An Ayurvedic Recipe for a Vibrant, Sexy Life: Detoxification, Food and Relaxation
Hormones play a critical role in the lives of women. From their impact on our mood, reproductive health and overall wellness to the critical role they play in maintaining a healthy libido, women’s quality of life is improved dramatically when our hormones are balanced, according to New York Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Doctor Somesh Kaushik. A balanced diet, sound sleep, adequate oxygen and intentional relaxation all play an important part in creating this delicate balance. Natural Awakenings recently sat down with Kaushik to find out what steps women can take to create a healthier, more vibrant life.
Nutrients and Keeping Toxins Out of the Body
When it comes to nutrition, women require more nourishment than men for reproduction and are generally more vulnerable to life’s stressors, says Kaushik. These stressors include dealing with children, managing a household and working outside of the home.
“Women require more of certain nutrients, especially calcium,” says Kaushik. He suggests getting this vital nutrient from food instead of supplementation if at all possible, recommending a daily smoothie, which is easily absorbed by the body. One particularly nutritious recipe starts with kale (for the liver and calcium) and includes blueberries (antioxidants), avocados (fat for hormones), almonds (protein), flax (omegas and fatty acids) and stevia or dates (enzymes and fiber) for sweetness. Optional smoothie add-ins Kaushik suggests are ginger (detoxifying), mint (important hormone balancer) and bitter chocolate (for stress, frustration and anger). While bananas are a popular ingredient in smoothies, Kaushik advises that women avoid them, offering papaya, pineapple, pomegranate and mango as alternatives. Tumeric is another ingredient Kaushik recommends with gusto. “Anytime you can add turmeric to something, do it,” he says. Add water to the smoothie ingredients, blend and enjoy.
While no one is safe from the toxins in household cleaners, women usually take the brunt of it, carrying the additional contaminants from cosmetics and body products absorbed by their skin. Kaushik suggests that women become aware of what they are putting on and in their bodies. He says, “Anything that you would not put in your mouth, do not put on your body. Eventually, it all goes to the same place—your blood stream—and gets absorbed.”
Power Foods: Fat, Fish and Asparagus
Since our bodies make all of our sex hormones from cholesterol, a balanced diet includes plenty of healthy fats, notes Kaushik. To get a healthy dose of these fats he recommends consuming ghee, olive oil, sesame oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fish that are smaller than 10 inches. Mercury toxicity can be a problem with larger fish, Kaushik says, noting the close correlation between heavy metals and breast cancer. Eating these healthy fats provides the body with adequate levels of the hormone precursor (cholesterol), allowing our bodies and libidos to function as they should.
Kaushik recommends sautéing fish with a lot of ginger, turmeric and mustard, “Ginger especially detoxifies the effects of mercury,” he says. Mint, onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric and mustard can all be blended together to season fish and further reduce toxin absorption. Then serve with a squeeze of lemon.
One of the most beneficial foods that women can eat is asparagus, advises Kaushik. Known as Shatavari in Ayurveda, which literally means "the one with one hundred husbands," asparagus is important for keeping the hormones balanced and should be consumed by women every day and in every season if possible. To avoid monotony, add cooked Shavatari to salads, sauté it, or serve the vegetable with a healthy dip, ideally one containing turmeric.
Deep Breathing and Relaxation
In addition to getting enough good nutrition and detoxing, the mind-body connection is a critical component of optimum health, well-being and balanced hormones. Kaushik recommends meditation and deep breathing to keep this connection in check. Oxygen deficiency is a common problem for women. “As we grow older, we don’t use 100 percent of our lungs so deep breathing is really, really important,” he says. He recommends participating in 15 to 20 minutes of deep breathing in the morning and again before bed.
“Deep breathing for at least 10 minutes before bed will help you get a good sleep. And good sleep is extremely important,” explains Kaushik, “and if you don’t relax, it will make you age really fast. So make sure you relax every morning.”
Dr. Somesh Kaushik’s Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic is currently taking new clients in White Plains and NYC. For more information, call 646.670.6725 or visit DrKaushik.com.