Everywhere women look, they are bombarded with products and ideas around “healthy living.” From social media influencers promoting their “favorite protein,” to health articles sharing new research on the benefits of green tea over coffee, the amount of information, standards, suggestions, data, and research that women are exposed to daily is borderline excessive. And it begs the question — what should women actually be doing and eating to remain healthy?
Fortunately, there are some basic ways that women can maintain a healthy lifestyle that has proven effective time and time again. Here’s our top ten:
- Take 5 foundational supplements – multivitamin/mineral, fish oils, magnesium, probiotics, vitamin D
- Spend 20 minutes eating/eat slowly
- Eat to 80% full
- Eat quality food as much as possible; clean, non-processed whole foods; organic fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy.
- Pay attention to how you feel after certain foods; look into eliminating certain types of foods. Discuss an elimination diet with your provider if you need guidance.
- Exercise – the amount and type of exercise will depend on age, fitness level, experience, and overall health. The general recommendation is 1-2 high-intensity workouts per week; 2-3 moderate to low intensity workouts per week, and recover 2 days. Recovery can mean very light exercise/mobility work also. The most important thing for women is strength training to make sure there is strength work in your routine. Strength training has been shown repeatedly in studies to help with hormone utilization so this is especially important for women going through any hormonal shift (perimenopause/menopause/postpartum).
- Manage stress. There are many ways to approach this: meditation, breathing, talk therapy, exercise, nature therapy; finding what works for you is most important.
- Sleep! This is the foundation for almost everything. Everyone’s sleep needs are a little different but most women need between 7-8 hours of sleep each night to function optimally. Sleep can be a challenging issue for many women, particularly those in perimenopause/menopause or postpartum. There are many ways to improve sleep; please talk to your provider if you are not sleeping well.
- Relationships – the connection we have to others is an important piece of our overall health. Family, friends, co-workers…they are all important and deserve our attention. If you are struggling with a person/relationship, there are ways to approach it positively and in a healthy manner.
- Practice self-care. This doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Self-care can be as simple as taking a warm bath with Epsom salts before bed. It can mean blocking your schedule for 10 minutes each day to close your eyes, lie down and breathe. It can mean putting “read my book” in your calendar for a 15-minute increment. Or simply stepping outside and walking around in the natural light and air – it does wonders for our brains and our outlook on everything. Women are very good at putting others’ needs ahead of their own, but we all know that taking care of ourselves can go a long way in our caring for others.