The Importance of Women’s Health

The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, dignity.

– Ruby Dee

 

The saying a woman’s work is never done rings true with most women!

Statistically, a women’s roles often include family obligations, caregiving for children and or elderly, and job responsibilities. Many women can feel overwhelmed, that there are just not enough hours in the day. They may feel a sense of failure in not being able to meet expectations. Women put pressure on ourselves to be a great mom, cook, partner, successful in our careers, and more! Often women spend more time meeting the needs of others rather than nurturing their own needs.

The minds power to influence your body.

Chronic stress builds up so that pressure begins to seem like everyday life for some women. Often women are so busy that they do not take time to slow down long enough to think about how stress negatively affects them.1

There is a strong connection between your mind and body, or you could say your body and mind. It is bidirectional!1

Some of the results of all of this pressure and chronic stress begin to affect woman’s health in the following ways negatively:

95 percent of all illness is caused or worsened by stress.2

  • Heart Health
  • Immune function
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Bowel issues
  • Pregnancy issues
  • Menstrual problems

 

Heart Health

Stress increases blood pressure and heart rate.3

Emotional or psychological stress may contribute to heart disease in many ways. Stress may influence heart disease risk factors, affecting the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) to triggering heart attacks.3

Implementing strategies that promote a healthy heart:

  • Whole-foods diet
  • Targeted supplementation
  • Exercise
  • Stress management
  • Drink a minimum of eight glasses of pure water each day
  • Eat the rainbow of colorful fruit and vegetables providing phytonutrients4
  • Eat at least eight to 10 servings of vegetables that deliver vitamins, minerals, micronutrients.4

 

Immunity

The stress response also suppresses the immune system, making women more susceptible to colds and illness. When stressed, your immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced, making you more susceptible to infections.5

Tools to minimize stress:

  • Spend time with people you have relationships with
  • Focus on your immunity
  • Supplements that are beneficial to immunity:
  • Zinc, vitamin D, Vitamin C, probiotics, and medicinal mushrooms5

 

Depression and anxiety

Women tend to have higher rates of this depression and anxiety along with other disorders such as panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Women with higher stress levels may also have difficulty becoming pregnant than women with lower stress levels.6

It is essential to reflect on what areas in your life stress is coming from and think about what you may be able to eliminate. Realize it is fine to ask for help. Use a combination of other tools for calming the mind and the body; this will help him reset his nervous system.

Tools to relieve the nervous system:

  • Deep breathing
  • Slow belly-breathing
  • Meditate
  • Go to bed early
  • Avoid rushing, wake up a few minutes earlier

Diet:

  • Cut back on caffeine, sugar, and processed foods
  • Make a green nutrient-dense smoothie8

 

Headaches and migraines. Tension headaches are more common in women than men. 80% of migraine sufferers report that stress is a trigger. Therefore, adopting stress relief habits are beneficial. You may also want to avoid certain foods that are known to trigger migraines.9 Such as:

  • Caffeine-containing foods and beverages
  • Monosodium glutamate-containing foods(MSG is used as a preservative)
  • Nitrate-containing foods (hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage, and pepperoni)
  • Tyramine-containing foods(Tyramine is a compound produced by the breakdown of an amino acid called tyrosine, found in foods like pizza and aged cheeses)9

 

Bowel Problems

Stress can lead to bowel problems such as IBS.

Diet:

  • It is important to limit certain foods in your diet.
  • Limit starchy foods like bread, cereal, pasta, rice, or sugary. Eat a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds high in fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients.Eat probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, kombucha, miso, or sauerkraut. These are all fermented foods that help your gut flora get and stay healthy.10

Healthy Microbiome

  • Probiotics that contain bacteria such as bifidobacteria, lactobacillus, and other strains. It is important to repopulate your gut to help your digestion run properly.11
  • Supplements Vitamin A, zinc, omega-3 fats (fish oil), evening primrose oil, and glutamine. Herbs such as quercetin and turmeric may aid in reducing inflammation and help heal a leaky gut.11

Menstrual problems in relation to stress:

Stress has a huge impact on menstrual cycle regularity. When the body experiences stress, the HPA axis is activated. When the HPA axis is activated, it increases two stress hormones. The elevation in the stress hormones can suppress or delay ovulation.12

Diet:

  • Improving your diet to include plenty of micronutrients and macronutrients found in whole foods aids in maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle.
  • Women’s bodies manufacture hormones out of a combination of both macronutrients and micronutrients. A diet that does not provide these essential nutrients may disrupt a healthy menstrual cycle.13
  • A diet that includes inflammatory, processed foods can affect the menstrual cycle. Typically, foods found in the standard American diet. The ingredients in the foods are not only void of nutrients but can cause inflammation in the body. There is a direct association between inflammation and the severity of menstrual symptoms, such as cramps and mood swings.14

 

Whole food diet:

  • Grass feed organic protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Carbohydrates like berries, potatoes, and oats
  • Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts
  • colorful fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots, and oranges
  • Anti-inflammatory spices15

Supplements:

Vitamin C 

Benefit the menstrual cycle due to its antioxidant properties. It also may improve iron absorption from food or other supplements. Supplementation with vitamin C may also help regulate periods and help shorten periods that are too long and reduce heavy blood flow.16

Vitamin B6

It has been shown to improve mood during the premenstrual cycle. B6 plays a role in the production of serotonin that helps regulate mood and anxiety.17

Omega 3’s

Fish oil may help alleviate period cramps and other PMS symptoms due to modulating inflammation. Supplements can help prevent period cramps and other PMS symptoms by modulating inflammation. Outperforming ibuprofen.18

Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to fertility issues and may also affect the menstrual cycle.19

Probiotics & Prebiotics 

Keeping the gut microbiome balanced and healthy may help support a healthy menstrual cycle by maintaining a healthy inflammatory response and improving the removal of excess estrogens from the body.20

 

Health-promoting habits that fit woman follow:

  • They start the day with a meal that boosts their metabolism and provides the energy their body needs to get through the day.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep to rejuvenate, rest and restore their body.
  • Drink Plenty of water. They are limiting caffeine intake and choosing drinks like green tea, green juices, and coconut water.
  • Meal choices are nourishing their bodies with nutrients to support them.
  • Taking time to laugh and enjoy relationships to relieve stress
  • Lastly, Fit women do not participate in extreme diets and workouts that add more stress to their lives. They live their lives maintaining habits that promote a balanced healthy life.21

Sources:

  1. https://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/19/stress-tips-calm-your-mind-heal-your-body/
  2. https://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/19/stress-tips-calm-your-mind-heal-your-body/
  3. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2014/emotional-stress-and-heart-disease-women-interview-dr-viola-vaccarino
  4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/5545-women-and-stress
  5. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/signs-of-weak-immune-system
  6. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2014/emotional-stress-and-heart-disease-women-interview-dr-viola-vaccarino
  7. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response
  8. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response
  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/headache-hacks#massage
  10. https://drhyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/The-Irritable-Bowel-Solution_ebook_022318.pdf?v=1.1
  11. https://drhyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/The-Irritable-Bowel-Solution_ebook_022318.pdf?v=1.1
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11972140/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4281686/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5311461/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5963185/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2479725/
  17. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1016/j.ijgo.2006.09.014
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3770499/
  19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30423869/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19237621/
  21. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20819/12-habits-of-fit-healthy-women.html

 

 

 

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