5 women’s health areas to pay attention to each day as you age
As women, we have unique health concerns, and as we age it becomes increasingly important to make smart health and lifestyle choices to both maintain our wellbeing and help ward off illness.
We spoke to dietitian and integrative health expert at BioCeuticals, Belinda Reynolds, to find out the top five health areas that women should be paying attention to each day to ensure we are getting the nourishment and care we need.
1. Stay in touch with your body
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to stay attuned to our bodies. Never ignore anything unusual or uncomfortable. Check your breasts and have regular pap smears. If you happen to experience significant fatigue, headaches, unusual discharge, irregular bowel habits or mood problems, don’t ignore them. What’s normal for someone else may not be normal for you. If you’re ever in doubt, always seek the advice of a qualified health professional, who may be able to recommend the appropriate course of action.
2. Stay active
Exercise has been shown to be a natural antidepressant, to support brain health, assist in maintaining healthy bones, and helps you maintain a healthy weight and feel energised. The official recommendation from the Department of Health is 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day. This can be broken up into two or three sessions if it is a struggle to do 30 minutes at once.
Exercise should go hand in hand with a healthy diet, and you should be treating it as a priority rather than an optional activity. Exercise anywhere – outdoors or in the comfort of your own home. The main thing is that it becomes part of your daily routine in a way that works for you.
3. Focus on colourful vegetables and fruits
In this day and age, we’ve seen an increase in convenient and easy to prepare TV-style dinners. Ultimately, however, we will still see the most benefit if we consume five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day – especially those that are rich in colour.
Green leafy and cruciferous vegetables such as spinach, lettuces, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy and Brussel sprouts can be particularly beneficial as they support healthy detoxification in the body, including getting rid of unwanted hormones. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of minerals (think zinc and selenium) and essential fatty acids. Incorporate virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado where you can. These plant-derived foods provide more essential fatty acids and are great in assisting to keep inflammation in the body under control.
4. Avoid too much sugar, alcohol and over processed foods
The occasional treat can be good for the soul, but at least 80 per cent of your diet should be made up of health-promoting plant foods, healthy protein, and healthy fat sources. There are many ways that you can easily include these healthy foods in your diet.
For example, try replacing white rice with cauliflower rice, and for a health snack, try carrot sticks dipped in homemade guacamole. If you find yourself exhausted and relying on numerous cups of coffee throughout the day to get through, consider getting your iron levels checked, and speak to your practitioner about whether a multi B or Ubiquinol supplement may be helpful for you.
5. Eat lots of fibre and consider fermented foods and probiotics
Are your bowel habits irregular? Do you ever feel bloated, gassy, uncomfortable, or weird, foggy and lethargic after certain meals? You could have a microbial imbalance in your digestive tract. To help correct this, a healthy, fibre-rich diet is recommended, and possibly a probiotic supplement. Also consider that you may have some mild intolerances to particular foods. Common intolerances include gluten, dairy and fructose. Too much sugar will also mess with your gut flora, so minimise that where you can!
It’s very easy to be on a short term “health kick”, but to reap the real benefits of healthy changes you need incorporate these simple steps above into your daily lifestyle. Remember that simplifying your health goals will make them more attainable because you’ll be more likely to stick to them.
Always speak to your healthcare professional when considering supplementation. When taking supplements, make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare practitioner and remember that vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
How do you manage to stay active, and get exercise every day? Let us know in the comments below.