Last week I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Four Sigmatic founder Tero Isokauppila, a Finnish farmer turned entrepreneur who spotlights the benefits of adaptogenic mushrooms and their benefits for improving hormone health.
Tero explains that hormones are a hot topic in the health industry these days, but even the most well read nutritionist has a hard time defining the term. Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the body that carry information to organs and tissues to exert bodily functions and processes such as sleep, digestion and movement. Some of the chemical structures comprising hormones include steroids, amino acids and proteins. Elements that effect hormone imbalance include air, pollution, sunlight, food, sleep and water. A hormone imbalance can lead to a whole host of issues include adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction and weight gain.
Isokauppila argues that we are the first generation of humans that is experiencing degeneration due to stress and consequently, hormone imbalance. As a result, we must prioritize our lifestyle to include better sleep, hydration and diet. He believes that we must approach nutrition with a methodology to make up for a stressful lifestyle that requires us to constantly be on the go, iPhone in hand, stimulated by caffeine.
Tero's solution to the current lifestyle we lead is to use diet and supplementation from adaptogenic mushrooms to help alleviate symptoms of hormone dysfunction and balance out our wellbeing from the inside. He believe that avoiding processed sugar and including healthy fats in the diet like avocado, cacao and olives (in their whole form) can help our hormones function properly. He also emphasizes the significance of keeping our micronutrients in check by consuming vitamin rich plant foods like brazil nuts, dark leafy greens and fruits.
Another important aspect of hormone health is to ensure your gut bacteria is in check by consuming pre and probiotic foods like kombucha, coconut kefir and sauerkraut. Furthermore, adaptogenic mushroom powders like ashwagandha, chaga and reishi are superfoods that work with your body to give it what it needs - they literally adapt to your current state. Consuming these mushrooms in your morning smoothie will give you energy to power through your day, while drinking an almond milk infused tonic at night will get you ready for bed.
Be sure to get a blood test that measures your hormonal health to ensure everything is in balance and working properly, otherwise you may experience side effects like insomnia, digestive issues, mood swings and reproductive issues.
Night Time Tonic
- 1 cup nut milk
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- ½ tablespoon ashwagandha powder
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- In a saucepan heat the milk until very warm but not simmering. On low heat, whisk the cocoa in to the milk along with the turmeric and ashwagandha powder. Once it's completely combined, whisk in the maple syrup until dissolved. Remove from heat, pour into mug and enjoy warm.