Women’s Health: Stay Strong and Healthy

National Women’s Health Week starts on Mother’s Day annually. This year it started on May 9 and continues through May 16, 2021. This yearly observance is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and to provide steps to take to improve their health.

The basics of women’s health are the same as those for men—eat healthy foods, get adequate amounts of exercise for your age and current state of health, get plenty of restful sleep, refrain from smoking and only drink alcohol in moderation. Nevertheless, there are certain aspects of Active Wellness that are specific to women.

Women have some unique nutritional needs, for example, needing more of certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy or after menopause. Calcium, iron and folic acid are particularly important for women from puberty onward.1 Since women’s bones are more prone to becoming brittle, especially in their senior years, consuming enough calcium and retaining it in the body is an important aspect of women’s health starting from youth—this helps create healthful eating habits early on.

Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk and foods made with milk. Between 30 million and 50 million Americans are lactose-intolerant, meaning have trouble digesting foods with lactose in them.2 Although this is common, lactose intolerance raises a woman’s risk of health issues related to osteoporosis. Women who are lactose intolerant should take special care to obtain enough non-dairy calcium in their diets or through supplementation.

Women are more prone to iron deficiency, the cause of anemia.3 Like eating calcium-rich foods to maintain healthy bones for a lifetime, eating iron-rich foods supports Active Wellness. Taking iron supplements may be helpful but may have the undesired side effects of constipation.

On average, adult women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day.4 Women who are more physically active may need more calories than those who are more sedentary, as muscles hasten metabolism. The basis of how many calories you personally can consume without weight gain depends on your age, height, current weight, and activity level.

Pregnant women require different nutritional needs than during other stages of their lives. For most normal-weight pregnant women, the estimated number of calories needed is about 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester, about 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester and about 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester.5 Pregnant women should also drink plenty of fluids, avoid drinks with caffeine and sugar, and take a prenatal vitamin.

An additional 450 to 500 calories per day is recommended for well-nourished breastfeeding mothers, compared with the amount they were consuming before pregnancy. The number of additional calories needed for an individual breastfeeding woman is also affected by her age, body mass index, activity level, and extent of breastfeeding (exclusively breastfeeding versus breastfeeding and formula feeding).6

Although Women’s Health Week ends on May 16, all of May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Take a deep breath and embrace your inner power—now is the best time to get healthier and stronger!

1, 3, 4  https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-and-women#6

2 https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/food-allergies-and-sensitivities/lactose-intolerance

5 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000584.htm

6 https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html#:~:text=An%20additional%20450%20to%20500,per%20day%20for%20moderately%20active

Be Sure to Take Care of Your Bones While Housebound!

As we are staying home more than usual during these unprecedented times, we tend to be less physically active. We need to make a special effort to get our bodies moving on a daily basis, not only for our health’s sake but specifically to keep our bones strong. Here’s why it’s so important to keep up the practice of Active Wellness:

  • When bones and muscles do not get adequate stimulation, that is, through movement and exercise, bone resorption quickens. Bone resorption refers to bone loss. 1
  • Vitamin D levels are critical for bone health, and staying indoors decreases exposure to the sun, the natural source of vitamin D.
  • We might be making fewer trips to shop for fresh groceries and eating fewer fresh leafy green vegetables, fruits, and dairy products, all good sources of calcium and vitamin D. Eating ready-made or processed foods may deprive us the nutrients that are necessary to help protect, build and maintain bones.
  • Strength-building and weight-bearing exercises provide great stimulation to the bone cells and help to increase bone mineral density and bone size. The good news is that these types of exercises can be accomplished by stair climbing, walking, lifting weights and dancing, all of which can be accomplished indoors.
  • Decreasing contact with others and staying homebound can cause mental stress. Social media shows evidence of increased smoking and alcohol intake by members of various age groups. Unfortunately, smoking and excessive alcohol intake contribute to bone loss and weakening of bones by reducing blood supply to the bones, slowing production of bone-forming cells and impairing the absorption of calcium.2

In summary, there are simple things to do to help maintain bone health. They’re the same habits we should form even when we have the freedom of going out whenever we want:

  • Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in calcium and vitamin D. If your access to fresh food is limited, remember that staples such as canned beans and canned fish contain calcium and protein.
  • Set aside 30 minutes a day to exercise. If you can go outdoors and enjoy sunshine for some of that time, even better.
  • Maintain your body at a weight that is comfortable for you. This is not a time to try and lose a lot of weight. In fact, being too thin makes you more likely to get osteoporosis, but carrying too much weight can increase the risk of falling or leading to a more sedentary lifestyle.
  • Ensure your home environment is free of clutter and any obstacles that may cause you to fall. Now more than ever, staying fracture-free is critical, especially if you already have osteoporosis.3 Minimize the need to go to a hospital.
  • Ensure a daily calcium intake that is age-appropriate.

If you don’t normally take a nutritional supplement to help boost your bone health, this may be the perfect time to start. Why not try Kenzen BDZ® and Kenzen® Calcium Complex? At Nikken, we call them“bone buddies”because they are formulated to work together. Kenzen BDZ™ helps the body absorb calcium with three patented blends that research has shown to help preserve bone structure and strength and to build healthy bones.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 

1, 2 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/what-do-we-need-to-know-about-our-bone-health-during-this-pandemic/articleshow/77588729.cms

3 https://osteoporosis.ca/your-bone-health-during-covid-19/