Lisa is a qualified Nutritional Therapist. She has been practicing nutrition for 12 years across a broad spectrum of health conditions. Lisa Works at Pulse Light Clinic providing nutritional advice.
It is this specific period in a woman’s life that dictates so much in the way of long term health, and today I am going to point out a few major benefits of taking control now.
Benjamin Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and for women in this age group that quote could not be more appropriate, because between 25 and 40 is the crucial period for disease prevention in women.
Today, the lifestyle, the demands, and the things that are important to women, differ immensely from any other age in history. My female clients have individual specific goals they want to achieve, and most are relating to a non-optimum health condition specific to their case, but there are always additional prevailing items on their wish-lists, that are common amongst them. Apart from their personal ill-health issues, some of their common long term health goals include:
1. Reaching and maintaining their optimum weight, without constant dieting
2. Having radiant, youthful skin
3. Maintaining their youthful looks and a firm body
4. Having the energy to meet all their lifestyle demands
5. Maintaining their libido
6. How to teach their children about healthy eating
7. How to know if they are cooking healthy meals for their family
8. How to manage all of the above while working full time
While it is good to see that the traditional role of women in nurturing the family is still very evident,it is unfortunate that their level of responsibility sometimes reaches such heights, that to meet all the demands seems a like an impossible, super-human task, and leaves them feeling like they are “Up- The-Creek-Without-A-Paddle”. They often looked ‘wired’ and worn-out at the same time!
In clinical practice I see women who are desperately trying to meet all of these goals, only to have their own health fail them, and that is where diet and lifestyle enter the equation. I do see a few women who manage all this and more, and yet remain in good health. So what is their secret?
It may be in their genetic make-up, it may be luck, but by my own observation, and in a nutshell, I would say the unique difference between a healthy woman and a less healthy woman is their attitude towards themselves. They care about themselves just as much as they care about their families; they understand that taking their own health as a priority brings energy to meet thedemands, they feel proud to be setting a good example to their children, and they know that if they feel happy with how they look and feel, they are more capable and more willing to help and support other family members.
Changing your self-image and appreciating that a healthy woman can achieve more with less effort is a key point and one which I hope many of you will adopt.
The first and foremost area to learn about is food, and its impact on health. The second area to learn about is lifestyle factors that contribute to either disease or good health. When these two things (diet and lifestyle) are balanced, one can reach those goals above, common to so many women.
I shall leave Healthy Living for another day, because today I want to give you some knowledge on what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet, so that you can begin your future health investment while enjoying the effects today!
Things to consider about the foods you eat:
• A healthy woman is a nourished woman.
• It is not what or how much we eat, but what we absorb that nourishes.
• Absorption of nutrients is dependent upon their liberation from foods, which occurs when the food is fully digested.
• No food can be digested sufficiently to release its nutrients without the action of enzymes
• Enzyme production is dependent upon the health of the digestive system, including all of its organs.
• Digestion begins in the mouth; as food is chewed, the surface area increases, thereby increasing the efficiency of enzymes throughout the digestive process.
• Chewing food thoroughly mashes the food with saliva which contains some enzymes that begin breaking down carbohydrates into smaller components in preparation for further digestive processes once the food is swallowed.
• Every meal you eat results in some hormonal response within the body.
• Some foods directly affect the delicate balance of hormones negatively, while others affect hormones positively
• Hormonal Imbalances are at the root cause of osteoporosis, weight problems (hyper or hypo), mental health, sexual health, poor stress response (hyper or hypo) and breast, uterine & ovarian cancers.
• All Hormones should be in a good balance because they play a significant role in maintaining homeostasis (stable and balanced internal conditions)
From the above data, you should be able to see that optimum digestive and hormonal systems are equally vital to the goals women want to attain. I suggest you contact me for an assessment if you suffer any adverse digestive symptoms because this area of health often needs a personalised programme of address when out of kilter and it profoundly affects the hormonal systems too.
For the healthy woman without adverse symptoms, adopting a healthy eating plan now is the best disease preventative measure you can take. There are foods you should avoid, foods you should include, at varying proportions, and I suggest you make changes slowly but gradually, by replacing those you should avoid with foods more abundant in nutritional value.
It is important to introduce you to a group of compounds that you may not be familiar with called Xenoestrogens and xenobiotics refer to foreign substances originating outside the body that have an oestrogen like activity in the body, and thus have a profound impact on hormone balance.
These pollutants are also known as endocrine disrupters. The endocrine system includes the glands that make brain hormone, reproductive system hormones, adrenal hormones, insulin and thyroid hormones for example.
Xenoestrogens/xenobiotics are found in many products including plastics, microchips, medicines, clothing, food, soaps, pesticides and even perfumes. While these substances have undeniably improved our quality of life, the price we pay is pollution in the air, water, soil, and in our bodies.
The legacy of this pollution in living creatures includes an epidemic of reproductive abnormalities, cancers, infertility, hormonal imbalances, low sperm counts and the feminisation of males.
Applying some simple rules will assist your body to maintain hormonal balance and promote your long term well-being.
Healthy Eating Guidelines for women aged between 25 and 40 years:
FOODS / DRINKS / FACTORS TO AVOID:
• Avoid tap water (invest in a counter-top filter jug)
• Avoid ready made meals and microwaving your food in plastics and cling film.
• Avoid genetically modified foods
• Avoid Sugar as much as possible
• Avoid food additives such as MSG, Fructose, Glucose-Fructose-Syrup, Corn Syrup, Aspartame, Colourings, and E numbers.
• Avoid eating any food that is burned
• Avoid carbonated beverages, especially ‘diet’ varieties
• Avoid margarine and other ‘fake’ butters
• Avoid all foods labelled ‘diet’ or ‘low calorie’ or ‘fat free’
• Avoid highly processed foods (the further away from their natural state the more processed they are)
• Avoid refined grains (white)
FOODS / DRINKS / FACTORS TO REDUCE:
• Non-organic foods
• Consumption of dairy products from cow’s milk
FOODS / DRINKS / FACTORS TO INCLUDE:
• Eat plenty of raw organic fruit and vegetables
• Eat complex carbohydrates
• Eat Essential Fats – oily fish, nuts, & seeds (avoid nuts in cases of Acne)
• Include healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil and butter from grass fed animals
• Increase your fibre intake
• Drink sufficient clean water everyday
• Eat good, clean sources of protein (grass fed beef, organic free range chicken, wild caught Alaskan Salmon, sardines, goat or sheep dairy produce, and organic free range eggs)
• Eat vegetarian at least once per day
• Wash all fruit & vegetables thoroughly before eating
Remember, if it is cheap to eat it will likely be expensive in the long run.
To a healthy, long and happy life!