Women’s Day is just around the corner—let’s talk about women’s health.
The slogan and hashtag for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. As a Holistic Nutritionist, here are my thoughts on what’s needed to create balance in the world, and it starts with creating a healthy balance within ourselves.
Here are my top tips for achieving better health and balance at every stage of life. Each are very unique and specific to women’s health:
Women in their 20’s
This is the ideal time in a woman’s life to start establishing healthy eating habits. I recommend exploring more plant-based protein as the updated Canada’s Food Guide suggests. It’s also a good time to quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption and to start taking multi-vitamins, especially if you are thinking of getting pregnant. If so, make sure you are taking 400–600mcg of folic acid per day.
Women in their 30’s
This stage of life has women balancing career, busy schedules, and family. Some vitamins and minerals to consider, to prepare for and help with fetal development are at least 400mcg of folic acid per day. Many pre-natal multi-vitamins contain 600 mcg. It’s a good idea to start upping your folic acid at least three months before conception. Getting a blood test is a good idea to ensure you’re meeting all your minimum requirements of folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and iodine. Consider taking an omega-3 supplement with high EPA & DHA levels for brain, heart, and vision health (yours and the baby).
Women in their 40’s
Career, family demands, and stress, are at an all-time high for many women, and relaxation and sleep are crucial for creating balanced health. Many women experience perimenopause and can start to feel extremely tired, or experience irregular cycles. Some herbs that may help alleviate stress are passionflower and chamomile. Adaptogens like ashwaganda and rhodiola, can help boost energy and help you better cope with stress. Natural sleep aids like valerian and melatonin help many women get the rest they need to function and stay in peak form.
Women in their 50’s and 60’s
This stage is where it all comes together! If you have been eating a balanced diet and managing stress and sleep, then the transition to menopause will be a lot smoother. However, this is not the case for many women. Hormone levels are shifting and plummeting, and there are a host of new health concerns when a cycle ends. Some women experience hot flashes, bone and muscle loss, mood swings, and even depression. It’s a good idea to keep up with yearly exams as well as adjust your multivitamin (you may not need as much iron now).
Other things to consider are regular cancer screening as well as cholesterol and blood pressure. Heart disease, especially for women, increases after the age of 55. Consider a good quality omega-3 with high levels of EPA to manage inflammation and DHA to manage cognitive, heart, eye and emotional health.
Finally, I stress these three key components for well-being no matter the stage of life you’re at: diet, exercise, and staying social. Everyone can benefit from eating plant-based foods, and healthy sources of fat like avocados, nuts and salmon.
*You can find more information on the supplements mentioned in this article at HealthyPlanetCanada.com. Healthy Planet is passionate about sourcing the highest quality supplements, vitamins, sports nutrition, health foods, organic grocery, bath & beauty and eco-friendly products at the lowest possible price.
Andrea Donsky is a nutritionist, national TV health expert, radio host, best-selling author, and founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a recipient ofHealthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. Connect with Andrea on Instagram: @andreadonsky & @naturallysavvy.