Frequently Asked Questions
Below I prepared answers to some frequently asked questions which may help you further. Can't find what you need? Contact Katia for any further information you may need.
- What is nutritional therapy?
Nutritional therapy is a process of balancing relationships with food that provides optimal support for your individual health needs.
The food we eat has a profound impact on our health. Clinical research into nutrition shows that what and how we eat can promote health and well-being, prevent illnesses, and help those with chronic diseases improve outcomes. The nutrients we consume are information used to make hormones, and neurotransmitters, create energy, support immunity and brain health, detoxification, optimise gut function and ultimately maintain balance.
As a nutritional therapist, I am trained to understand how nutrients, food, and lifestyle factors influence the body's function and may contribute to individual symptoms and health concerns. Using a wide range of tools, I assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and provide realistic, practical, achievable, and personalised guidance to enrich your nutritional status and achieve your health goals.
As a nutritional therapist, I am here to help you not only determine how to optimally support your body and mind through diet and lifestyle but do this in an enjoyable way that does not add extra strain on your already busy life.
- What happens in a nutritional therapy consultation?
The initial session lasts 75 minutes. I spend time with you, listening to your history and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can contribute to your symptoms and influence your long-term health. It allows me to get you to know your unique life circumstances and individual biochemistry and identify possible root causes of your health concerns.
In my practice, I utilise a functional medicine approach to health. It gives me to look at your body as an interconnected web-like structure of different systems and functions. Imbalances within these systems can manifest as symptoms or illnesses.
In addition, I am trained in NLP, motivational interviewing, and other psychological tools and techniques to assist you in changing habits, behaviours, and environments to achieve meaningful improvements in your health. I use coaching techniques in every session we have together.
I typically encourage clients to work through a program with me. We finish the session by agreeing on a practical health plan that works for you. Functional testing can be arranged at this stage (if needed) to take out the guesswork and achieve quick and effective results. Shortly after the initial session, you will receive a custom report with key health goals we agreed to work on, meal plans, recipes, food sources, and more. I will check in with you a few weeks later to discuss progress and provide support, and we will meet again a few weeks later to review progress and adjust the program as needed.
- How does a nutritional therapist differ from a dietician?
Unlike dieticians with a series of standard dietary plans for different conditions, nutritional therapists use an individual approach to each patient.
I consider not just the specific condition or symptoms but also other factors, including underlying nutritional deficiencies, individual biochemical responses to foods, genetic predispositions, environmental stressors, patient’s health goals and motivations, and personal preferences and constraints. Such personalised plans help create the most appropriate and effective wellness strategy for each patient and, compared to generalised diet advice, have been shown to result in a more significant reduction in intake of foods detrimental to one’s health and notably improved dietary intake among adults.
- What health concerns can Katia help me with?
As a certified and registered Nutritional Therapist, Katia can help you with:
- irregular, heavy, or absent periods
- breast engorgement, and tenderness
- anxiety, grogginess, and irritability
- such PMS symptoms as mood swings, food cravings, bloating, water retention, fatigue
- chronic-stress related conditions
- excess weight
- poor sleep
- bloating and digestive discomfort
- resistant weight loss
- skin conditions like acne
- menstrual cramps
- painful periods
- pre-menstrual pain
- endometriosis pain
- PCOS pain
Many chronic conditions and day-to-day fluctuations in health and well-being can be linked to individual nutrition and lifestyle. It has been repeatedly shown that nutrition and lifestyle changes can support and improve the health of all the body's major systems, including digestive, hormonal, reproductive, muscular-skeletal, immune, urinary, nervous, respiratory, and skin.
- How can Katia help me with hormone imbalance?
I know how to support you using my knowledge of nutrition and the human body and my personal experience of dealing with health issues linked to hormonal imbalances. There is no quick fix, and everyone experiences hormonal imbalance issues differently. Working with me takes you on a journey to learn about your unique triggers, how to manage your symptoms and what can be done to address the root cause of these symptoms. Together, we can identify foods that may benefit you, adapt recipes to your likes and dislikes, and explore lifestyle factors that support your health goals.
- What does a “Free Review” call look like?
I offer all potential clients an opportunity to meet virtually before committing to work together. This gives us an opportunity to discuss your health concerns and objectives, determine that I am the right person to help, and discuss nutritional therapy program options that will fit your needs best. It is also an opportunity to get to know each other because the work process with a nutritionist is quite intimate, so you should trust me completely.
- What are Katia’s nutritional therapy qualifications?
I am a British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) member registered with the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM).
I am trained at the College of Nutrition, Education, and Lifestyle Management (CNELM) and completed my MSc in Personalised Nutrition with the University of Middlesex in collaboration with CNELM.
I also hold a master's in Psychology from Harvard University and am an NLP coach accredited by the Association for Neurolinguistic Programming Language (ANLP).
In addition, I have completed additional training to deepen my knowledge in the field of nutrition, including the Certificate of Integrative Sports Nutrition (CISN, UK) and Nutrigenomics training (LiveCode GX, UK).
I always strive to deepen my knowledge and am currently doing a twelve-month fertility nutrition mentorship with Sandra Greenbank.
- How long is a nutritional therapy consultation?
As a professional nutritional therapist, my initial consultation is always 1 hour and 15 minutes. This time gives us an opportunity to discuss your medical history, family history, and symptoms which prompted the visit. Follow-up consultation times vary from 15 to 45 minutes and depend on your needs and the program that suits your health goals
- Can I do just a single session with Katia rather than a package?
Yes, you can do a single session with me. But, from my experience, working on a package together helps achieve your health goals faster and more effectively. I propose several cooperation packages, and we can also discuss the package most suitable to your health goals and needs. Once the initial package has been completed, maintenance sessions can be arranged as and when needed.
- How often should I come for an appointment?
Everything depends upon the problem we work with, the level of support you need, and the testing that should be undertaken. Some clients benefit from weekly touch points, while others can work independently for a few weeks before coming in for a return visit.
Talk to Katia to discuss the most suitable approach that works for your circumstances.
- How long is a nutritional therapy programme?
The program length depends on your health goals.
It takes time to explore new food plans and build new habits. The average length of the initial program is three months, which is the time needed to make a meaningful change in your life and start seeing the results. As we work together to bring the body and mind back to optimal healthy functioning, we must remember that symptoms result from imbalances created over a long period. This is why I recommend working on a program rather than a one-off consultation to allow time to bring the bodily processes back into balance.
- Does Katia provide in-between-session support?
Katia can be reached in between sessions by email and endeavours to respond to your questions within 24 hours. Short between sessions calls can also be embedded into the program to provide extra support and accountability.
- I would like to see Katia virtually. What do I need to know?
I support my clients in every way I can: Zoom, Whats App, or Facetime; virtual consultations are now an integral part of the practice. Just get in touch, and we will schedule a time that works for both of us.
- Do I have to go somewhere else to get my supplements?
For clients who work with Katia at IMI, supplements are dispensed on-premises. For clients outside of Hong Kong, Katia works with several online dispensaries, and your supplements will be ordered online and delivered home shortly after consultation.
- What do I need to bring to my consultation with Katia?
If you have the results of any recent blood tests, functional tests, or other medical examination reports, please email them to Katia at email@example.com ahead of your consultation or bring them with you. A Diary with dates of your recent menstrual cycles is also helpful to get to your consultation or send ahead of time.
- How much will I need to invest in my work with Katia?
The cost depends on which of the programs suits your needs and the level of support you need me to provide: weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
Pay attention that tests and supplements are not included in the package price. These are recommended based on your symptoms, health history and well-being goals.
Functional testing is optional, although in some cases can take out the guesswork and help achieve faster results. I will provide you with all the information you require to decide if you want to proceed with these.
- Can I cancel or rebook a consultation?
Sometimes situations happen that we cannot influence. If something takes place and you cannot come to the appointment, please let me know 24 hours before your appointment, and we will find a suitable alternative time to work together.
- Do you give meal plans and recipes?
When we work together on a program (rather than a one-off consultation), I provide you with a personalised food plan after the first consultation with 3-4 options for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner so that you can start building your personal balanced meal plans. I can also provide specific food plans such as low FODMAP, IBS-AID, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and other diets. I have a range of signature recipes, and we can discuss other recipe ideas tailored to your likes/dislikes, constraints, and capabilities.
- What happens if the meal plan contains foods I don’t like?
Nutritional therapy is a process we do together. I educate you and provide you with nutrition and lifestyle information. And then, we negotiate and agree on a way forward together, considering your food likes, dislikes, beliefs, and budget. You will always have a choice.
- Do you work with other healthcare professionals?
I frequently work alongside medical and complementary professionals. As a practitioner, I always try to refer any client to other complementary or medical professionals if I deem they can help the case more efficiently.
- What are the functional tests?
Functional tests are specialised private assessments we discuss with you at your consultation(s) which are considered relevant in assessing the identified areas of your health. Examples of functional tests include a DUTCH test for advanced hormonal analyses, stool tests to assess digestion, absorption, and balance of beneficial and opportunistic bacteria, urine tests for vitamin and mineral levels, immune function tests, etc.
Testing can be beneficial in identifying the root cause(s) of your symptoms. This knowledge enables me to tailor and personalise dietary, lifestyle, and supplement advice, which can help you get results faster. The advanced and detailed tests involved vary and will be recommended based on your symptoms, health history, and health goals.
- Where can I get tests done?
I will propose accredited laboratories I work with for your testing needs.
Depending on the test, most can be done in the comfort of your own home. For example, DUTCH hormone test, urine tests for metabolic processes, and stool samples for gut tests. Samples are sent directly to the relevant laboratory, and all equipment and instructions will be provided. Other tests need to be carried out in person; these are often blood tests requiring phlebotomy services for blood draws. I will help arrange all the tests we deem necessary to reach your health goals successfully.
- Are my health and personal information kept confidential?
The consultation environment aims to provide a safe and confidential space.
All consultation paperwork, including notes taken, is treated as confidential and stored securely. The Nutritional Therapist reserves the right to break with confidentiality in the following circumstances:
- As part of ongoing training, to discuss clients with a professional supervisor (to ensure your privacy, you will only be referred to anonymously by a client code)
- If provided with information that may indicate a threat to your own life or someone else's, the Nutritional Therapist reserves the right to report the information to relevant services.
- Is the work with a Nutrition therapist covered by insurance?
Currently, nutritional therapy is rarely a part of insurance coverage. However, there are considerable variations amongst individual insurance policies, and some providers may cover natural treatments, including nutritional therapy.
Please, check your insurance provider your policy for details regarding your particular insurance coverage.
Supplements are not covered by insurance.
For testing done with patients at IMI, please talk to Katia about what may be covered by your insurance policy.
- What languages are the consultations offered in?
Consultations can be offered in English, Russian and Ukrainian.
- If you have an irregular menstrual cycle
Never know when your period is coming? Does it seem to show up whenever it pleases? Then you may benefit from irregular menstruation solutions.
- If your period is too heavy
Needing to change a tampon or pad every hour, seeing giant clots in your menstrual blood, or feeling like your period goes on indefinitely is not a normal part of having a period. These heavy-period solutions will help you.
- If you have PMS cramps before your period, PMS breast pain, nipple pain, or any kind of pain before or during your period
How to reduce menstrual cramps? How to get rid of menstrual pain at home? Is it normal that pain is heightened during the period? Painful-period solutions may benefit you if you are searching for answers to these questions.
- Your period is absent altogether
Menstrual bleeding is an indicator of women's health. We must stop thinking of our period only relating to our ability to get pregnant. Think of your period as a vital sign of how well your body is functioning. If you need guidance to bring the period back into your life, below are some absent period solutions - things you can do today to restore the absent menstruation.
- Continuous bleeding for more than seven days
Continuous bleeding is abnormal, and you should seek medical advice as soon as possible to rule out any serious issues
- A good night sleep
- Sleep at least 8 hours a day. During sleep, your brain and body are recovering.
- Reduce stress
Try to reduce stress by practising yoga and meditation. If you are not ready, start by spending time in nature, and you will see what a positive effect this can have on your hormonal and menstrual health.
- Nutritious, balanced diet
Very often, menstrual irregularities may be caused by unhealthy eating habits. A nutritious, balanced diet is a great place to start to resolve nutrient depletions and support hormone balance. Eliminate processed foods that might be messing with your hormones. Instead, focus on "whole foods", which means foods that don't come in a box or package. Add more colourful vegetables, fruits, quality protein, and healthy fats to balance your blood sugar and supply your body with the building blocks to create hormones. Also include fibre and fluids to get your gut moving. A qualified nutritionist can help you support your body with targeted vitamins, minerals, and herbs based on your unique needs.
- Eat Iron-rich foods
Add iron-reach foods to your diet to help replace iron lost during menstrual bleeding. Red meat, liver, and green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of iron. Avoid caffeine and eat vitamin C-rich foods (such as citrus fruit and leafy greens) to aid iron absorption.
- Focus on getting your B Vitamins
Eat foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12 to boost your energy. Animal products, especially meats, are rich in vitamin B12. In addition to meat, B6 can also be found in green leafy veg. If you are vegetarian, talk to your nutritional therapist about supplementing these essential vitamins.
- Eat oily fish
Eat more oily fish, such as sardines, salmon, or mackerel. The healthy fats in such fish may help address the pain associated with heavy blood loss.
- Reduce exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals
Minimise exposure to chemicals that may disrupt your hormonal balance. Replace plastic bottles and containers with glass or steel ones. Reduce your canned food intake or look for BPA-free cans. Find safe alternatives to hair products, cosmetics, and cleaning products, as these are often filled with endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
- Start an anti-inflammatory diet
Start an anti-inflammatory diet. What does it mean? Add vegetables, berries, oily fish, healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, lean sources of protein, and whole grains. Such a diet also minimises added sugars, processed foods, and vegetable oils (such as sunflower oil) that can trigger or worsen inflammation.
- Add omega-3 fats
Add omega-three fats - healthy anti-inflammatory fats found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds. These can alleviate PMS's physical and emotional symptoms and may help reduce cramping.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods
Fill your diet with magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach and other green leafy veggies, to help reduce muscle tension.
- Massage with magnesium oil
You can also try massaging magnesium oil into your abdomen to help alleviate menstrual cramps.
- Manage stress
- Stress can increase the risk of cramping. Decrease stress by such techniques as breathing, meditation, journaling, or simply spending time in nature.
- Minimise exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals
Minimise exposure to chemicals that may disrupt your hormonal balance. Replace plastic bottles and containers with glass or steel ones. Reduce your canned food intake or look for BPA-free cans. Replace self-care and cleaning products with natural alternatives free from endocrine disruptors.
- Adopt a nutritious diet
A nutrient-filled, balanced diet is the best way to support hormonal balance. Avoid processed foods. Eat plenty of vegetables, berries, quality protein, and healthy fats to supply your body with the building blocks to create hormones. Also include fibre (such as vegetables and wholegrains) and drink 2 litres of water daily to move your gut. A qualified nutritionist can help you support your body with targeted vitamins and minerals based on your unique needs.
- Get enough sleep
- Make 8 hours of sleep a constant of your life. Because only during sleep do the body and brain have enough time to recover.
- Try seed cycling
Try seed cycling, a hormone-supporting practice of eating specific seeds during two main phases of your menstrual cycle. How does it work? You eat 1-2 tbsp of pumpkin and flax seeds daily during the first 14 days of your period. Then during the second half of your cycle, you eat 1-2tbsp of sunflower and sesame seeds.
- Ensure you are not undereating and over-exercising
Ensure you are not undereating and over-exercising, as both of these are a stressor for the body. Sometimes, just an extra 300 kcal a day is all it takes to induce menstrual recovery in exercising women!
- Consume adequate protein
- Adequate quality protein consumption is key to managing weight. Protein not only keeps hunger at bay but is also one of the critical building blocks for many messengers in the body. Meat, chicken, seafood, and eggs are excellent sources of protein to include with every meal. Tempeh, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and tofu are great protein sources if you are vegetarian.
- Cut back on sugar and simple carbs
- Limiting sweets and refined carbohydrates helps stabilise blood sugar and lower the need for the hormone insulin, curbing our appetite and helping us use stored fat for energy needs.
- Eat healthy fats
- Fats from olive oil, avocado, nut and seeds, and oily fish are the building materials for many hormones. Healthy fats are also crucial for our cells' health, allowing them to communicate effectively (i.e., respond to hormonal messages). On the other hand, vegetable oils (like sunflower oil) and trans fats found in packaged foods can wreak havoc on our cells' health, so eliminate these from your diet to support your hormonal health.
- Prioritise sleep
Quality sleep is essential if you want to lose weight. One night of disrupted sleep can cause havoc with our blood sugar, making us crave unhealthy food and hold on to excess energy more efficiently. Get seven to eight hours of sleep to help you manage weight. What is the first step you can take today to improve your sleep? Go to bed an hour earlier, and don't take your phone or other electronic devices to your bedroom.
- Engage in appropriate levels of exercise
One does not have to run a marathon, or run at all, to introduce exercise into one's life. To benefit from physical activity, we can simply walk regularly, as even a near-daily brisk walk can do wonders for our hormonal balance. Try going for a short walk after meals; it will make a big difference to how your body uses and puts away the energy from the food you eat.
- Give your liver some love
If our bodies cannot clear used hormones effectively, this can contribute to hormonal imbalances, which, among other things, may contribute to water retention. The liver plays a significant role in removing used-up hormones from the body. Support it by adding quality protein, cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, herbs & spices to every meal. Reducing alcohol intake and managing stress will further help by reducing the load on the liver, freeing up the capacity to detoxify other substances.
- Fibre and water
- Drink 2 litres of clean water every day and eat adequate fibre. Once the liver has packaged the used-up hormones, our gut is responsible for removing these from the body. Making sure we poop daily is key to this. Fibre and water are crucial to supporting daily bowel movements.
- Regular exercises
- Can help disperse the liquid in the body and support our detoxification functions, helping us remove used-up hormones and other toxic substances from the body.
- Diuretic food
Asparagus, grapes, and cucumbers are just some foods known for their diuretic effect.
- Dandelion leaf
If you retain water or feel puffy before your period, dandelion leaf can help you naturally expel the excess water. Add it to salads and soups, or make tea from its flowers.
- Move your body
- Exercise can do wonders not just for your body but also for your mental health. Moderate exercise, which can be as simple as a brisk daily walk, can lower inflammation and improve brain function.
- Eliminate inflammatory foods
- Try to eliminate gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and inflammatory fats (fats found in processed or refined foods, fast foods, margarine, and vegetable oils) to reduce the load the body has to deal with, freeing up the capacity for renewal and repair.
- Getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep at night gives our body and brain time to recover.
- Brain-supporting fats
- Eat oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines at least three times a week. These fats contain vital structural components for our brain cells and can also help lower inflammation.
- Banish stress
- Excess stress hormones are damaging to our brain cells. Introducing stress management practices like meditation, breathing, or simply taking a relaxing bath in the evening can help protect your mental and emotional health.
- Eat a rainbow
- Ensure you eat a variety of vegetables with every meal. Veggies are a nutrient powerhouse and can help protect the cells from daily insults.
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Remove processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and gluten from your diet. Instead, show your gut some love by eating various vegetables, berries, lean protein, and healthy fats.
- Mindful eating
Take a minute to anticipate your meals and enjoy the smell and look of your food. Eat slowly and mindfully. Try to eat at the table without devices (phone, TV, etc.). These simple steps will prepare your body to digest the food and absorb the nutrients from your meal.
- Stress management
- Work on practices to help you manage stress, especially before meals. When we are stressed, our body prioritises addressing stress over digestion. Sitting down for a few minutes of belly breathing before you eat your food can make a big difference in preparing your gut for the meal.
- Banish sugary foods
- Abrupt hormonal changes, such as when their levels surge and collapse, greatly impact our energy level and sleep quality. Sugary foods are at the heart of the hormonal rollercoaster. To prevent energy crashes, eat less sugary foods, replacing them with quality protein and healthy fats which sustain energy for longer.
- Add more plant foods
- Vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are excellent sources of fibre, which can help sustain the energy release from your meals, keeping you energised for longer.
- Quality sleep
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, which helps fine-tune your circadian rhythm. Start a bedtime routine (such as taking a bath or reading a book) to prepare your body for sleep. Drop the temperature of your bedroom, which may help you fall asleep faster and have a more restful night.
- Iron-rich foods
- Menstruating women can lose a lot of iron due to monthly blood losses. Healthy iron levels are essential for sustained energy. Red meat (especially organ meats) and leafy greens (if you are vegetarian) are excellent sources of iron. Combine iron-rich foods with fruit and vegetables containing vitamin C (e.g. citrus fruit and greens) to aid absorption. Do not drink caffeinated drinks too close to meal times, as these can hinder iron absorption.
- Manage your stress
- As we have seen, stress hormones disrupt many processes in the body and are often at the heart of hormonal imbalances. Try different stress management techniques to understand which works best for you. Some examples to experiment with are meditation, journaling and breathing exercises.
- Love your liver
it plays an essential role in the hormone balance. Support your liver by:
- Eating plenty of crucifers like broccoli and cauliflower;
- Including sulphur-containing vegs like onion, garlic, and leeks in your meals;
- Enriching your diet with other liver-loving foods like carrots, lemons, artichokes, beets, watercress, and dandelion greens;
- Using a variety of herbs and spices;
- Reducing your alcohol intake and minimising exposure to environmental chemicals that can make the liver work overtime (e.g., plastics, cosmetics, household cleaning products, etc.)
- Fix your gut
Once the liver processes oestrogen for elimination, it's up to your gut to move it out of the body. If you are constipated, there is a good chance that this isn't happening, and your hormones are going back into circulation. You can support your gut by:
- Adding more fibre to your diet. Fibre is excellent for helping balance sex hormones; I want you to have lots of fibre! Fibre helps move the bowels; in other words, it helps you poo. Why is it important? Because when we poo, we free the body not just of toxins but also of used-up hormones. Fibre is found in many plant foods, including whole grains, nuts & seeds, fruits & veggies. For example, one cup of broccoli provides 5g of fibre, and 1tbsp of flaxseed offers 2g of fibre. If you are not used to fibre, increase fibre intake slowly to allow your body to build a tolerance.
- Taking two tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds daily to help bind and eliminate used-up hormones.
- Drinking two litres of water daily. This is crucial for healthy bowel movements as fibre combines with water forming a soft gel, allowing for more effortless bowel evacuation.
- Consumption of fermented foods can further support successful hormone detoxification by helping balance the gut's bacterial composition. Add such fermented foods as sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh to keep your gut healthy.
- Fall in love with oily fish
Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, contains omega:3 fats, which can inhibit proinflammatory compounds that mediate pain and inflammation. These fats have been shown to reduce pain, similar to medication.
- Eat oily fish two to three times a week to benefit from omega:3 fats.
- If you are a vegetarian, omega:3 fats can also be obtained from such plant sources as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- You may also benefit from supplementing omega:3, which your nutritional therapist can assist with.
- Balance your blood sugar
PCOS is strongly linked with insulin resistance and is often found in women with diabetes. Insulin influences sex hormones, and if you want to begin the processes of balancing out oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, you first need to get your blood sugar under control. You can reduce your insulin levels by eating foods that do not take you on a blood sugar rollercoaster.
Here are a few simple steps to help you achieve this:
- Replace processed carbs with low glycaemic load (GL) ones. Carbohydrate-containing foods - such as bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, legumes, vegetables, etc. - are broken down by the body to glucose (sugar), supplying the brain and other organs with the necessary energy. While all carbohydrates are made of sugars, the same quantity of carbohydrates affects blood sugar levels differently. To minimise large blood sugar fluctuations, we should get our carbs from foods that slowly release sugar into the bloodstream rather than from foods that cause blood sugar levels to surge. Non-starchy vegetables, pulses, sweet potato, pumpkin, brown rice, quinoa, etc., are foods that release their sugar slowly, help keep blood sugar levels stable and have low GL. Foods that can cause a spike in blood sugar levels are white pasta, cakes, cookies, white rice, white potatoes, etc., referred to as high-GL foods. To help smoothen blood sugar fluctuations, focus on low GL sources of carbohydrates in your meal and snacks.
- Include protein with every meal and snack. Protein takes longer to digest, slowing down glucose's release into the bloodstream. Eggs, chicken, seafood, and meat are all great sources of animal proteins. For vegetarians, look at such protein sources as tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds, and legumes, and add them to every meal.
- Start your meals with colourful non-starchy vegetables. It can be broccoli, carrots, celery, beans, mushrooms, salad, etc. Eat vegetables before other products; fibre in vegetables helps slow the speed with which the sugars from your meal are released into your bloodstream.
- Manage stress (see below). During stress, our body releases chemical messengers (hormones such as cortisol) that increase our blood sugar. Cortisol is also involved in replenishing depleted energy stores – it initiates cravings and converts food into stores of glucose and fat.
- Enjoy leafy greens, which contain magnesium - a critical mineral for glucose transport and metabolism. To obtain more magnesium from your diet, eat more green leafy vegetables, like cooked Swiss chard, spinach, kale, etc.
- Get moving
Using your muscles helps burn glucose and improves the way insulin works.
- Take a brisk walk after meals. A simple walk can reduce the impact of your meal on your blood sugar levels and insulin response.
- Participate in moderate resistance exercise two to three times a week. While resistance exercise has less of an initial effect on blood sugar levels than aerobic exercise, it has a more prolonged effect, helping you manage blood sugar over many hours following this type of exercise.
- Break up your sitting time every 30 minutes and find a way to move for just a few minutes. Do a few quick squats at the desk or walk to the kitchen to get some water.
- Remember, your liver plays an essential role in hormonal balance
Below are simple steps you can take today to support your liver:
- Choose a diet rich in green vegetables and crucifers like broccoli and cauliflower.
- Add sulphur-containing vegetables like onion, garlic, and leeks to your meals.
- Remember that carrots, lemons, artichokes, beets, watercress, and dandelion greens are all foods that our liver thrives on.
- Use plenty of herbs and spices - add them to your stews, stir-fries and even your morning smoothies.
- Detox your lifestyle by cutting-out alcohol and finding cleaner alternatives to plastics, cosmetics, and household cleaning products. Toss the plastics, replacing them with glass and steel containers. Replace your Teflon pans with cast iron ones. Eat organic where possible, especially when it comes to animal products.
- Manage your blood glucose level
Fibroids can be triggered or worsened by insulin resistance. Rising insulin stimulate cell proliferation in uterine fibroid tissue. You can reduce your insulin level by:
- Replacing simple carbs, such as white pasta, cakes, cookies, white rice, and white potatoes, with non-starchy vegetables, pulses, sweet potato, pumpkin, brown rice, or quinoa. These changes can help smooth out the blood sugar fluctuations and won't constantly be spiking your insulin levels.
- Remember to have protein with all your meals: chicken, seafood, and eggs are examples of animal sources of protein. Or, if you are vegetarian, try tofu, nuts, and legumes as an alternative source of protein.
- Start your meal with colourful non-starchy vegetables. It can be broccoli, artichoke, baby corn, beans, salad, or tomatoes. The list goes on! Fibrous veggies will help create a "net" in your stomach to catch the glucose from your meal, so it does not escape into your bloodstream too fast.
- Find ways to manage stress. Remember, we can't always avoid the stressors, but we can teach our bodies to respond to these stressors in a way that does not cause havoc on our hormonal balance. Choose whatever it is that works for you and practice it every single day to see the results. For some of you, it may be yoga or meditation; for others - having fun with your friends, journaling or taking a walk in the mountains.
- Add more green leafy vegetables as a natural source of magnesium - a critical mineral to transport glucose and support metabolism. Spinach, kale, and collard greens are just some of the examples for you to choose from.
- Move more. Every time you have a chance to move, walk, stretch, and stand up for a few minutes! If you sit at the computer all day, do a few squats at the desk, or walk to another room. Simple movement can help our muscles burn glucose and improve how insulin works.
- Eat the right kinds of carbs
- Don't be afraid of carbs: complex, unrefined carbs such as whole grains and vegetables can help balance your blood sugar.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and some berries
- Broccoli and cauliflower are perfect for PMS sufferers as they contain compounds that can mop up excess oestrogens and help to calm menstrual cramps.
- Out with the bad, in with the good kind of fat
- Cut back on vegetable oils (such as sunflower oil) and hydrogenated fats (found in processed foods like biscuits and junk foods), and replace these with essential fats found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These right kinds of oils can help balance inflammation and improve hormonal communication.
- Bulk up your consumption of fibre
- Fibre is contained in many plant foods, including whole grains, nuts & seeds, fruits & veggies. It plays a crucial role in balancing female hormones. Aim for 35g of fibre daily but build up your fibre levels slowly to avoid discomfort. For example, one cup of broccoli provides 5g of fibre, and 1tbsp of flaxseed contains 2g of fibre.
- Cut out the alcohol and smoking, and ditch household toxins which all tax the liver
- The liver is one of the critical organs for controlling and balancing hormones, as this is where excess hormones can be removed, which is crucial for hormonal balance.
- Fight symptoms with phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that can lock into the body's oestrogen receptors and help balance hormones. The great news is that there are many ways to get these molecules through your diet. Phytoestrogen-rich foods include
- soy - go for fermented soy products like tofu, miso, and tempeh
- flaxseed - just 10g a day (equivalent to 2tbsp) can make a difference
- seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds
- legumes such as chickpeas, soybeans, kidney beans, lima beans, and lentils
- sprouting seeds like alfalfa and soybean sprouts
- vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
- Increase your magnesium intake
Eat more green leafy vegetables (like Swiss chard, spinach, kale, etc.) to obtain this critical mineral from your diet
- Balance blood sugar
- Swap processed carbs and added sugars with vegetables and whole grains.
- Don't be scared of fat
- But instead of clogging your cells and hormone receptors with junk and processed foods, choose the right kind of fats from nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and avocado. Oily fish, such as salmon and sardines, is vital when balancing hormonal and inflammatory processes.
- Eat more vegetables
- Especially broccoli and its cruciferous cousins. Not only does one cup of broccoli contain 5 g of fibre (vital for blood sugar balance and getting the bowels moving), crucifers contain molecules like sulforaphane that help balance many processes in the body and alleviate PMDD symptoms.
- Detoxify your life
- Refuse cigarettes and alcohol, and remove plastics from your life. All these toxins make your liver work overtime, leaving little capacity for eliminating excess hormones.
- Eat lots of fibre
- Plant foods, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are excellent sources of fibre. Fibre is a great assistant in balancing women's hormones.
- Eat more foods that contain magnesium
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are a great source of this nutrient.
- Rest more
- Sleeping 7-8 hours can help our body recover, improving our capacity to deal with stress, reducing mood swings, and alleviating fatigue.
- Drink water
- Not enough hydration may contribute to developing a headache. A woman's average water consumption should be around two litres. Eating foods high in liquid, such as fruits, smoothies, or soups, may also improve hydration. Remember that coffee, alcohol and soft drinks do not count towards your daily water consumption and may worsen dehydration.
- Balance inflammation with omega:3 fats
- These fat are found in such fish as salmon and sardines. If you are vegetarian, flax, chia, and walnuts also contain omega:3.
- Maintain healthy magnesium intake
- Magnesium is a crucial mineral for blood sugar control and an effective remedy for headaches. Swiss chard, spinach, and kale are excellent dietary sources of magnesium.
- Avoid alcohol
- Studies have shown that alcohol is a strong trigger for migraines. Moreover, alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose fluid. The resulting dehydration can cause or worsen headaches.
- Move more
- Exercise helps promote better circulation, which may help reduce migraines. Allocate half an hour a day to something as simple as a brisk walk, and this regular practice can support your health on many levels.
- Add B vitamins
Deficiency in B vitamins can be linked to migraines. These water-soluble vitamins can be found in the liver, seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes, leafy greens, and seeds. Your nutritional therapist can help determine if you need to supplement these complex of vitamins.
- Get a massage
- Massaging specific pressure points may help relieve tension in the head and reduce headaches. Massage also provides a great stress release, allowing your nervous system to take some much-needed relaxation and your muscles to release.
- Try using essential oils
- These highly concentrated liquids with aromatic compounds from plants can help reduce pain. Peppermint or lavender massaged into temples are particularly helpful in alleviating headaches.