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5 Treats That Boost Your Hormone Health (or At Least Won’t Mess With It) Who doesn’t need to buy themselves a little treat now and then? Apparently no one. Researchers in the UK recently made retail therapy a scientific fact (1). Spending on yourself really does help beat the blues. Sorry to sprinkle some harsh reality granules on this sweet confection of shopaholic science. But I’ve got to. I’m the hormone hawk. Some of the treats you buy to cheer yourself up such as sparkly cosmetics – parabens and plastics, hello - or frothy coffee drinks can boomerang back at you by sabotaging your hormones. So you’ll feel all perky and fab with buyer’s buzz. But once that juicy wad of chewing gum loses its flavor, you’re still stuck with your muffin top, disrupted sleep, flat sex drive and whacked out mood because you’re lovely lady hormones are running on empty and the evil Lord Cortisol has seized control. So what if you could give yourself treats that besides buyer’s buzz also treated your girls right? Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. Besides being a Harvard-trained GYN who specializes in women’s hormonal health, I am my own lab animal. I’ve been biohacking my own hormones for a few years now. I’ve masterminded what little indulgences I can ply myself with that will make me feel good, not guilty. 1. Hot New Yoga Outfit. Are you like me? Do cool cute new exercise clothes psych you to work out? If you’ve thought about trying yoga, seal the deal by buying yourself a fabulous yoga outfit. You’ve got great options to choose from with stores totally focused on workout wear like Lululemon, Athleta, Title IX and See Jane Run. Need extra motivation? A recent study reported that obese women who followed a mindfulness program that included yoga for four months lost belly fat. (2) 2. Green Tea Latte (Unsweetened!). L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, lowers anxiety and improves attention and memory. (3) It has also been shown clinically to reduce the physical and psychological effects of stress.(4) Ask for it unsweetened. The chains use a soy milk that’s all preloaded with sugars, and soy is a common food that causes intolerance and inflammation – as I discussed with JJ last week. (Listen to the conversation right here.) 3. Massage. Spa time! Opt for a massage. Ditch any concept of massage as only a luxury “feel good” splurge with no real health benefits. To the contrary, massage is a type of hands-on healing that helps you unwind, lowers blood pressure, promotes muscle relaxation and boosts your immune system. Big bonus: a recent study reports that massage lowers the biyatch hormone cortisol by about a third and raises the levels of happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. (5) Yay. 4. Organic Cosmetics. Don’t mean a thing without that black and white bag bling? It’s all good. Sephora says keep your peepers peeled for their green seal. It means beauty products made with antioxidants, botanicals, essential oils, fruit extracts, marine bioactives, minerals, and vitamins and no parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic dyes or synthetic fragrances. For edgier hardcore organic options check out the cosmetic aisles at natural foods stores – you just might fall in love with what you find. And it will be your beauty secret. 5. Bamboo Sheets. Sleep is magic… your best beauty treatment ever because it’s when most of your repair occurs. Shuteye shoots happy healthy hormones into your cells that make you glowingly gorgeous. Beckon yourself to the bedroom (and your sweetie too for an extra yummy oxytocin boost) with sweet new sheets. Go for a sensuous sustainable bamboo set in a soothing delicate shade; not a wild print. Save that for the throw pillows. Donate old sheets to an animal shelter or wildlife hospital. References
- Retail therapy: A strategic effort to improve mood Psychology & Marketing Volume 28, Issue 6, pages 638–659, June 2011
- Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study Journal of Obesity Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 651936, 13 pages doi:10.1155/2011/651936
- Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol . 2007;74(1):39-45.
- Park SK, Jung IC, Lee WK, et al. A combination of green tea extract and l-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Med Food . 2011;14(4):334-343.
- Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413.