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

Do You Know What Beta Glucans Are?

Medical experts have routinely stated that having a strong immune system is important for all people, especially for those more vulnerable to illness, that is, the elderly, chronically ill and immune-compromised. Consumers are looking for products and ingredients that help immune systems and beta glucans are one of the newest. They’re well-grounded in science with more than 1,000 published articles in the scientific literature attesting to their efficacy.1

Beta glucans are chains of glucose molecules that are naturally present and act as storage depots and structural components in bacteria, fungi, algae and cereals. Their chemical structure and composition as well as their molecular weight affect the extent to which they can stimulate and support the immune system. Beta glucans exert a prebiotic effect on the GI tract: they specifically fuel beneficial GI microbiota, enabling them to flourish and compete against pathogenic bacteria for space and food.

 While we think of the digestive tract primarily as the organ for digesting food and absorbing nutrients, it is also the body’s largest immune organ. Approximately 70% of immune cells reside in the human intestine.3 Feeding and maintaining the health of intestinal cells maintains GI tract integrity so it can act as a physical barrier to invading pathogens.

Because beta glucans are a type of soluble fiber, it can slow down the process of food moving through the intestines. By slowing down the digestive process, the body doesn’t absorb sugar as quickly and this helps stabilize blood sugar levels, an important benefit especially for diabetics. As beta glucans travel through the entire digestive tract, it can help transport cholesterol out, helping to lower levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a heart-healthy label for foods that have high amounts of beta glucan, based on this evidence.4

Like many fibers, beta glucans are available in supplement form. They are also found in various types of fungi, such as maitake and reishi mushrooms. Less known ingredients such as inulin and spirulina are also sources of beta glucans. More commonly, beta glucans are found in whole grains, oats, bran, wheat and barley.

Dietary fiber is sourced from plant-based foods, another good reason to incorporate them into an Active Wellness regimen. Many Nikken nutritional supplements contain an assortment of beta glucans. Check out Kenzen® Immunity, Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox, Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0, Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix, Kenzen® Jade GreenZymes®, Kenzen® Digestion 4-20 and Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix.

 

1, 2, 3 Nutraceuticals World, April 2020, pp.24-25

4 https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-glucan-heart-healthy#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1