Premenstrual Syndrome

Annoying days before your peroid- The premenstrual syndrome

Mood swings, headaches, skin blemishes, cravings and weight gain – the second half of the cycle is a real challenge for many women every month. This is triggered by the premenstrual syndrome: PMS for short.

Cause of the PMS

Hormonal fluctuations during the female cycle are thought to play an important role in PMS. In the second half of the cycle, estrogen decreases and the corpus luteum hormone progesterone increases. The breastfeeding hormone prolactin may also be increased. Although women with premenstrual syndrome do not necessarily have altered hormone levels, they may be more sensitive to hormonal changes at different stages of their cycle.
 In addition, an unfavorable diet and lifestyle may favor PMS. These include smoking, caffeine consumption, a diet rich in fat, sugar and salt, as well as insufficient exercise, insufficient sleep and stress.

What are the symptoms of PMS?

PMS can manifest itself in different symptoms. Twenty to forty percent of women experience symptoms such as exhaustion, abdominal pain, skin impurities and cravings, as well as migraine, nausea, tense and pain-sensitive breasts.

Furthermore, water retention in tissues may also be the case. This often shows up on the face, hands, feet and legs, and results in 2-4 extra pounds on the scale.

How to counteract PMS?

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, different treatment options are available. Scientists have found that the symptoms of PMS are absent or significantly alleviated when medications that regulate hormone levels are used. Therefore, hormonal contraceptives are often prescribed because they can suppress the body’s own production of certain hormones. However, since contraceptives can have side effects, alternative herbal remedies as well as changes to diet and exercise can help.

Alternative treatment approaches

The monk’s pepper (agnus castus) is the most promising medicinal plant for PMS. Although the symptoms only appear in the second phase of the cycle, monk’s pepper should be taken daily for at least three months throughout the cycle. A study showed that the intake of monk’s pepper extract significantly reduced symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, headaches and hypersensitive breasts in the subjects.

In addition to monk’s pepper, the lady’s mantle has also been shown to have benefits, which, taken as tea, can relieve cramps. Against depressive moods and for relaxation St. John’s wort is recommended.

Nettle tea is an alternative to pharmaceutical diuretics and acts as a natural diuretic. At the same time, nettle tea is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium and can supplement possible mineral deficiencies.

Exercise can also support the benefits of medicinal plants for PMS. Exercise promotes blood circulation, relieves cramps and alleviates pain. Furthermore, exercise release endorphins, which can have mood-boosting effects. Cardio based activities such as walking, cycling, jogging or swimming are especially effective.

Nutrition – the key to “pain-free days before your period”

If you eat too much fast food and too few vegetables, the body is not supplied with enough vitamins, minerals, trace elements and secondary plant substances, which it urgently needs to be able to produce the hormones in a balanced ratio. This is especially true for the production of progesterone, B-vitamins and vitamin E. Legumes, for example, contain abundant B vitamins and support the production of serotonin. Many important vitamins are best absorbed with unsaturated fatty acids through high-quality cold-pressed oils such as rapeseed oil, flax oil, hemp oil or sea fish. The omega-3 fatty acids can weaken the inflammatory activities that may occur in the second half of the cycle. Furthermore, a deficit of dietary fiber can lead to the estrogen degradation products in the intestine not being bound and excreted. This means that they are released back into the bloodstream, which can lead to estrogen dominance and upset the hormonal balance. Therefore, it makes sense to eat fresh vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains to provide the body with the appropriate vital substances.

Meat and dairy products from animals raised organically are to be preferred in order to avoid an additional hormone load, which may be contained in meat from factory farming. In the second half of the cycle, it is also recommended to abstain from caffeine and alcohol.

Despite conscious nutrition and lifestyle, cravings for sweets can occur from time to time. Since you can’t always resist the temptation, it’s best to reach for a piece of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content – this satisfies the cravings for sweets and can have relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects.

Metabolic Balance and PMS

The Metabolic Balance nutrition plan is designed to ensure that all nutrients and vital substances are absorbed in sufficient quantities and in a balanced ratio. Vegetables, high-quality cold-pressed vegetable oils, sea fish and protein-containing foods cover important vital substances that can contribute to alleviating PMS. Herbs and spices, with their anti-inflammatory essential oils, also have an anti-spasmodic and relaxing effect on the organism.

Even if it sounds a bit paradoxical, water retention can be counteracted with increased drinking of water.

Inflammation

Worldwide, chronic inflammatory diseases have increased considerably in recent years. This is a frightening trend, as it has been shown that there are close links between chronic inflammation and diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke or cancer.

Nutrition plays a key role in this. Our body has a sophisticated immune system that helps it fend off attackers. It is able to fight pathogens and produce anti-inflammatory compounds. In order to support the body, however, we also need to provide it with the right foods and/or ingredients. With the right nutrition, we can help it to get and stay healthy. Conversely, the wrong nutrition can make us sick or at least put additional strain on us.

General dietary recommendations and rules, such as paying attention to weight, eating less fat and sweets, are usually not enough. Healthy eating and lifestyles also include thinking about and rethinking overconsumption and the composition and quality of food. Highly processed foods with plenty of additives, isolated carbohydrates and sugars, low-quality oils and little to no vitamins and minerals – fuel inflammatory processes in the body. 

Natural foods with their colorful mix of vitamins, minerals, secondary plant substances and especially omega-3 fatty acids offer the best protection against inflammation. These can provide excellent help in keeping the body balanced and preventing chronic inflammation.

Often it is small things that alleviate an inflammation or prevent an outbreak at all!

What tips do you have to keep inflammation at bay? We’re looking forward to your comments!

Frozen Food

Deep-frozen food is better than its reputation

Frozen food is an integral part of our diet nowadays. Since the pandemic the percentage of Americans who eat frozen food daily or every few days has increased to almost 40%. This includes ready-made meals and bakery products, but also a lot of vegetables, meat and fish.

This is not surprising, because after all, with frozen food you can quickly conjure up a meal without much effort. Vegetables and fruit do not need to be cleaned, washed or chopped. Whether fish, meat or vegetables: In any case, frozen food has a longer shelf life, is easy to portion and facilitates storage. Nevertheless, frozen food has a bad reputation among many people. According to common opinion, freshly purchased goods are basically the better choice, because freezing damages the taste and, above all, valuable ingredients such as vitamins are destroyed by freezing.

Does freezing damage the ingredients?

Food chemists and nutritionists in Hamburg, Germany investigated the latter objection a few years ago. In a complex study, they investigated how the proportion of healthy ingredients in some vegetable species changed under different storage and processing conditions.

For an optimal comparison, different types of vegetables were harvested at the same time from the same field. Then they were cleaned, washed, chopped and finally stored under different storage conditions. This means that half of the vegetables were blanched and then shock-frozen at minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit. The other half was stored in the refrigerator.

The chemists chose vitamin C as their “freshness marker”, which is considered to be extremely sensitive because, like many other vitamins, it rapidly degrades under the influence of heat, light and oxygen.

The results of the study were clear, i. e. the vitamin C content, e. g. of green beans stored in the refrigerator, decreased by around 70 percent within two weeks. Frozen green beans, on the other hand, still had around 80 percent of the original vitamin C content even after one year. Similar results were also observed for peas and carrots.

Furthermore, the scientists also investigated the content of secondary plant substances, which are also believed to have a health-promoting effect. Green beans, for example, have a high content of quercetin and kaempferol, or carrots have a high content of carotenoids and flavonoids, which protect plants from UV radiation, and in the human body the secondary plant substances are supposed to strengthen the immune system and fight against free radicals.

Again, the study showed that, when stored in the refrigerator, the secondary plant substances were degraded by up to half after only two weeks. In frozen state, a large proportion of these substances could be preserved for over four months.

Keep in mind when deep-freezing!

However, the valuable ingredients are only preserved if the food – be it fruit, vegetables, meat or fish – is shock-frozen as soon as possible. Slow freezing creates large, coarse ice crystals that destroy the cells of the frozen food, causing cell fluid to leak out. As a result, ingredients are lost and the taste and consistency suffer.

Over the years, the industry has developed a wide range of freezing processes, from cold air freezing (-40°F – particularly suitable for berries, peas) to cryogenic methods (sprayed with liquid carbon dioxide or nitrogen and temperatures from -108 to -300°F – suitable for meat, fish and bakery products) to contact freezing (-40°F metal plates – e. g. for fish fillets or cream spinach).

Due to the rapid freezing process, the metabolic processes in the cells are almost completely brought to a standstill. At the same time, only small, fine-grained ice crystals are formed which do not harm the frozen food.

Standard household freezers and freezers with shock-freeze function can reach temperatures of up to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit. The aging process of the cells slows down, but the degradation processes do not stop completely. In other words, they run in slow motion. Therefore, frozen food should in principle not be stored for more than one year.

Keep your eyes open when shopping

While frozen fruits, vegetables, meat and fish can be regarded as healthy, ready-made frozen dishes must be viewed more critically. This is because different foods have a different freezing behavior due to their structure, and the duration of “freezing through” also differs. Therefore, in the laboratory, colorants, flavorings and preservatives as well as flavor enhancers and binders are used to prepare these ready meals in such a way that they still appeal to the consumer after thawing, although they are composed of different ingredients.

What is Metabolic Balance’s position on deep-frozen food?

Metabolic Balance also sees freezing as one of the best ways to preserve food over a longer period of time. Especially when seasonal vegetables and fruits ripen in abundance in the garden, you should make use of it. The low temperatures stop the metabolic processes in the food and thus also the growth of microorganisms. If a few points are observed when freezing, taste and nutrients are also preserved in the home kitchen. In addition, frozen products enable people, who have little time left, to prepare their meals to eat healthily despite the lack of time.

Frozen vegetables sometimes contain even more valuable ingredients than many supposedly fresh products, which in fact often have already been transported a long way.

Useful tips for freezing:

  • Spread berries on a tray and freeze briefly to prevent the berries from sticking together. Store the frozen berries in bags or freezer containers in the freezer.
  • Clean vegetables, wash, cut into bite-sized pieces, blanch and then chill very quickly, preferably with ice water, to preserve vitamins, then freeze immediately.
  • Raw fish should be frozen no later than 24 hours after purchase. Gut fresh fish, clean and freeze briefly, then immerse briefly in cold salt water before final freezing. This gives the fish a protective layer of ice.
  • Slice bread, place parchment paper between each slice, wrap and freeze.
  • Basically, you can also freeze any home-cooked food or leftovers without hesitation. Pre-cooked food should be cooled down quickly, filled into airtight containers, sealed tightly and frozen quickly.

Be aware! Some cooked foods are not suitable for freezing, such as boiled potatoes, casseroles, sauces – especially if they have been prepared with cream.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are often incorrectly referred to as a vegetable when in fact they are part of the berry family. Originating from Central and South America, this fruit started spreading around the globe in the 16th century. In addition to being delicious, tomatoes offer a variety of health benefits. They are rich in the antioxidant lycopene which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. A study from Cornell University even found that cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene content that the body can absorb. The fruit is also rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, as well as potassium and folate. In the kitchen, tomatoes are extremely versatile as they can be eaten raw, roasted, used in salads, sandwiches, sauces and many other dishes. The final weeks of summer are the best time to enjoy this delicious fruit!

Photo: Unsplash

Zucchini

Zucchini or also known as courgettes are a common type of summer squash, related to cucumbers and melons. Although considered a vegetable by many, according to their botanical classification zucchini are actually a fruit. Zucchini are packed full of nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and carotenoids. In the kitchen, zucchini are one of the most versatile fruits! They can be eaten raw, made into zoodles, roasted, used in soups or stir-frys, or even used for baking. The next time you have zucchini, consider trying out a new dish with this great ingredient!

Photo: Unsplash

Transform Mind and Body

With our award-winning program, there are no magic pills, slimming shakes, or proprietary foods. Are you required to keep track of points or count calories? No way! Our all-natural nutrition program will bring balance to your hormones, optimize your health, and lead to a new invigorated lifestyle with successful, long-term weight management. Your personalized nutrition plan acts as your roadmap, indicating exactly which natural foods you should eat. Together with your practitioner, the program will orchestrate the biochemical changes needed for reaching your desired health and wellbeing goals. Are you ready to transform your body and mind and gain extra energy and confidence?

Photo: Metabolic Balance Australia and New Zealand

Meat and Meat Alternatives

Meat and meat alternatives – always worth a discussion!

Many meat lovers love the smell of a grilled steak and often say that nothing beats a good burger. At the same time, many people are trying to reduce their meat consumption either for ethical reasons or environmental concerns. Another reason is that many people are concerned about the impact of meat consumption and especially red meat on their health. Many studies have shown that high meat consumption is partly responsible for many diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or even cancer.

Meat consumption – a health risk?

Scientists have the greatest concerns about “processed meat products”, such as smoked, cured and preservative-treated meat and sausage products, salami, bacon and many more.

Large-scale survey studies conducted by the renowned Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the World Health Organization (WHO) have revealed: Daily consumption of just 50 grams of processed meat products per day (the equivalent of about 3 slices of salami or a small sausage) increases the probability of developing colorectal cancer by 18 percent, cardiovascular diseases by 42 percent and diabetes by 51 percent. Part of the risk does not come from the meat at all, but from the substances added to it or the compounds formed during production. Unprocessed meat such as steaks, cutlet and minced meat products also pose a health risk.

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to generally label all meat as harmful, it can certainly enrich a healthy diet. Meat is extremely high in quality protein, important trace elements and essential vitamins. Additionally, animal proteins such as meat, are considered complete sources of protein as they contain all amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own.

Meat substitutes and meat alternatives in abundance

When it comes to replacing meat, the focus is always on proteins, so that the replacement products look as much like meat as possible and replace their function in a meal. So far, products made from soybeans, tempeh or tofu, are considered to be the most popular meat alternatives. In addition, scientists and product developers have also discovered peas, lupins or field beans as rich sources of protein, and in the production of meat substitutes, these are popular as the basis for burgers and the like.

But that’s not all! Scientists are very creative when it comes to producing “tasty” alternatives to meat. Today, sausages, vegan minced meat or bread spreads – “meat paste” based on fungi – are also available. The fungus Fusarium is grown and then fermented, resulting in a fibrous mycoprotein, which gives the products a meat-like consistency.

One of the most discussed food trends at the moment is undoubtedly synthetic meat, the so-called “in-vitro meat.” It is the result of sophisticated biotechnological techniques. The propagation of stem cells from animals in the laboratory makes it possible to produce meat that is similar to the consistency of real meat from animals. What once seemed impossible is becoming more and more of a reality. At the moment, the high production cost is still a limiting factor of mass producing “in-vitro meat.” However, scientists expect that by 2030 at the latest, the processes will be developed to the point where the price of synthetic meat will be the same as that of animal meat.

How healthy are meat substitutes?

Meat substitutes or meat growing in popularity and not only among vegans or vegetarians. Therefore, it is also important to examine the health aspects of these substitutes. In fact, meat substitutes are highly processed foods whose list of ingredients contains high-quality ingredients. However, during processing, these natural ingredients are broken down and vitamins, minerals and trace elements are lost. It is also unclear to what extent the protein structure changes, and whether these proteins can also be broken down into individual amino acids during digestion.

Since meat substitutes are often broken down to amino acids, it is completely overlooked that meat is one the greatest sources of zinc, in a form readily available to the body. Zinc is a trace element that is indispensable, among other things, for the regulation of insulin and the function of the immune system. This zinc is not found in meat substitutes unless it is added synthetically. However, meat substitutes based on legumes in particular contain, in addition to protein, a higher proportion of carbohydrates, for the optimal metabolization of which zinc would be essential.

What is Metabolic Balance’s position on meat consumption?

Metabolic Balance’s motto on meat consumption is: “The dose makes the poison!” – The vast majority of studies carried out under the aspect – “does meat pose a health risk” – have shown that there is a clear risk to health if there is a high consumption of meat, i. e. more than 500 to 600 g of meat per week. It is also important to keep an eye on the amount of processed meat products (salami, bacon, meat paste, smoked sausages, etc. ) and to reduce them as much as possible. Industrially processed meat products are not integrated into the nutrition plans we create for our clients and clients are coached on appropriate levels of protein for each meal. In addition to reducing meat consumption, we also recommend buying organic and local meat if possible.  

Strawberry

One word that is commonly associated with summer is strawberries! In the summertime, strawberries can be found everywhere, whether at the grocery store, your local farmer’s market, or a farm stand. Strawberries are not only delicious but also offer many health benefits. Strawberries are full of vitamins: they contain many B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, copper and even more vitamin C than oranges or lemons. They are also packed full of fiber and more importantly contain high levels of antioxidants also known as polyphenols. In addition to being healthy and delicious, strawberries are extremely versatile and are perfect for both sweet and savory delicious. Classic pairings with ingredients such as basil, yogurt, and balsamic vinegar can create amazing dishes!

Midday Slump

Lunch without a midday slump: What really helps against the midday slump?

The midday slump after lunch – who doesn’t know it? Tiredness and lack of concentration are often accompanied by cravings. However, it is possible to influence the severity of this lunchtime slump.

Helpful practical tips

  • Drink enough – about 1. 5 liters a day.
  • Pay attention to regular meals – 3 meals
  • Light foods, such as vegetables and salads, combined with protein-rich foods such as fish, meat, eggs or nuts.
  • Sweets are best eaten immediately after the meal.
  • A small digestive walk after the meal at a leisurely pace.

Metabolic Balance App

Many of our clients report being busy! It’s sometimes difficult to juggle work, family activities and cooking healthy meals. Creating a weekly meal plan and shopping list helps you to stay organized and keep to your good intentions at mealtimes.

Our Metabolic Balance App acts as a mobile shopping assistant for you! It’s linked to your personal nutrition plan and food list together with healthy recipe suggestions for your meals.

A clearly-arranged daily plan presents your personalized meal options. On top of that, the required ingredients are conveniently placed in your personal shopping list to make busy lives that little bit easier.

Are you ready to discover a nutritional program as unique as you are? Why not contact your local MB coach today?

Credit: Metabolic Balance Australia and New Zealand