“I am neither a God nor a Guru. I am not a healer or a doctor or a cult leader. I am Luke Coutinho and I practice in the field of Integrative Lifestyle Medicine and Life Coaching”, reads Luke Coutinho’s website. But we have all at some time or the other, heard success stories of his wellness tips, listened to his lives or read up his many advice. “When one hears the word “medicine”, one immediately thinks of the pharmaceutical world, allopathy, chemotherapy, radiation, antibiotics, and other drugs used by conventional doctors and medicine. I am not a practitioner of Alternative Medicine either”. So who is Luke Coutinho and what does he do that people rave about so much?
Luke Coutinho’s Holistic Healing focuses on integrative and preventive medicine, disease, and coaching. His team of professionals from various fields of health, medicine, and alternative medicine practice together as a team in a holistic way. Designed on the foundation of integrative and preventative health care using lifestyle, the ecosystem consists of medical doctors, nutritionists, clinical dietetics, emotional counselors, lifestyle experts, yoga therapists, and elite trainers.
Luke’s treatments work towards identifying the root cause of a particular health condition and helps people suffering from lifestyle-driven illnesses to reduce their pain and improve their quality of life. He uses nutrition, medication, changes in lifestyle, and improvements in emotional wellness, sometimes alternative medicine like Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Yoga with conventional medicine. The team has a holistic way of working with the patient and focuses on the individual as a whole rather than a disease in isolation.
Here are three things Luke Coutinho advises for women’s health
Nutrition for Vaginal Health
It is usual for girls or women to notice changes in their vagina, be it physical changes like developing pubic hair, the occurrence of UTIs, painful periods, dryness or problems with incontinence after menopause or childbirth. Many healthy lifestyle changes can help address this problem and make your life much more pleasant and comfortable.
One thing is for sure; the taboo surrounding vaginal health must be addressed, so let’s talk about it!
The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. It connects the uterus to the outside world and is a vital organ, as it plays a role in sexual pleasure and is capable of bringing forth life. But, with age comes vaginal changes.
Foods play an essential role in maintaining the pH balance, and some of the best foods for vaginal health are:
- Cranberries: Cranberries are rich in PACs (proanthocyanidins), a type of plant compound that makes the bladder slippery (and therefore more resistant) to coli, the bacteria that are linked to the most common type of urinary tract infection.
- Avocados: Avocados are ample in healthy fats, vitamin B-6, and potassium, all of which have positive effects on the libido. This fruit can enhance lubrication, strengthen vaginal walls, and may even increase the chances of IVF due to its good fat content. You can include this creamy fruit in your salad, sandwiches or smoothie!
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes have vitamin A, which helps in building stronger, healthier vaginal walls, reducing the risk of miscarriage during pregnancies. They are also a good source of magnesium, which reduces inflammation in blood vessels, improving blood circulation and reducing bodily stress.
- Soy and Soy Products: Soy can be a bit of a controversial topic, but the phytoestrogens (compounds that mimic estrogen in the body) found in soy are good news for vaginal health, especially in people with reduced estrogen levels.
A balanced vaginal pH needs to stay in the range of 3.8 – 4.5, which is acidic. The moment it strays out of balance for too long, bacteria have a chance to thrive and cause discomfort or Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
Seed Cycling for PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
With the increasing number of cases of PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in young girls, menopausal symptoms in women and increasing issues of infertility due to Hormonal imbalance, women have started trying all sorts of diets and exercises. Seed cycling is one of the processes tried by many women to help with hormonal correction, regularize periods and alleviate menopausal symptoms.
When you try to find research on the benefits of seed cycling, there are not many scientific papers available. Although in my practice, I have seen many cases where seed cycling has actually worked in improving the condition of my patients. But of course, it’s always an integrated approach when it comes to lifestyle along with adding superfoods.
So what exactly is seed cycling and how does it work?
Seed cycling is a naturopathic approach of having 4 seeds – Flaxseeds, Sesame seeds, Pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds on a rotational basis during the period cycle. The seeds are divided into two groups. Flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds are to be had in-ground form during the follicular phase. Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds are to be had in ground form during the luteal phase.
For women with irregular periods, in order to keep a track of cycle days, it’s advised to follow the phases of the moon with the first day of the cycle on the new moon day. The reason being our body was in sync with the Lunar cycle before the artificial light surrounded us. Women are supposed to be highly fertile around the full moon and the fertility is less around the new moon.
Apart from balancing the hormones in PCOS, research has shown that flaxseeds help to reduce androgen levels (male hormone) which are the causative factor of hirsutism (facial hair) in some females. For post-menopausal women, seed cycling helps to reduce the symptoms of hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Factors To Help With Natural Conception
Today IVF has become something that is just sold to women. In my practice, I have come across cases where they haven’t even given the woman a chance and time of 2-3 months to work on her health and try for natural conception. Fear is put inside their mind – you are getting older, it’s going to get more and more difficult, so here is IVF.
That needs to stop at some point. We should be giving a fair chance to women like there should be a checklist that you do x, y, z and if you still cannot get pregnant, then IVF is definitely an option. Here are pointers for your checklist which you need to work upon to help you with natural conception:
- Vitamin D – there is enough research that shows the correlation of vitamin D3 with infertility. Today one in three men and women have low levels of vitamin D3. It’s important for bone health and calcium absorption but there are vitamin D3 receptors in your uterus, in your ovaries, testes, in the placenta. Vitamin D3 has a role in turning genes on and off. If the levels are low, this can be one reason why you are not able to get pregnant. Start looking at Vitamin D3 levels 3-6 months before you start thinking about having a baby. You need to make sure your Vitamin D3 levels are on track. Don’t overdo it because it can cause toxicity, follow moderation. Levels should not go above 100 ng/ml. Check Vitamin D3 levels and take necessary action. Sunlight helps with Vitamin D3 production in the body. If you cannot get it via sunlight, can include some fortified foods. If not, then can take a supplement but that is on your doctor to decide for you. But remember low vitamin D3 levels can be a reason you are not able to conceive.
- Hormonal Balance – An imbalance of hormones also decreases your chances to conceive. Today most women have high prolactin levels because of stress. Higher the prolactin levels, the more infertile you will be. You need to get the hormones checked and work on them naturally. Stress also causes an increase in cortisol which leads to a decrease in testosterone levels in men which affects the sperm count. The beauty of the human body is when the hormones are in sync, there is an increased chance for you to conceive.
- Stress – There is a direct connection between stress and your ability to conceive. When the body is chronically stressed, it will not allow you to conceive the right Nurturing of a child within you is the last thing your body wants to do as it perceives any kind of stress. You can see that in your hormones fluctuating all over. Women will have high prolactin levels. Men will have low testosterone levels which will cause low sex drive or erectile dysfunction. One of the best ways to reduce the high levels of prolactin is by reducing stress. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, exercise, eating the right way, and getting the right amount of sleep. When you bring down the prolactin levels, you allow the other hormones in the body to operate the right way.
- Nutrition – Women are given folic acid supplements 3-6 months prior to pregnancy as it is an important vitamin for child growth and for conception. Good quality protein, zinc, iron, calcium, dietary fiber are few more nutrients of importance for natural conception. Include whole grains, pulses, and legumes, green leafy vegetables, seasonal fruits, nuts, and seeds in your daily diet.
The above are excerpts from Luke Coutinho’s Blogs. To read the full article, you can click here.