We all know as a Mom, well there is no such thing as a sick day. You are by no means allowed to decide that you are not doing today because you are not feeling yourself. We all know that there are illnesses that make us feel the way we do, but if you are feeling off colour for a while, here are a few things that you should keep in mind as they are not the normal things that we would consider.
- Are your Hormones in Check?
- Have you checked your Iron levels?
- Don’t forget about Magnesium!
- The Gut is where most problems start so take care of your Gut health!
Cortisol – Low levels of Cortisol can leave you feeling shattered and you may find that you are more inclined to gain weight. To keep your Cortisol levels in check, it is a good idea to try and get in 3hrs of exercise a week, especially Cardio or Weight training.
Melatonin – This is your sleep promoting hormone, it also counteracts stress levels and helps to break down free radicals in our body. Due to its amazing ability to act as an antioxidant, low levels of melatonin have been linked to Diabetes, Cancer as well as Obesity.
Thyroid – if you are feeling incredible fatigued, often constipated or constantly cold it is a good idea to have your thyroid checked. A hormone imbalance in your thyroid gland can cause you to feel awful.
Ovaries – These little babies are not only necessary for reproduction, but for Oestrogen, Progesterone and a small amount of Testosterone. All of these hormones play a vital role in the way we feel and our sex drive. The problem is that they have to work together like a beautiful well timed waltz, if one of them is out of balance it will leave your hormones looking like they are Rock and Rolling, leaving you feeling quite the same, (up in the air, sliding along the floor and then shaking from side to side)
Serotonin – Is partially responsible for your mood and memory, it is our feel good drug in our bodies. It is also responsible for helping us to multi task. Serotonin is mostly produced in the gut and requires carbs in order for our bodies to make Serotonin. If you are on a low carb diet and find yourself feeling down in the dumps, unusually grumpy, depressed or experiencing unusual obsessive behaviour, it could be that you are not producing enough Serotonin. Try eating more yoghurt or bananas to increase your Tryptophant amino acids which are the carbs needed to product Serotonin.
Iron is a mineral found in every cell in our body. It is vital for our physical and mental health. Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, it increases your immune system and helps with energy production. So if you find yourself feeling really tired and lethargic, or with an inability to concentrate and a drastic drop in your body temperature, it might be time to get those iron levels checked. The problem with Iron is that our bodies cannot produce iron, it has to be ingested. If you are not getting enough iron rich foods and suffer from heavy menstrual periods, then there is a large chance that you are suffering from an Iron Deficiency. Vitamin C is also very important to consider if you are suffering from low iron levels as vitamin c aids in the absorption of iron. Another thing to keep in mind is that although you may be getting your fair share of iron rich foods, there are many foods that inhibit the absorption of iron for example tea, red wine and some dietary fibre. It is also a good idea to take an Iron supplement at that time of the month, to ensure that your iron levels remain stable.
Magnesium is one of those minerals that we very seldom think of, or know very little about, but low magnesium levels could be the reason that you are suffering with anxiety, muscle cramps, skin problems, bad circulation, headaches, poor sleep patterns, or an aching body. The problem with magnesium is that it is very difficult to check the levels as only about 1% of your magnesium will be found in the blood. The best way to ensure that your magnesium levels remain where they should be, is to cut down on the phosphates in your diet, especially the ones found in dark coloured carbonated drinks, as they actually bind with the magnesium and stop absorption. You may be eating a well-balanced meal, but if you are eating it with a soda, you are flushing the magnesium straight out of your system. Look out for refined sugars as they can cause the body to excrete magnesium. The more of these items you have, the more lightly it is that you may be magnesium deficient. Other things that play havoc on your magnesium levels are stress, tea, coffee, alcohol, birth control pills. Magnesium will also assist with the absorption of calcium, improve your mood and memory. It can improve heart health and prevent strokes and obesity. It will aid in better sleep, relax your nervous system, strengthen your muscles, bones and teeth. Magnesium helps to alkalize the body, relieve constipation and will enhance insulin secretion. So how to increase your Magnesium levels: You can include kelp, almonds, cashews and buckwheat to your diet. You can buy a transdermal magnesium oil, (these you can get from your health shop or Dischem for around R100.00. It is great to rub it on your feet before you go to bed to help you have a good night’s sleep. Another great way to increase your magnesium levels is to have a 20 – 30 minute Epsom Salt bath. A really nice bath soak is equal parts of Epsom Salts and Sea Salt, 5ml of Vanilla Extract and a few drops of essential oils like lavender or jasmine. Epsom Salts are a great thing to add to your kids bath too as it will help them to relax and sleep. Kiddy-Calm is an amazing magnesium sulphate bubble bath salt for kids. You can find them at www.theriffic.co.za.
The gut is like your bodies second brain. There are so many things that wreak havoc in our digestive systems daily. This causes a major in balance which can cause stomach issues as well as mental issues. By improving your gut health, you can improve your mood, memory, and immune system. It will assist in your vitamin and mineral absorption, stabilise your hormones and aid in digestion as well as eliminating toxins. So if you are feeling anxious, depressed, suffering from abdominal pain, bloating after eating, reflux, headaches, fatigue, joint pain and a low immune system, it could all be linked to your gut. In order to increase your gut health, you will have to ensure that your beneficial and harmful bacteria levels are balanced. There are a few main causes for the in balance in bacteria: yeast, antibiotics, medication and parasites. In order to begin to stabilise things use the 4R’s REMOVE-bad bacteria; REPAIR-good bacteria; RESTORE-the gut health and balance; REPLACE-all of the things that are responsible for your in balance. Never forget that you are what you eat and daily Probiotics are vital.
To recap to ensure that you are on top of your game, take a multi vitamin to ensure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals that your body requires. Take a daily probiotic. Have an Epsom Salt bath once a week. Get your Hormone and Iron levels checked, don’t forget about your zinc as this is essential for male and female sex hormone production, eat a healthy balanced diet and try and get enough sleep.
Always remember that if you are pregnant or have health issues, it is best to consult your doctor first. These are recommendations by a non medical professional