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Certified holistic nutritionist Amera Musleh believes in science-based nutrition. She shares with us how nutrition can support kids going back to school as well as women looking to improve their hormone health.

How can parents support their kids in doing well at school through nutrition?

An excellent way of supporting children in school through nutrition is ensuring they are getting adequate amounts of healthy fats and antioxidants such as vitamin C. It’s quite common that healthy fats such as omega 3 and DHA are missing from a child’s typical diet. However, DHA and brain health go hand in hand, especially in infancy and moving into childhood. Healthy fats along with antioxidant-rich foods including vitamin C work to support the immune system before cold and flu season kicks into the school year. Eating the right type of food is just as important as avoiding the wrong types of food; children should avoid highly processed foods with significant amounts of refined sugars, additives, food colouring, and preservatives.

You say you believe in “science-based nutrition”. What kind of indicators show you that the health benefits of any given food are “science-based”?

There is a lot of circulating information in the health world and it’s important to make a distinction between factual evidence and misconceptions. Conveying health-related information is a responsibility that I take seriously. As a nutritionist, I want to help individuals make the best choices to achieve an optimal state of health for themselves and their families. With that being said; my expectation of science-based nutrition is the analysis and reporting of a series of studies and tests conducted by qualified professionals all proving the same results. This involves several consistent scholarly articles and studies demonstrating evidence-based research that was used to conclude their health findings.

What does it mean to have “imbalanced hormones”?

It is a normal part of a woman’s life to have hormonal fluctuations especially during phases of pregnancy, puberty, post-pregnancy, and menopause. However, having a hormonal imbalance involves a disruption of normal levels and ratios between hormones being produced by the body. This imbalance is associated with symptoms such as increased inflammation, disruptions in ovulation, infertility, painful or irregular periods, hot flashes, acne, and alterations in mood and stress levels.

What are most women missing when it comes to hormone health?

There are two important aspects to hormone health that are often overlooked. This includes the importance of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats and the role they play in healthy ovulation. Both fats and carbohydrates are often misunderstood to be unhealthy sources of nutrition; as a result, they are often avoided.

Is fertility something that can be supported through lifestyle?

Everyone’s fertility journey is unique, and in some cases, there are some anatomically related fertility challenges that cannot necessarily be addressed through lifestyle changes. However, many women experiencing fertility challenges can make lifestyle changes to address hormonal imbalances. This can be practiced through the process of consistent exercise, supporting detoxification, supplementation, acupuncture and being consistent with a healthy diet, which a lot of the time involves balancing blood sugar.

What’s one thing every woman could do to improve her hormonal health?

My top strategy for all women for hormone balance is stress management. A woman can practice a healthy diet and exercise and still have a hormone imbalance as stress can severely impact hormones. I would suggest finding the best stress-relieving daily ritual, whether it be a massage, a better night of sleep, or reading a book with a warm latte. Being consistent with self-care is a priority in balancing hormones.