Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul

KNOT ANYMORE

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Prone to knots and tangles? This gentle brush promises not to pull, tug or break delicate strands – wet or dry. Tangle Teezer Fine & Fragile Wet Detangler, $23.95, theiconic.com.au

SLEEP

Sleep is key to improving any previous hormonal blockage or imbalance. Sleep loss impacts your cognition, immune system, energy and gut health. It can even affect your DNA – it leads to epigenetic changes (that modify your cells’ ability to read your genes) that can result in faster ageing and reduced longevity. So for the sake of your genes, gut and brain, figure out a way to sleep seven to nine hours most nights, and ideally go to bed before 11pm. Limit exposure to blue light (from TVs and phones) in the evening as much as you can. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This will help with the steady production of [sleep hormone] melatonin.

EXERCISE

If you work a stressful job and lead a stressful life, limit your stressful workouts (such as HIIT or CrossFit) to three times a week. And remember, walking 8000-12,000 steps is a simple way to incorporat­e exercise into your everyday routine (try to do it outside in nature as much as possible). When you do too much cardio, your body generates soaring levels of cortisol. Producing too much instructs your brain to store fat (especially around your abdomen) and inhibits your body’s ability to process sugar. If sugar isn’t processed properly, you gain weight.

EAT YOUR VEGETABLES

Because of the decreased nutritiona­l value and loss of diversity in grains, they should be a small part of our diet. We need to really increase the amount of vegetables – local organic is best – to amounts most of us do not get: six to eight servings. Vegetables contain hundreds to thousands of phytonutri­ents (plant hormones) that have a hormone-balancing effect in the body. Up your intake with plant-based recipes. Focus on prebiotic vegies, such as artichokes, leeks, garlic and asparagus, and cruciferou­s vegies, such as bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflowe­r and cabbage.

DRINK HORMONEBAL­ANCING TEA

There have been recent studies confirming the benefits of tea, including its hormone-balancing, anti-carcinogen­ic, antibacter­ial and prebiotic effects. The benefits of tea are even greater than coffee, and it has fewer side effects than other anti-inflammato­ry drinks like wine. One to three cups of coffee a day is OK for those who can tolerate it, but excessive caffeine raises your cortisol and slows down your thyroid. I’m So Effing Tired:

A Proven Plan To Beat Burnout, Boost Your Energy, And Reclaim Your Life by Dr Amy Shah (Hachette, $32.99), is out Tuesday.

To find out why Dr Amy Shah believes intermitte­nt fasting could be the key to having more energy, head to

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