May Newsletter

Please take a look at our recent monthly newsletter, giving you an update on the Practice and links to our two latest blogs which focuses on ways to improve your mood and ways to balance your hormones. You can also access the job description to our current vacancy here, too.

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10 ways to Improve your mood

1)     Gratitude journaling – the practice of gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness according to positive psychology research. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, savour good experiences, improve their health, deal with stress, and build strong relationships.

2)     Savouring – By relishing and consciously taking pleasure in life you are able to gain the maximum amount of satisfaction and enjoyment from your current circumstances.

3)     Eating mood boosting foods: –

4)    Movement – exercising regularly boosts the production of endorphins, the feel-good hormones therefore improving your mood.

5)    Hug a family member – hugging increases the production of oxytocin, one of the happiness hormones and creates connection.

6)    Watch something funny – There is a reason for the saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Laughter actually strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, reduces pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. It can inspire hope and create connection if you share the laughter with others.

7)    Sing – Singing has been proven to boost mood by releasing endorphins and therefore reducing stress levels.

8)    Phone a friend for a chat – Connecting with others can give your mood a boost and reduce your stress levels.

9)    Get sufficient sleep – getting a good night’s sleep can contribute to a happier and more positive mood. Starting your day feeling refreshed helps you feel more energised and grateful for the day ahead.

10)     Water is hugely important for our bodies to function properly – and even the smallest amount of water loss can be detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing. Dehydration can also affect our ability to concentrate so make sure you are drinking regularly throughout the day.

10 Ways to Balance Your Hormones

Hormones work synergistically and when one is out of balance others can be affected. For instance, when our stress hormones are high, it can affect our thyroid gland, our digestive system, our sex hormones and the way our body handles sugar.  Hormones can affect us at any stage of life bringing on a host of symptoms like PMS, headache, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia and the list goes on. The good news is a few tweaks to our food choices and lifestyle can help support and bring us back in balance:

1. Keep your blood sugar levels balanced – Do you eat a lot of processed, refined, sugary foods and consume high alcoholic and soft drinks? If yes, then it is likely your hormones that affect blood sugar levels are out of balance. The peaks and troughs you get after eating these foods and drinks leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued. Diets high in sugar and refined carbs have been shown to drive insulin resistance. An imbalance of hormones can also lead to cravings, weight issues, low mood, brain fog and poor sleep. Eating complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains – brown rice, quinoa, lentils and sweet potato are ideal as these foods are rich in nutrients and release their sugars slowly into our blood stream having a positive difference to your overall health.

2. Eat good quality fats – healthy fats are essential to hormonal, cellular, heart, and brain health. We need nutritious fats to help us absorb key vitamins A, D, E and K. However, not all fats are created equally – highly processed and baked cakes, pastries, and vegetables oils such as sunflower oil can be damaging to our health and interfere with our hormones therefore, are best avoided. My favourite sources include olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, avocado, walnuts and flaxseeds.

3. Eat Hormone Balancing foods – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and flaxseeds are rich in phytoestrogens which can regulate levels of oestrogen in the body. They can be extremely helpful in reducing menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes as well as PMS. Seeds are also high in healthy fats and magnesium otherwise known as ‘natures relaxant’ which is important to keep the stress hormone cortisol in check. You can sprinkle these on salads, porridge and add them to your smoothies.

4. Eat fresh brightly coloured vegetables daily – include plenty of seasonal vegetables to each meal. Try adding cruciferous vegetables to your meals such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, bok choy, rocket, radish and kale. These nutrient-rich vegetables contain special plant compounds which help promote detoxification and metabolism of certain hormones in the body, particularly oestrogen balance.

5. Eat fruit in moderation – enjoy 2-3 pieces of fruit a day as part of a balanced meal – whole fruits are packed with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. To prevent blood sugar and hormonal imbalances, consume a piece of fruit alongside some protein. Protein influences the release of hormones that control appetite. My favourite ‘go to’ treat these days is a small bowl of yogurt topped with pistachios, pomegranate seeds and a dusting of cinnamon.

6. Go Organic – organic food is more nutrient dense as it has been grown in fertile soil. Hormones need vitamins and minerals for us to produce, transport and store them in the body. Organic food has less pesticides which is good news as pesticides have been shown to potentially disrupt our hormone function.

7. Support your liver – liver health is crucial to healthy hormones and detoxification. Assist your liver to break down excess oestrogen effectively and eliminate unwanted toxins by increasing brassica vegetables. Brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower are powerhouses of nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K and B vitamins – ideally gently steam these prior to eating.

8. Keep hydrated – as well as many other functions, the body needs water to function at a cellular level; to control body temperature; to keep our bowels moving ‘smoothly’ and to eliminate harmful substances such as toxins and excess hormones. To avoid dehydration, include infused water or herbal teas as a healthy addition to your daily water intake of 1.5-2 litres. You may like to try antioxidant rich green tea or rooibos tea, which have been linked to lowering insulin levels in individuals with metabolic disorders.

9. Stress less – chronic stress can trigger and exacerbate a hormonal imbalance in the body causing high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, anxiety and weight concerns. Engaging in stress-reduction techniques that work for you can help balance the stress hormone cortisol. Try to devote at least 10-15 minutes per day to ‘stress less’ activities – here are some that you may wish to try – meditation (I like the Headspace and Calm app), 4-7-8 breathing, massage, yoga, Epsom salt bath, a walk in nature or listening to your favourite music.

10. Prioritise your sleep – inadequate or poor-quality sleep has been linked to imbalanced hormones, including insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin and growth hormones. An imbalance of these hormones can increase hunger, stress, pain and much more. Adopt a bedtime routine to help you unwind and relax after a busy day. Something that has worked well for me is setting a timer on my phone 90 minutes before I retire to bed. My relaxing ritual includes a cup of chamomile, ginger or peppermint tea followed by some light reading in a peaceful environment.

A New Chapter

Welcome to our new website.

We are proud to be one of the first specialist multi-disciplinary functional medicine clinics in the north of England.

We want to thank Dave Lambert for his creative genius in coming up with our lovely new logo. We are excited about how the practice will grow and change over the coming years.

Lockdown has made us look at what we are doing and how we are doing things. We have missed the person-to-person contact but it has meant that we have been able to see patients from different parts of the country. Our team has grown closer in the time that we have been apart. Our team meetings and webinars have allowed us to communicate regularly and keep the practice active.

Our webinars are still available to watch here. These events forced us to step out of our comfort zone but we loved engaging with the public to spread the knowledge.

Our immune system and health have been at the forefront of everyone’s mind during this last year. A functional medicine approach is a valuable tool to support your health.

We look forward to you joining us in our journey to empower people to be their best self.

Dr Indra Barathan

Announcing our first webinar

These last 10 weeks have been a time of reflection and connection at the Dr Indra Specialist Functional Medicine Practice. We have all been working from our own homes and connecting remotely on our computers. I have enjoyed our zoom meetings. It has meant that we have not been able to share treats as we would usually do!

We have continued to support our patients and have welcomed new patients to the practice. Our electronic patient system, WriteUpp, has now integrated video consultations into the platform, which has made setting up video consultations easier. It’s been a steep learning curve, figuring out why things don’t always go to plan and finding solutions. We thank all our patients for their patience.

Having had to take everything online has meant discovering new ways to reach out to people. We had planned a series of speaking events in the lead-up to the summer but, of course, these have had to be cancelled. Instead, we’ve decided to take the brave step into the world of webinars.

Our first webinar will be a question and answer session on 4th June 2020 at 1930 GMT. We asked for questions on social media a week or two ago and we have some interesting topics to discuss. If all goes well, we’re hoping to do a webinar per month for people to come along and see the team and how we approach patient care at our practice. If you’d like to join us on Thursday, you can register here.

We hope to see you there.

The Dr Indra team

Can you Support Your Immune System with Food? Yes, you can, and these 3 steps will show you how!

Our amazing bodies have the intelligence to support us through whatever we encounter in the world. When we come up against a threat like an infection, a toxin, an allergen or stress, our bodies support us and then bring us back to balance.

You might have heard the statement “food is medicine”. This is a quote from the Greek physician, Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food”.

Our nutrition serves to nourish our body and support our body’s tools to help it heal naturally.

Figuring out what to eat, however, can be a minefield. At our practice, we suggest to our patients that they break things down to the most basic of levels and take one small step at a time. Supporting our immune system is more than just about the food we eat, but this is central to supporting the body.

My top tips to support the immune system are:-

Update of the Investment in Health Options at the Clinic

Due to changes in prices at the Laboratory we are having to change the prices of our programs of care effective from today 1st March 2018….

Good Nutrition Made Simple: Sharing the Vibe Podcast

If you are searching for a simple and holistic approach to health and wellness, then tune into Shakela’s latest podcast where she talks about ed pills, nutrition, sleep, meditation and exercise. She also shares her delicious protein ball recipe packed with nutritious ingredients and ideal for those moments when you need a quick healthy energy snack.


S01 E10 Shakela Shan Good Nutrition Made Simple

Want to know some easy strategies to improve your nutrition and overall health? Shakela
Shan is a Nutritional Therapist based in Leeds who takes a simple and holistic approach to
nutrition and wellness. It’s not just about the food either – we talk about sleep, exercise
(too much can be just as harmful as not …

Shakela’s Autumn Blog 2018: Forget the Diets and Embark on a Functional Medicine Reset

Think mental health, weight management and physical wellbeing. Here’s how to take stock and prepare ourselves for a restorative and energised autumn ahead…

Very few of us bounce into autumn feeling fabulous and, for many of us, it’s a case of dragging ourselves through into the festive season and feeling rather sluggish, bloated and lacking in energy. My question is ‘why wait to reset and introduce healthy habits in the new year when you can start right now with the help of our functional and ed medicine multidisciplinary team?’ Our approach, and one which I find produces more lasting results, is to keep things simple, realistic and achievable.

Let’s begin with restoring your gut – the bedrock of good health starts with your gut. Your digestive system is like a sorting office where food gets delivered, nutrients are assimilated and deposited around the body and then waste is sent out. If this is working efficiently then everything else follows suit.

Dehydration, lack of sleep, high stress, alcohol, processed, fried, sugary and refined food/drink can all take their toll on your gut. As a result, you can encounter problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, fatigue and pain. This can impact your wellness, vitality, weight, hormones and mood.

Reset and start autumn by nourishing your body – to keep things simple, choose foods that are easy to digest and get good-quality lean proteins, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. You can visit the BANT plate (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine) for inspiration at:

Eat more fibre – Fibre not only promotes gut health but helps to keep you full between meals and balance blood sugar levels to help stave off cravings. Beans, pulses, lentils, oats, seeds, nuts, apples, wholegrains, vegetables and dried fruit all contain fibre.

Feed your gut bacteria – Beneficial bacteria break down food to extract nutrients that we need for our survival. They also help to synthesise B vitamins including B12, folate and thiamine that we need for energy metabolism, red blood cell production and a healthy nervous system. A poor diet and stress can cause the gut to become ‘leaky’ and unbalanced with bacteria and yeasts that contribute to digestive issues. Introduce probiotic yoghurts and fermented foods to support the ‘good guys’. Probiotic supplements are also an effective way of balancing your gut bacteria.

Eat prebiotic foods – Good bacteria have a symbiotic relationship with prebiotics and are found in certain foods with high amounts of indigestible fibres such as inulin and resistant starch. They are fermented by bacteria in the gut and help good bacteria to flourish.Prebiotic foods include Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks, pulses, potatoes and rice. The latter two foods must be cooked then cooled to produce resistant starch.

Our team of Functional Medicine GPs and Nutritional Therapist can offer tailored plans to
support your wellness journey. You can visit us at and

Other areas of support that you may consider for your journey to wellness are:

My Book of the Month: ‘The Good Stuff’

This is the book I’ve been waiting for. As a Mum to three kids, I recommend Lucinda Miller’s brilliant book to help inspire parents to get their kids eating delicious ‘real food’. I hope you enjoy having as much fun with the recipes as I did with my trio.

Dr Indra FMGP Update

Its been a while since I last posted.

Just a short update about exciting times coming up at our clinic. We have been busy and have collaborated with a Nutritional Therapist and another functional GP. More details to follow. Our Phlebotomy service is getting up and running.

I have also been on a PODCAST!

I was asked to speak about Functional Medicine to Andrew Gray of Truth Legal in Harrogate I had an enjoyable morning talking about my passion for practicing medicine in an integrative way.

Look out for more updates in the next few weeks. Become aware and enjoy this moment.

Dr Indra