6 Tips for Women’s Health

Publish Date March 1, 2024 4 Minute Read

Women’s health can often be overlooked. Explore these 6 tips from a registered dietitian about how you can use nutrition and lifestyle changes to help improve your health.

1. Eat Balanced Meals

Nutrition needs can differ for women during various stages of life, such as pregnancy, lactation and menopause. Most times, women need fewer calories and protein than men. However, when it comes to balanced eating, men and women have similar dietary needs of choosing foods high in nutrients and low in sodium, added sugar and saturated fats. To balance meals, try eating at least 3 out of the 5 food groups per meal. The 5 food groups are dairy, fruit, protein, grains and vegetables. This can help add variety to a diet and balance meals.

With fad diets being a popular go-to for weight loss it’s easy to get caught in cycling through various diets trying to achieve a specific weight goal. However, it’s important to be mindful of strict diets that limit nutrition and food group intake. These diets may end up doing more harm than good to metabolism and hormonal balance.

2. Stay Active

Activity has a multitude of benefits for women’s health. Making joyful movement a priority can happen anywhere and anytime without any special equipment or membership. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. This can be any activity that gets the body moving like dancing, running, biking, rock climbing and even gardening. Try to choose a strength-based activity at least twice a week to build muscle and improve bone density. Honor your body when it comes to physical activity: if you’re skipping meals, dehydrated or injured, it may be more important to focus on increasing your nutrient intake, prioritizing hydration or healing an injury before ramping up physical activity.

3. Keep Food in Mind with Reproductive Health

During reproductive years women experience menstrual cycles, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and possibly even premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Depending on your stage of life, fertility, hormonal contraceptives and sexual health might also be at the forefront of your mind. Having a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and protein can help have a positive impact on your reproductive health.

After a female’s fertile years, they enter menopause. Menopause is when a woman goes more than 12 months without a period. After menopause, metabolism tends to slow down, and fewer calories are needed throughout the day. Eating fewer calories doesn’t mean that you should skip meals, instead, it could look like choosing smaller portions with meals and snacks. Eating a variety of foods to maximize nutritional intake is important for aging women as a preventive approach to chronic disease. Eating enough protein and maintaining muscle mass is also important for post-menopausal women to keep moving longer.

4. Consider Micronutrients for Women

Specific micronutrients for women’s health include iron (found in meat, seafood, beans, tofu, and spinach), calcium (found in dairy, seeds and beans), and folic acid (found in dark leafy greens, legumes and eggs). The need for these nutrients changes across lifespan and during pregnancy. The best way to get adequate nutrients is through eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods. Women’s multivitamins or specific vitamins/minerals can be beneficial if someone is struggling to get enough nutrients from food, have a vitamin deficiency or are pregnant. Speak to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian before starting any new supplement or vitamin.

5. Utilize Food as Medicine

Women are at risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, stroke and diabetes. Having a balanced diet with a variety of nutrients and exercising regularly can all be a part of a preventive approach to lowering your risk of developing these conditions.

6. Prioritize Self-care

  • Reduce Stress: High-stress levels can affect your overall well-being. Find ways throughout the week to reduce stress with activities you enjoy. Your mental and emotional health is important and worth taking the time to address.
  • Seek Preventive Care: Schedule regular appointments with your primary care physician and a gynecologist.
  • Avoid Skipping Meals: Even though life can get busy, it’s important to take the time to feed yourself throughout the day. Skipping meals can put someone at risk for a decreased consumption of nutrients and adequate energy the body needs.

Food is only one piece of the puzzle. Our genetics, environment, hormones, medications, mental health and underlying diseases all play a part, but food, mindfulness and exercise are areas that we can use in aiding the prevention of diseases. If you would like to speak to a registered dietitian regarding ways you can use nutrition and lifestyle changes to take charge of your health, schedule a Telenutrition appointment here.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.