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  • Writer's pictureJenny Whitfield

Happy, healthy hormones

The endocrine system is an incredible network that produces and regulates hormones. It includes the thyroid, the adrenals and the ovaries. When working properly it keeps everything in perfect balance, so we can grow, heal, reproduce and respond to our environment with ease. However, there are many things that can upset this balance. Typical signs of unhappy hormones are feelings of fatigue or energy crashes, brain fog, mood swings, insomnia, skin issues, increased PMT or menopause symptoms, water retention and weight gain. Nightmare!

If you are putting up with any of those signs it’s worth speaking to a GP to uncover the root cause. But in the meantime, there are things you can do to help keep your hormones happy and healthy.


Stress disrupts all the body’s systems. It’s designed that way so we can put our energies into fighting or fleeing when required. But we’re not designed to have the stress response triggered so often, and it plays havoc with the feedback loops that control hormone production. Real rest and effective relaxation are absolutely essential for a balanced hormone system, because unless the body can get back to a calm, regulated, rest and digest state, it can’t produce the hormone levels that enable us to thrive.

Scrolling social media and watching tv might feel relaxing, but it doesn’t help us reach the deeply relaxed state that we need to counteract the effects of stress. Relaxation looks different for everyone, but walking in nature, yoga and meditation are proven methods for slowing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. We live in a crazily fast-paced world, with too much emphasis on productivity, and it’s important that we give ourselves permission to spend time on the things that bring us joy. Hobbies, crafting, gardening, exercise, reading are all wonderful ways to relax, as long as they don’t feel like a chore. There’s no shame in just lying on the sofa when you need to!

It's also important to weave relaxation practices into our busy days. Regularly stopping what we’ve doing and taking time to unwind stops the stress building up to overwhelm. You could stretch, shake or dance the tension out of your muscles. ‘Legs up the wall’ pose feels amazing and really calms the nervous system. Deep breathing is another great way to signal to the body that it is safe and can rest and digest. Send the breath down deep to your belly to stretch the diaphragm and activate the vagus nerve. In for 4, out for 4, for a minute is a good way to begin. When that feels easy, try in for 4, hold for 7, out for 8, for 5 rounds. Just a few minutes doing any of these has a powerful effect on your body and mind.

Holistic treatments, like reflexology, are an amazing way to calm and support all the systems in the body. I have recently learned some advanced techniques for working with the endocrine system and I’d love to help you regain your natural balance.

Love your liver

The liver is an incredible organ that does many important jobs. One of these is to filter out and repackage hormones so that they can be excreted. But when the liver is stressed – from dealing with too much processed food, sugar, caffeine and alcohol, or because of dehydration – it can’t do this effectively. Hormones end up recirculating, upsetting the balance.

Eating a whole-food diet eases pressure on the liver, and some foods boost its performance. Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, kale, watercress and radish – have loads of health benefits, including activating enzymes in the liver that enable it to process and remove excess hormones. So if you’re dealing with any kind of hormone imbalance, veggies are your best friend! Drinking 2 litres of water is really important for good liver function.

Low-tox living

As well as contributing to liver over-load, toxins in our environment play havoc with hormones. Many synthetic fragrances and other chemicals in cosmetics and cleaning products are endocrine disruptors – they mess with the hormone system. They include xenoestrogens - molecules that can attach to oestrogen receptors and totally confuse the body’s understanding of its hormone levels and responses, causing or aggravating a whole load of unpleasant symptoms and increasing the risk of serious conditions.

There’s no need to throw everything away, but when it’s time to replace cosmetic and cleaning products, go for brands using natural ingredients. Look for paraben-free and phthalate-free, and avoid ‘parfum’ as an ingredient. Try mineral sun-screen, as conventional sunscreens are loaded with chemicals. Other ways to reduce toxin exposure are: store food and drinks in glass or stainless steel; use beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm; filter tap water; buy organic food if possible; wash fruit and veg thoroughly; avoid touching printed receipts.

Small changes to our lifestyles can have massive results. I am passionate about simple, healthy living, so please get in touch if you have any questions.

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