Wellness, the advice of the dietician: food follows the hormonal phases

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How do you start thinking more about your well-being? From health, of course. On two main fronts, however: doing something simple right away that gives an immediately perceptible health result (even psychological), but which also pays off in the medium to long term, creating protection over the years. It is science that says that this is possible and that promotes small-large gestures of prevention and self-care. Starting with nutrition, the first self-manageable drug. To then continue with other important attentions, from measuring the pressure to the right integration at the right time. To protect you but also him. And them, your children. Word of those who work to protect others.

The dietician: food follows the hormonal phases

Nothing like nutrition, in women, follows her hormonal cycles, or rather her essence, her femininity. But if we talk about hormones we also involve physical and psychological well-being. “It is essential to take into account their rhythm, and the cycle is the diapason that harmonizes and measures them,” he explains Anna D’Eugeniodistinguished clinical dietitian and lecturer on the subject.

«This measuring stick remains irregular up to the age of 18, settles down up to the age of 45 and then begins to change again, to then cease. And its fluctuations condition everything, from mood to weight, in some women in a marked way, in others less so. Let’s start working on ourselves from here, starting from our rhythms».

The protein phase

In the period from menstruation to ovulation, i.e. the first 15 days of the cycle, certain hormones dominate. “It is a phase in which the woman is much more toned,” explains the expert. “She has the higher estrogen, has a desire to do, the mood is generally good. Many patients say: “since the end of my period I feel much more up”, and this is not only a physical perception, but also a psychological one. At the table, he will have more appetite but also greater control over food consumption and hunger, tending to prefer foods protein to support all this “hunger” for activity».

The “craving” for sweets

In the second phase of the cycle the progesterone, with another kind of sensations. «This hormone remains very high and has a series of metabolic and humoral symptoms», underlines Anna D’Eugenio. «You lose the initial sprint, you are slower, swelling increases, water retention and above all craving for sweet foods as we approach the end of the 28 day cycle, and therefore the drop in progesterone. Close to the new period, studies tell us that the most sought-after sweet is chocolate, but it’s not a desire, it’s a physiological necessity that also has a positive effect on mood”.

Therefore, the first move to do on your own, with an immediate effect on restlessness and the physiological need for sugar, is to enjoy a little chocolate. «Let’s avoid the evening, if you are overweight or have the beginnings of insulin resistance (insulin is the “metabolizer” of sugars), while for breakfast a piece of bitter chocolate is a good tonic without having negative effects on blood sugar, as happens with biscuits or cakes. Cocoa, in pieces or melted in a bain-marie and accompanied by a slice of wholemeal bread is therefore the right choice to start the day. Or, if we prefer a savory breakfast, let’s eat the piece of “black gold” after, but no later than 5 pm», says the expert. This little move will change your day.

The pasta of good rest

It can’t be missing on the table, you know. The strategy with immediate effect (and long-term for the shape weight) is to distribute the pasta differently than usual, bearing in mind that the second phase of the cycle is the one that makes it preferable, together with bread.

“We need to reverse the situation. In the event of a normal weight and before ovulation, pasta can be “played” in the evening, because it is very conducive to sleep”, says the expert. «Instead, carbohydrates should be moved to lunch in the second phase, pay attention to the portions (80 g). If the woman has problems with insomnia during this period, I suggest a plate of cereal grains (spelt, barley, brown rice, buckwheat) and legumes for dinner, which does not disturb blood sugar but greatly helps sleep. There pasta in the eveningtherefore, is more physiological from many points of view in the first phase of the cycle».

It’s incredible how a food and its temporal management can affect something as precious as rest: it’s one of the many proofs of how even small strategies can change our lives immediately and in the long term. In fact, even partial deprivation of rest exposes us to daytime sleepiness, decreased performance and immune defences, but also to weight gain, because leptin, which keeps hunger at bay, decreases, while ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite.

The anti-cellulite kitchen

The world of the youngest is mostly represented by girls with a marked tendency not to pay attention to the quality of the food. «The most common problems in young women are acne, cellulite and unbalanced weight gain; it’s not so much a problem of calories, but of consumption of poor quality foods and sugars» says the expert. «Going back to quality and variety on the table is therefore the first strategy with an immediate effect: we immediately turn to fresh and cooked foods. Cooking food favors digestion, but we alternate raw with cooked».

The skin will improve and a negative weight distribution will be prevented: «Explaining to a girl that if she eats in a certain way she won’t have a slim body only from the navel up and “wide” down is very effective», assures the ‘expert. «The quality of the food, the choice of selected and guaranteed meats, the limited use of salt (which is abundant in preserved foods), will avoid disharmonious female shapes and a typical increase in cellulite, directly caused by food choices». An immediately understandable message for those who will be the decision-makers of tomorrow on the subject of family diet.

The Sunset of Salt

Premenopause and menopause are characterized by the no longer perfect regulation of liquids, dictated by hormonal intemperance until the cessation of the cycle. «The reduction of estrogen gives way to androgens, which have a whole series of visible and invisible effects. It increases the belly of course, but also the shoulders become larger and more masculine», explains the expert.

«To regulate male hormones here is one thing to do now: limit salty foods in the evening meal. There will no longer get up the next morning with swollen eyes and hands, and long-term cardiovascular prevention will be implemented, given the effects of sodium on blood pressure and the absence of estrogen protection for the heart and arteries. At dinner I would avoid meat and cheese, yes to fish, raw vegetables, potatoes and pasta, but only occasionally. Finally the wine: consumed in the evening it gives a particular effect of water retention, which does not happen when the cycle is regular».


Acting now ensures everyone’s tomorrow

“The protection of oneself and one’s loved ones is a fundamental aspect in the life of all of us, but in Italy, unlike other European countries, the culture of protection and the perception of risks is still not widespread”, he explains Massimiliano Dalla ViaChief Executive Officer and General Manager of Intesa Sanpaolo RBM Salute.

“As an insurance company, we know how important and effective it is act preventively and with awareness, in order to reduce the effects of any difficulties, or activate plans to deal with the unexpected and be able to manage complex situations with greater serenity. To improve your well-being, present and future, it is essential to take action early. This is valid both if we refer to the health sector, in which Intesa Sanpaolo RBM Salute specializes, and also for the various aspects of our lives, which can involve the people dear to us, young or old, whom we take care of; the same goes for our goods, our activities, our passions. The protective instinct is innate in each of us; some social experiments of the recent communication campaign that we launched on the Intesa Sanpaolo YouTube channel have also demonstrated this. If we let ourselves be guided by this instinct today, we can do a lot to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the community in the future”.