We interviewed Marta León, a hormonal health specialist who will give us clues about how our body works at a hormonal level and how the use of haramaki during menstruation can help us.
"A cup of turmeric latte and a well-placed haramaki can be key to preserving uterine heat, relieving discomfort and improving our menstrual experience."
Let's start with a little bio: where are you from, what did you study, what has been your professional career and what are you currently doing.
My name is Marta León and my story begins on a farm in the Mediterranean.
I am a chemical engineer specialized in nutrition and female hormonal health. I studied Naturopathic Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zaragoza, later Food, Nutrition and Public Health at the National School of Health of the Carlos III Health Institute of Madrid and Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of Barcelona.
I have written two books (Al Encuentro de la Maternidad and Feminine nutrition and health. Take care of your hormones by eating rich) and I love to spread the word about hormonal health in congresses, conferences and workshops. A few years ago I created @foodgreenmood , an Instagram community with thousands of women, focused on food and cyclicity. And for more than a decade, I have been accompanying women in their desire to care for and pamper their hormones through diet and lifestyle changes.
Well, the truth is that it was a bit by accident. I got into this world of women's health and cycling because I was very curious about my own cycles. I have never had a very painful period, but I have always been interested in what happens in our bodies: how what we eat or what we are exposed to, is transformed into biochemistry.
There came a time when I realized that I had to share everything that I had been researching and learning for years (because we know very little about this subject). First I was sharing it with women in my inner circle and later through the consultation, my talks or my Instagram community.
If I had been born a man, I would surely dedicate myself to men's health, haha because in the end what led me to dedicate myself to what I do is curiosity and the desire to want to better understand our biological processes.
What role do hormones play in our lives?
Well, they play a fundamental role because they are involved in almost everything. I like to say that they sneak into all corners and manifest themselves both in our way of thinking and in our way of digesting, managing stress or living. And it is true, something that many women do not know is that our hormones have a behavioral effect on our lives and in addition to making us feel better or worse during our menstruation, they will contribute to our desire to socialize or to be alone and calm.
What do they ask you the most?
What I usually see in the consultation are menstrual imbalances (women with menstrual pain, PCOS, endometriosis or premenstrual syndrome), I also see many women who are seeking pregnancy and want to take care of their diet to optimize their fertility, also pregnant women and even women who want to make a good transition to the climacteric.
How do you approach a therapy or session?
Well, taking a tour of customs, previous diets, foods that may not be agreeable to us, possible ailments related to food, I review analytical tests and delve into the vital context of each woman to begin the work plan.
What role do social networks play in women's health?
Today, social networks not only entertain, but also teach us.
In social networks there are many popularizers sharing very valuable information that 15 years ago was not as accessible as it is now. Social networks can be an inspirational tool to get to know each other better, yes, as long as I make sure that the person who provides me with the information is really a professional who speaks from scientific evidence. 😉
Tell us about your experience with a Happy Belly haramaki
I really am delighted. And I am not exaggerating anything. I love it because it not only picks up my lower abdomen but also because of the containment it provides. It does not tighten anything but it maintains a very pleasant hold that is great when you are on your period. And what I like the most is that it helps to preserve the heat in the area and this is more important than many people think, when women menstruate it is convenient for us to keep the entire region of the ovaries warm and with the haramaki the truth is which is achieved for as long as you wear it.
How do you approach the experience of the rule?
I always try to share both with my patients and through social networks that the period is a physiological process that is part of the menstrual cycle and as such, in general we must live it with total normality. It may seem like a no-brainer, but we don't always live it that way.
In Spain, there is still a stigma associated with menstruation that relegates this process to invisibility.
It is true that for some women menstruation is accompanied by intense pain. And when this happens, experiencing menstruation becomes difficult. As a society we should make this pain visible and stop normalizing it, because it can be associated with endometriosis that has not yet been diagnosed.
What problems are most common?
In the consultation what I find most are menstrual cycle alterations, either with women who do not menstruate every month, either because they have PCOS or because they experience hypothalamic amenorrhea and also dysmenorrhea (that is, intense menstrual pain) with or without associated endometriosis. I'm not sure if our generation has more problems than our mothers' or grandmothers' generation (perhaps our lifestyle doesn't help), or is it that now we detect problems earlier instead of suffering them in silence.
And to say goodbye, the health advice that always works?
I really like to recommend the turmeric latte. An anti-inflammatory drink that is great for when we have menstrual pain or simply when we feel a little bloated. It is prepared with cow's or vegetable milk, in 1 minute.
A cup of this drink and a well-placed haramaki can be key to preserving uterine heat, relieving discomfort and, ultimately, improving our menstrual experience.