Why a whole food diet helps to cre­ate happy hor­mones, happy you

Good - - CONTENTS - Ben War­ren is a nu­tri­tion and holis­tic health ex­pert. with Ben War­ren

Ibe­lieve ex­pe­ri­enc­ing full re­la­tion­ships with the peo­ple around us is one life’s most ful­fill­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. We all know how good it feels to be in the pres­ence of vi­brant, pos­i­tive and hap­pier peo­ple, it just seems to make us feel bet­ter too. So what’s the key to be­ing one of these peo­ple?

It lies in our hor­mones and neu­ro­trans­mit­ters. These are the chem­i­cal mes­sen­gers that tell our cells what to do and ev­ery­thing that’s fun in your life is de­pen­dent on these, from cor­ti­sol for your day­time en­ergy to sex hor­mones for a healthy li­bido.

Neu­ro­trans­mit­ters and hor­mones are made from the foods we eat through a va­ri­ety of meta­bolic pro­cesses. So the bet­ter the nu­tri­tion we are in­gest­ing the more able our body is able to make these mol­e­cules and the bet­ter our ex­pe­ri­ence of life and our re­la­tion­ships are. Try the fol­low­ing diet and life­style tips to im­prove en­ergy and hor­mone syn­the­sis so you can get the max­i­mum en­joy­ment from your re­la­tion­ships and life:

Eat a whole food diet

This will give our bod­ies the nu­tri­ents they need to make vi­tal neu­ro­trans­mit­ters and hor­mones and in­volves eat­ing fresh, nat­u­ral foods such as fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole­grains and meats.

Sup­port your adrenal glands

They are re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing day­time stress hor­mones but also the build­ing blocks for other steroid hor­mones. Hor­mones share the same build­ing blocks and if there aren’t enough to go around some­thing has to miss out. That is of­ten our sex hor­mones – our bod­ies pri­ori­tise sur­vival over re­pro­duc­tion – and our in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ships can suf­fer as a re­sult.

I like to take a two-pronged ap­proach to sup­port­ing the adrenals. Firstly by re­duc­ing stress through tech­niques such as mind­ful­ness and med­i­ta­tion and se­condly, nu­tri­tion­ally by in­clud­ing plenty of sup­ple­men­tal vi­ta­min C as the adrenal glands use a large amount in hor­mone syn­the­sis. I also like to sup­port the adrenal glands with adrenal glan­du­lar ex­tracts, which help stim­u­late the gland and pro­vides ‘plug-and-play’ pep­tides.

Im­prove your gut

Many peo­ple don’t re­alise that the gut is where much of our neu­ro­trans­mit­ter pre­cur­sors are syn­the­sised as well as a large part of our sero­tonin – our key feel-good hor­mone. There­fore, main­tain­ing a healthy gut flora with a broad range of ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria strains is key. Eat­ing fer­mented foods such as yo­ghurt and ke­fir as­sists with this, while a whole food diet is the foun­da­tion to feed­ing the ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria.

Take vi­ta­min D

In some as­pects of func­tion vi­ta­min D acts like a hor­mone – in a com­pre­hen­sive meta­anal­y­sis study it was shown to have a sim­i­lar ef­fect on im­prov­ing de­pres­sion as med­i­ca­tions. Sea­sonal Af­fec­tive Disor­der (SAD) is a well-es­tab­lished con­di­tion that man­i­fests in in­creased feel­ings of de­pres­sion in win­ter from low vi­ta­min D so tak­ing a vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment could im­prove how we feel.

Pri­ori­tise sleep

This is a key com­po­nent to bal­anc­ing our day-time ac­tiv­i­ties against the re­build­ing pro­cesses our bod­ies go through at night. Mela­tonin, our sleepy-time hor­mone, is tied into our body’s ex­po­sure to sun­light and peaks in the early hours of the morn­ing. Many peo­ple go to bed too late – af­ter 10.30pm – and miss out on the highly restora­tive cou­ple of hours of sleep when our mela­tonin lev­els are at their high­est.

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