Modern Day Lifestyle Tips for Women’s Health
With a greater spotlight on health and the role that early preventative measures can help in keeping people away from a reliance on medication, one must ask whether lifestyle and in particular diet, can really play a role in managing some common health issues. With time precious as ever, there is growing evidence suggesting some simple life hacks in our everyday schedule could have some benefit.
In this brief article, there will be a mention of some common health concerns that many women face which can impact wellbeing, productivity, and overall quality of life
This is an important issue for women of all ages during their reproductive life and includes aspects such as painful periods (and menstrual cramps), heavy and irregular flow.
Implementing well-round lifestyle practices that include a healthy fibre-rich, nutrient and antioxidant dense diet rich in leafy greens (as a source of iron), fruits and vegetables, legumes, beans and pulses, greens, nuts, seeds herbs and spices can play an important role in period pain and bleeds.
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)
PCOS affects around 20% of women in the reproductive age group and is it relatively understood. Poor insulin response known as insulin resistance is thought to be one of the main drivers of the condition.
Lifestyle changes have been found to be the main key to managing PCOS and its symptoms. For instance, weight management strategies and dietary interventions have been documented to be effective in reducing the amount of oxidative and inflammation in the body and managing insulin resistance.
This inflammatory condition affects up to 10% of women right from teenage years to menopause and like PCOS is poorly understood.
There are no dietary recommendations for this condition to date, but there is some growing evidence showing standard western diets (low fibre, high fat and sugar meals) influence steroid hormone levels, increase blood oestrogen and reduce sex hormone-binding globulin levels.
Interestingly, 13 or more servings of green vegetables confer a 70% lower risk and 14 or more servings of fruits especially citrus can reduce the risk by 20%
PERIMENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE
Did you know that nutrition and lifestyle modifications even before menopause kicks in can play an important role? Perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) can be an extremely difficult time and can extend over several years before the menopause hits.
Science is showing that adding soya to one’s diet provides a valuable source of Phyto-oestrogens (soy isoflavones) that help with hormonal fluctuations, reduce the number and severity of hot flushes as well as physical, psycho-social and sexual issues that come about with menopause
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
IBS affects around 20% of people and is 1.5-3 times more common in women than men, with a worsening of symptoms during menstruation. Other than bowel issues (diarrhoea and constipation), bloating and cramping, other issues such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and pain, painful sex, fatigue and worsened menstrual symptoms are also reported in women with IBS.
A combination of lifestyle changes has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing the severity of the symptoms as well as address particular triggers of the condition.
DR SUNNI’S TOP TIPS
1. Exercise regularly to a total of 150-300 minutes a week and add weight resistance exercises to your regime at least twice a week
2. Ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamin D (walking in the sun or supplementing with 1000-2000 IU daily in winter)
3. Explore stress management and practices to get adequate sleep daily
4. Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake where possible
5. Minimise the amount of refined sugars and poor quality fats and proteins in your meals
6. Aim to have 30g of fibre a day and 30 unique plant points a week
7. Consume 2-4 portions (one portion being 80g) of minimally processed soya daily (soya milk, edamame, soya milk)
8. Always consult and seek specialists for further advice and support
Dr Sunni Patel is the founder of Dish Dash Deets – a company and platform focussed on health coaching, education, and food with a mission to support corporations and individuals on holistic wellbeing. He has held several senior corporate roles in global corporations and led E,D&I and Wellness initiatives across organisations. He is a former clinician scientist and currently a gut health influencer, Level 3 certified PT and Fitness Instructor as well as a culinary medicine coach and has been featured on the BBC, ITV and called for comment regularly on BBC radio shows and leading press outlets. He is available for speaker sessions, workshops and coaching programs.
Contact Dr Sunni
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