Nutrition plays different roles during different stages of a woman’s life. During childhood, food fuels growth and development. Through the childbearing years, diet plays a pivotal role in fertility, and in later years a balanced diet is instrumental in keeping minds sharp and bodies young.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein will support a woman’s health and well-being.
A balanced diet is the cornerstone of health for women and men alike. However women have special dietary needs that change as she grows older.
Nutrition and Pregnancy
Whether you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, getting the nutrients your body needs to support a healthy pregnancy should be paramount. Dr. Corney can provide the resources and advice you need to stay on track.
What you eat during pregnancy is important since you’re essentially eating for two. A healthy diet can help ensure a healthy baby and less postpartum weight to lose after your pregnancy.
Most women probably don’t need to make major changes to their diet when nursing, though there are some important considerations to keep in mind.
A diet that is low in calories or relies too heavily on one food group may affect the quality and quantity of of breast milk.
A healthy diet relies upon variety and balance. Eating a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats not only supplies the nutrients your body needs but ensures the nutrients you ingest also make their way into your breast milk.
According to the National Institute of Health, Heart Disease is the leading cause of death of women in the United States. In fact, statistics show that 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease. Coronary heart disease (the most common type of heart disease), is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States.
Other types of heart disease, such as coronary microvascular disease and broken heart syndrome, also pose a high risk for women however they are not as well understood as Coronary heart disease.
What is Coronary heart disease? Coronary heart disease, or CHD is a disease in which plaque builds up on the inner walls of the coronary arteries; the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This plaque build-up results in a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Plaque is comprised up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, this plaque hardens and in-turn narrows the coronary arteries reducing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
Heart disease is preventable with proper nutrition and exercise. Controlling portion sizes and eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce the risk of Coronary heart disease and improve your quality of life.
A healthy diet and physical activity are keys to building and keeping bones strong for life. Calcium and vitamin D are major nutrients for making bones hard and healthy.
During menopause estrogen levels decrease and a woman’s risk for heart disease and osteoporosis increases. In addition, high blood pressure and weight gain are also possible side affects of menopause as is the higher risk of breast cancer. By following some of these simple nutrition tips, adjusting to menopause can be easier:
- Protect your bone health by eating foods that are rich in calcium and/or Vitamin D (such as whole milk and Orange Juice)
- Fight mood swings and depression with foods high in Vitamin B and Omega-3 (such as salmon, tuna, flaxseed)
- Foods that are rich in fiber will help fight weight gain (such as fruits and vegetables)
Heart Healthy Eating
It has been proven that eating healthy, combined with regular exercise or physical activity, lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. One of the key elements to reducing your risk lies in reducing the intake of foods that are high in sodium and cholesterol. Reducing your sodium intake by eating fewer processed foods will help lower your risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). Lowering your cholesterol by limiting foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats will also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Choose the following foods for a heart-healthy lifestyle:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains such as: whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as milk and calcium-fortified soy drinks, cheese, yogurt, or other milk products
- Seafood, skinless chicken, legumes, and unsalted nuts