Lifestyle

10 Essential Tips for Women’s Health

It took me a great deal of time to realize that you to really do need take care of your body, as it’s the only one you have. Hmmm, that general topic sounds cliche, no? After all, we all know that taking care of oneself is important, but do you really know? It’s worthy to note that I’m not talking about manicures or massages here, because while those are pampering and wonderful in so many ways, I’d consider that short-term TLC unless it’s frequent or a part of a longer-term plan of regular celebrations for you.

What I’m asking is – what steps do you consistently take to benefit your health and maximize your potential? I’m talking about the meat and bones of health, people – what are your essential health priorities?

Personally, it took me 37 years to make my health a top priority. Up until that point I only focused on myself in very small increments, such as taking one multivitamin when I cleaned a cupboard and found the bottle, or if I felt a cold coming on. Previously I’d find motivation to go for a long walk, yet this was so infrequent that ‘my walking shoes’ were circa ’99 and looked like I purchased them the month before – busted!

Don’t get me wrong, short increments of self-care are at least something, right? While there is benefit to small short-term self-care, I’ve come to realize that the efforts previously made were definitely not in-line with true importance. It may not be what you want to hear, but ensuring you are getting the essential vitamins your body needs to function at optimum level is more important than setting aside the time to curl the ends of your hair {don’t send hate mail, you know it’s true}.

The thing is, I believe that many tend to think that our own health is a huge undertaking. So huge in fact, that when placed on the table with the other million things we do – our health gets tossed aside because of the assumed time and effort involved. It’s so easy and second-nature to think of everyone else before our own needs, and convince ourselves that dedication to women’s health too big of a commitment to include in an already busy life.

Wrong. So wrong.

As I said, it took many years to figure out what Women’s health meant to me, but now I can easily sum it up to: keeping it simple and of top priority.

May 28th is International Day of Action on Women’s Health, and it would be awesome to shed light on the topic so that essential and important aspects of women’s health is focused upon, and made priority. It’s been said that it takes a community, so let’s build a big supportive one that helps each other to live fully and actively. For instance, my old/new walking shoes were evidence that I needed to get moving outdoors more often. So now a friend and I meet at the school daily, well before pick-up, as a motivator for each other to get in our daily walks. It’s much more enjoyable with company and the latest gossip!

See! Women’s health needn’t be complicated, overly planned and unattainable. Making that dedication can be simple. Sue Mah {RD, Registered Dietitian} has some tips to help you get started, and for the long-haul!

10 Essential Tips for Women’s Health

 

10 Essential Tips for Women’s Health

  1. Get enough iron. Iron helps form the hemoglobin in your red blood cells which carries oxygen from your lungs to every part of your body. When you’re low in iron, you’ll feel tired, look pale and may develop anemia. Aim for 18 mg of iron a day. Vegetarians need almost double that amount. Food sources: meat, poultry, fish; beans, lentils; spinach; iron-fortified breads, pasta and breakfast cereals.

 

  1. Count your calcium. Your bone density actually continues to grow until about age 30. Calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong. Aim for 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Food sources: milk, fortified soy / almond / plant-based beverages; cheese, yogurt; edamame beans, tofu, navy beans; almonds; collards, kale.

 

  1. Focus on folic acid. Taking a folic acid supplement before you get pregnant helps reduce the risk of birth defects that affect the baby’s brain and spine. If you could become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, take a supplement of 400 mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid every day. Food sources: dark green vegetables; orange juice, cantaloupe, papaya; peanut butter, sunflower seeds; beans, chickpeas, lentils; enriched bread, pasta and breakfast cereals.

 

  1. Consider a multivitamin supplement. With a fast-paced, busy lifestyle, it can sometimes be tricky to get all the nutrients you need from food alone. Consider taking a supplement such as Equate Women’s Formula Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement. It contains a range of nutrients to help maintain immune function, maintain healthy skin, and help in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. Talk to a Registered Dietitian for personalized advice about supplements. I recently purchased the Value Sized bottle from Walmart Canada, what a great deal!

Equate Women’s Formula Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement

 

  1. Get social with food! Celebrate the joy of food by cooking and eating with your kids, family and friends. Ask the kids to help you pick out veggies at the grocery store. Start a cooking club with friends. Take a stroll to the weekly farmers’ market together.

 

  1. Stay fueled on the go. Missed a meal because you were too pressed for time? We’ve all been there at one point or another. Keep your energy levels up with a ready-to-drink nutritional shake like Equate High Protein Shake. A serving offers 225 calories, 25 essential vitamins and minerals, and 12 grams of protein. Available in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla – I just cannot pick my favourite. I have a bad tendency to skip breakfast, so these are convenient, provide nutrition and are delicious!

 Equate High Protein Shake Walmart Canada Women's Health

  1. Ditch the diets. Diets are out and healthy, wholesome eating is in. There’s absolutely no need to feel guilty over a glass of wine or a piece of cherry cheesecake every now and then. Have a healthy relationship with food and tell yourself it’s OK to enjoy these treats in moderation.

 

  1. Let movement be your medicine. You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking. Prolonged sitting may increase your chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Regular activity is also a natural stress buster. Find activities that you enjoy and work up a good sweat. Hot yoga, anyone?

 

  1. Practice the 3 Ps: Prioritize, Plan, Pace. Life moves fast. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect or get everything done in a day. Prioritize your tasks so that the most important ones get done first. Then, plan your “To Do” list. Finally, pace yourself to avoid burnout.

 

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. Not only is sleep deprivation tied to possible weight gain, but it’s also linked to a higher risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night. As a new day dawns, you’ll feel refreshed, energized and ready to take on the world!

 

If you think about the essence of health – it’s the basics such as sleep, water, exercise and the vitamins and minerals a body requires. By listening to your body, you will be in-tune with what it needs. For instance, have you been sitting here reading for a while? Get up, start moving and get yourself a refreshing glass of water. Take care of yourself, you are your only you!

Tell me what Women’s health means to you in the comments!

 

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the “What Women’s Health Means to Me” program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

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One Comment

  1. My wife has been looking for some new ways to keep herself healthy and in good shape. I think she would like your advice to celebrate the joys of food with children and loved ones. Having our grandchildren over and having a good meal with definitely keep her mind and spirit healthy. Thanks for the great tips.

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