7 Tips for a Healthy Summer

FUTURE WOMAN tips for summer

Summer is here! The warmer weather and sunshine is already helping to relax your muscles, boost your immune system and improve your mood.

We all feel a bit better and healthier in summer. But long summer days also bring with them extra snacks, drinks and chemicals that may be messing with your hormones. 

So let’s look at 7 healthy habits to implement this summer to keep those hormones in check.

1. Let the sunshine in (without the toxins)

Endocrine disrupting chemicals

Summer is a great time to absorb Vitamin D from the sunshine, but if we’re spending time outside, we need to be careful about sun exposure and sunscreens.

Most sunscreens include chemicals that may be messing with your hormones. Chemicals such as oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and octocrylene are known endocrine and hormone disruptors. This means they cause disruption to all aspects of hormone health, including hormone production, metabolism and detoxification. 

Oxybenzone, for example, can contribute to symptoms such as heavy, painful periods, irregular periods, low libido, poor sleep and weight gain. In fact some research has suggested that higher levels of oxybenzone in the blood may be linked to increased risk of endometriosis due to its ability to disrupt and mimic the hormone estrogen. 

Another downside to using sunscreen is that it blocks vitamin D absorption. Vitamin D is vital for healthy hormone production and low levels have been linked to fatigue, osteoporosis, low immunity and depression. If you have a genetic SNP or variation on some of your vitamin D genes, you may struggle to absorb all the vitamin D you need. 

Our top tips

  • Take your sun in the mornings and later afternoon. 20 minutes of sunlight before 11am and after 3pm will help to boost your vitamin D levels without burning your skin.
  • Take short bursts of sun. Instead of sitting in the sun for long periods of time or sun bathing, take 5-10 minutes to be out in the sun before moving into the shade again. 
  • Stay in the shade during the hottest times of the day. 
  • Use clothing as your sunscreen or opt for non-toxic sunscreens. We like brands like Pai and Shade or any of the recommended brands on the EWG list.
  • Support your skin health from the inside out, by eating a diet high in good quality fats and antioxidants.

2. Keep it moving!

They say sitting is the new smoking – and we’re all doing way too much of it. Research shows that our hunger and satiety hormones (leptin and ghelin) misfire when we are sitting for too long. Which means we aren’t able to determine if we’re really hungry, or if we’ve had enough to eat. We’re more likely to overeat, leading to disrupted blood sugar and unhappy hormones.

If your usual weekday routine involves sitting for 8 hours at a desk and then walking to the sofa to watch TV for the evening, try to mix it up this summer! 

Our top tips

  • Try to stand up from your desk every 20-30 minutes, even if just to grab a glass of water or go to the bathroom.
  • If you’re working from home or in an office, schedule in some walks around the block.
  • Have a mid week evening adventure! Longer summer nights are a great opportunity to try a new activity, go for a long walk or even drive to a nearby beach or lido for a swim. 
  • Schedule your exercise at the start of the week. Opt for lower intensity options like walking or swimming, particularly if stress levels are high, and incorporate plenty of resistance and strength training as well.

3. Go easy on the booze

Alcohol increases breast cancer risk

You may have heard us say this before – if you have any form of hormone imbalance it is time to say goodbye to alcohol or at the very least reduce your intake.

Alcohol affects our hormone health in numerous ways. It slows down detoxification, worsening PMS, heavy or painful periods. And it can contribute to metabolic disorders which will make PCOS and other hormone imbalances driven by insulin resistance worse. It also increases our risk of breast cancer – according to the research, drinking three to six alcoholic beverages a week increases the risk by 15%, and two glasses of wine daily increases the risk by 50% per cent. 

Our top tips

  • Switch to a hydrating sparkling water and lime. Simple but refreshing. It also supports healthy liver detoxification of your hormones… a win win! 
  • Try an alcohol free alternative like Seedlip or Sentia – they contains no additives and include some great botanical and sometimes therapeutic ingredients.
  • Swap the cocktail for a gut loving kombucha. Just be careful if you have histamine problems or high estrogen, for example if you are in early perimenopause. 
  • If you are drinking alcohol, consume plenty of water in between drinks and opt for lower alcohol alternatives.

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4. Stay hydrated

It sounds simple, but you cannot overestimate the power of being properly hydrated during the summer time. And trust us your hormones with thank you for it! 

During the summer months, our body temperature is raised and we are likely to sweat more. Sweating is actually very beneficial for our bodies and helps to remove toxins which in turn helps to support hormone health. But it is important to replace that water we lost through sweating. 

Water supports healthy cell function, improves memory and cognition, aids the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream and it supports hormone detoxification through the liver.

Our top tips

  • Start the day with a glass of water – your cells are more receptive to water before 11am. 
  • Avoid plastic water bottles which are endocrine disrupting. Invest in a glass water bottle instead.
  • Aim for at least 1.5 -2 litres daily and increase this when working out or sweating more. 
  • Add some electrolytes (or a pinch of salt) to your water bottle, to aid in the cellular uptake of water into your cells. We love the brand LMNT.
  • Try to sip your water consistently rather than gulping down a lot at once. This can overwhelm the kidneys and result in water moving too quickly through the body without being absorbed. 

5. Don't forget about sleep!

When the nights are longer, it can be easy to skip proper sleep. But sleep is so important for our hormones! Ideally we need 7-9 hours to support our blood sugar and hormones.

Sleep can stabilise your HPA and HPO axes, the communication systems that tells your hormones what to do and it reduces cortisol. It support blood sugar balance and boost your metabolism. And it regulates the release of key sex hormones such as the luteinising hormone, estrogen and progesterone.

Our top tips

  • Avoid caffeine. Or stick to just 1 cup of coffee before 11am. 
  • Take 10 deep belly breaths before going to sleep each night.
  • Practise good sleep hygiene – get up and go to bed at the same time every day, avoid phones and computers 2 hours before bed.
  • Keep your room as cool and dark as possible.
  • Try supplementing with magnesium glycinate before bed. Magnesium is great for supporting sleep, mood and energy and the glycine is also calming.

6. Enjoy an ice cream (without the blood sugar spike)

FUTURE WOMAN ice cream

We love a cooling ice cream on a hot day as much as the next person! But conventional ice creams are full of synthetic flavourings, additives and seed oils which can disrupt your hormone health. And they’re also full of sugar, which can disrupt blood sugar balance leaving you feeling tired and irritable.

Here are some tips to help make that ice cream hormone friendly and blood sugar balancing.

Our top tips

  • Eat your ice cream after a balanced lunch or dinner. This will ensure that the protein and fats from your main meal help to curb the blood sugar spike from the ice cream. 
  • Ditch the dairy if you have high estrogen symptoms like heavy and painful periods. Opt for some delicious dairy free alternatives like almond milk or coconut ice creams. Read more about the 3 causes of period pain.
  • Make your own! Making your own delicious ice cream at home is super easy. Make your own sorbet by blitzing your favourite fruit together in a blender with some yoghurt or coconut milk. Or blend some frozen bananas with nut butter and a little nut milk for a delicious ice cream alternative. 

7. Socialise!

Spending time with friends and family is fun but also important for our health. Research shows that loneliness can increase the odds of early death by a massive 26%. This makes it a higher risk to our health than obesity, and a similar risk to smoking. 

Socialising can significantly reduce our stress levels. And lower stress levels are important for keeping our reproductive hormones in balance.

Our top tips

  • Prioritise spending quality time with friends and family.
  • Join a group exercise class, group activity or team sport.
  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Take control of your hormones this summer

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