Clearly, we all know women are not the same as men – but in regards to their health just how different? From menstruation to menopause and beyond, girls are presented with a rather distinctive health experience.
Whether its own pregnancy, PMS, fatigue or osteoporosis frequently hormones are involved in a huge way. We know that heart disease is a bigger concern for women than we thought particularly in the postmenopausal years because of the reduction in estrogen levels. Osteoporosis in addition to elevated cholesterol also becomes a problem for many during those years.
Usually a discussion of women’s hormones is often only about progesterone and estrogen. What about the other hormones? Today women’s fast paced lives have contributed to an overabundance of Adrenal burn-out that’s frequently the reason so many girls are exhausted nowadays. Insulin resistance is also on the increase with higher sugar and starch foods being over consumed or worse yet – foods being missed – inducing often dangerous fluctuations in glucose levels.
Insulin resistance and adrenal stress levels can be set through blood and salivary testing (such as adrenals). Also, I often urge women have their thyroid levels checked and that can also result in fatigue and weight gain. For adrenal support B-complex vitamins and adrenal support herbs like ginseng, ashwanganda are usually advised. For insulin resistance supplements such as alpha lipoic acid, chromium in addition to fish oil are often a part of this protocol I recommend.
Women experience monthly and frequently daily hormonal cycles frequently affecting moods, weight and even brain chemistry. For instance, dopamine – the”calming” brain chemical responsible for sleep, mood and pain sensitivity – is lower in women than men. Without adequate amounts of serotonin girls often crave carbohydrates resulting in weight gain and a rise blood glucose. A healthier solution is adding quality proteins and good fats into the diet to help raise serotonin.
Fatigue and weight
Having worked with largely with girls throughout my career, I’ve noticed the two areas of greatest concern are: fatigue and weight. However, with more and more of the populace entering peri-menopause and melancholy additional additional issues seem to crop up – such as sleep disorders, hot flashes and bone loss. Symptoms can be greatly helped if the health and dietary recommendations listed below are adopted. Often misunderstood and touted on a daily basis is the notion that all foods should be assessed on the number of calories they contain versus the quality of the food itself. Our state of wellbeing and, then our burden, is greatly determined by the energy of the food – the more critical and refreshing a food is the more critical a individual will be.
A woman’s health is also dependent on having a healthy digestive tract. Constipation, bloat, gas and heartburn and even yeast infections indicate an unhealthy gastrointestinal tract. An unhealthy digestive tract won’t perform properly and weight imbalances, fatigue and other symptoms are often the outcome. Food allergies also constitute a burden on our immune and digestive systems frequently causing weight gain also. One health regimen I have become a huge proponent of is a yearly detoxification program. To explain, a proper detox program comprises more than simply colon cleansing it also concentrates on the liver’s detoxifying function. This method rids the body of an accumulation of toxins helping revive one’s vitality.
Starting with a great diet is crucial when dealing with women’s symptoms. Not only “a vegetable” per meal but a lot of vegetables during the day at every meal if possible. Vegetables are chocked full of essential vitamins and minerals essential for optimum health. Laboratory and clinical dietary evaluation also indicates that girls tend to be deficient in protein. Quality protein such as vegetables should be consumed at each meal.
- Quality proteins – fish, poultry, eggs, chicken, turkey
- Healthy fats – olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocados, nuts and seeds
- Non-starchy vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, etc
- Fruit – all
- Starches – those foods should be restricted, they include the following: starchy vegetables such as corn, potato, squash, etc. Legumes: garbanzo, kidney, black beans, etc. Complex whole grains: rye, quinoa, brown rice, etc
Eating is an important shared human experience and several women aren’t eating well. Often racing out while eating their breakfast or missing it completely or munching their lunch while multitasking? Not only do these customs stress out a women’s already burn-out system but it can strongly affect how the food is processed and used. Are potential food allergens being created because the food isn’t properly digested? As a woman matures she can no longer get away with many of those “non nurturing habits”. As part of my continuing wellness coaching – I frequently suggest the “Do-Less-Program” where girls make shorter “To Do” lists and learn how to look after themselves first.
- Eat 5 meals per day – 3 meals and 2 snacks. Eating every 3-4 hours is best.
- Consistently eat fats with carbohydrates and vise versa – don’t eat either alone. Proteins alone will stress your adrenal glands and eating carbs alone could prove problematic for blood sugar/insulin equilibrium.
- Protein parts are often determined based on body weight however on average, I would suggest between 2-5 oz per meal and 1-3ounces per bite.
- Adequate amounts of pure filtered water – you should be drinking 1/2 your own body weight in water (ie 150 pounds ) Woman should drink 75 oz of water daily ) – this helps to cleanse your body, enhance elimination and enhance hydration of the skin.
- Sleep Maintenance – it’s important to have at least 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep – that helps bring a female’s adrenal glands in order.
- Stress Management -essential for keeping proper hormonal balance – if it’s deep breathing, massage or various nutritional supplements – learning to relax is crucial.
- Healthy Exercise – stretching and adaptive versus excessive aerobic exercise will have beneficial effects on a woman’s hormones – particularly the”exhausted” adrenals glands
- High Quality Supplements -it’s quite important to get the highest quality supplements available. When using products with oils in them – such as fish oil, CoQ 10, Vitamin E – it is so very imperative to get the highest quality.