maintaining an active lifestyle takes some work. Here are some tips to help reduce your risk of injury and keep you moving in the right direction.

PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR MOVEMENT

We are all trying to sneak in that quick 30-minute workout, but it is important to prepare the body for the demands of high intensity activity. Try a 5–10-minute dynamic warm-up at the start of your workout to help decrease your risk of injury and improve your performance. A dynamic warm-up is a series of active movements performed to gradually increase blood flow, functional mobility, and flexibility. Save the static stretches for after your workout to help relax and cool-down. Here are some examples of exercises to try:

  • Walking knee to chest stretch
  • Walking hamstring stretch
  • Walking lunges
  • Bodyweight squats
  • Skipping
  • Jump rope

EAT WELL. MOVE WELL.

Fueling your body properly is an essential part of preventing injury and ensuring you can make physical progress. Here are some areas to focus on:

  • Eat adequate, high-quality protein
  • Increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation
  • Taste the rainbow! Real fruits and vegetables are the best way to consume antioxidant-rich foods
  • Work with your physician to ensure you get enough Vitamin D
  • Consider adding anti-inflammatory herbs and spices to your diet. Try adding ginger, turmeric, or cinnamon to your post-workout smoothie. Or flavor your dinner with garlic or rosemary.

RECOVER FOR SUCCESS

Our bodies must have time to repair and recover to make progressive physical improvements. Quality sleep is essential for the functioning of almost all body systems. Chronic sleep deprivation increases stress hormones, decreases endurance, impairs healing, increases risk of musculoskeletal injury, and so much more. Here are some sleep hygiene tips to support your movement goals:

  • Create a relaxing, individualized bedtime routine
  • Keep your room cool and comfortable
  • Get sunlight during the day
  • Set a consistent sleep schedule

Sarah Sherman, PT, DPT, ATC, SCS is a residency trained Board Certified Sports Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist, Certified Athletic Trainer, and the owner of LIVE4 Physical Therapy & Wellness Advising in Acton, MA. LIVE4 provides private, individualized injury prevention, rehabilitation, and wellness services for athletes and active individuals. Sarah’s career has taken her across the country and provided her the opportunity to work with athletes at all levels, from youth to professional sports. She is passionate about providing holistic, client-centered care to ensure her clients achieve and sustain long-term health and wellness.

Contact Sarah Sherman, PT, DPT, ATC, SCS at sarah@live4pt.com or follow her on Instagram at @live4_pt or on Facebook/Twitter at @live4pt