As women get older, they experience a number of changes, including an increase in fat and a loss of muscle mass and bone density. Women often gain weight, grow hair where they don’t want it, are subject to mood disorders and anxiety, and suffer from hormone imbalances that can cause a whole host of other symptoms.
As women age, they get more wrinkles and their hair may start to turn gray. Blood vessels stiffen, causing their hearts to have to work harder, sometimes increasing the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
The brain doesn’t function as well either, and women have to be on the lookout for impaired cognitive abilities that could be signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Changes in the large intestine can result in constipation, and a woman’s bladder becomes less elastic over time, meaning women often have to urinate more often. A weakening of bladder muscles and pelvic floor muscles can make it hard for a woman to empty her bladder completely or cause her to lose bladder control altogether.
While all of these things are upsetting to think of by themselves, a combination of these conditions can limit the daily activities of many women—and can even be life-threatening. But don’t despair. There are a number of things you can do in consultation with a health and wellness professional that can help you lead a healthy, active life as you age.
Exercise Is One of the Best Natural Women’s Health Routines
One of the best ways a woman can maintain physical health and mental well-being is to engage in physical activities. (But as with any lifestyle change, you should always consult with your primary care provider or a healthcare professional before beginning any sort of rigorous exercise routine). Healthy women should engage in 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. Aerobic activity is considered any exercise that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe harder. It can be anything from walking at a brisk pace to a moderate jog, dancing, riding a bike, swimming, or engaging in a team sport such as basketball or volleyball.
Muscle strengthening is also important as women age. Resistance band training and weight training are great ways to increase bone density and add muscle, which burns more calories than fat. But again, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or a personal trainer before embarking on any sort of weight or resistance band training.
Physical activity can also get you on the path to losing unwanted pounds. Women who are obese might need to exercise more and eat less, but they could also be suffering from hormonal imbalances of leptin and insulin, of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, and of growth hormones. Menopause is the primary reason women suffer from a hormonal imbalance, but inadequate nutrition and environmental toxins could also be the reason why some women have hormonal struggles and can’t lose weight.
The Fight-or-Flight Response Can Deplete a Woman’s Body of Necessary Nutrients
Stress also takes its toll on your physical and mental well-being, and it affects your hormone levels and how your body processes nutrients. Stress and anxiety can spark “flight-or-fight” reactions in a woman’s body. When faced with a stressful situation, your hypothalamus, a gland in the brain that is part of your endocrine system, produces a neurotransmitter to another gland in your endocrine system, the adrenals, which release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. In ancient times, these hormones were meant to either get humans ready to fight or to run, speeding up the heart to send blood pulsing to muscles and other important organs.
But in modern times, women don’t have to flee from saber-toothed tigers or save their children from a marauding band of Neanderthals. Nonetheless, the endocrine system doesn’t know that, and the stress hormones can have a negative effect on overall health, stressing out the cardiovascular system and creating a hormonal imbalance that creates a number of cascading responses in the body.
Some behaviors that may contribute to stress include over or under-eating, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal, all of which can make it more difficult to address women’s health issues.
A health and wellness expert within the BodyLogicMD network can help you find the reasons why you might be feeling down or lethargic, or why you can’t lose weight. They will sit down with you one-on-one and listen to your concerns, evaluate your physical and mental condition, and test your blood for any abnormalities. Then they will tailor a plan specific to your needs that might include daily activity, a nutrition or diet regimen, bioidentical hormone replacement, and dietary supplements.
What Are the Best Women’s Health Supplements?
The health and wellness experts within the BodyLogicMD network know how to use supplements to promote women’s health and utilize BodyLogicMD’s complete line of supplements, including high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade vitamins and minerals that are more potent and meet much higher standards than over-the-counter supplements.
BodyLogicMD also has a specialized line of daily packs, specifically designed with women’s health in mind to supply you with the necessary vitamins and minerals that are essential for health, cognitive ability, and energy.
The daily packs, which are fully customizable, include a number of minerals like iron. A deficiency of iron can lower your immunity, decrease your energy, cause hair loss, and make it harder to exercise. Antioxidants are also an important part of any supplement package. Antioxidants bond with free radicals, the leftovers in your body after oxygen has been burned for energy, and eliminate them before they can cause damage to your muscles and organs. Common antioxidants include:
- Beta carotene and other carotenoids
- Vitamin A
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin E
- Other phytonutrients
Vitamin A supports cell growth and plays a vital role in the function and health of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs. Beta carotene and other carotenoids are converted into vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids can be found in foods such as:
- Sweet potatoes
B vitamins are essential for the body to properly digest sugars and starches and for hormone production. These vitamins convert hormones into active or inactive forms, help direct hormones to the appropriate destination in a woman’s body, and control hormone levels by helping to eliminate excess hormones.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women of reproductive age take 400 micrograms of folic acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9, each day. Folic acid helps women’s bodies make new cells and supports the healthy growth of skin, hair, and nails. Folic acid is also important for pregnant women, because it can help prevent major birth defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, aids in healing wounds and helps your body make red blood cells. This vitamin boosts noradrenaline levels, a brain chemical that increases alertness and makes it easier to concentrate. As women get older, or when they are experiencing stress, vitamin C levels can drop. The best foods for vitamin C include:
A deficiency of vitamin D3 has been connected to a number of maladies in women, including severe premenstrual stress, breast cancer, arthritis, depression, heart disease, and bone fractures. The sun’s rays are naturally converted into vitamin D3 by human skin, but most Americans don’t spend enough time in the sun and don’t have enough vitamin D3 circulating in their system.
Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, boosts heart health, helps keep cells healthy, and may slow signs of aging, such as wrinkly skin. The best foods for vitamin E are:
- Corn oil
- Cod liver oil
- Peanut butter
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat germ
Essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and omega-6s are well-known for the many ways they support health across the body’s systems. Omega-3s and omega-6s are polyunsaturated fatty acids, long chains of carbon atoms with a carboxyl group at one end of the chain and a methyl group at the other. Omega-3s help the body maintain the structures of its cell membranes, they provide energy, and they are used to form eicosanoids, molecules that have singular importance in the functioning of the body’s cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune, and endocrine systems.
EPA and DHA, the most potent of the omega-3 fatty acids, support the cardiovascular system, enhance joint health, improve the immune system, and provide for superior brain function. Omega-3s can be found in seafood such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, or tuna.
Omega-6s also help produce eicosanoids that reduce inflammation, regulate the flow of blood, and help platelets form blood cells. Omega-6s can be found in walnuts, tofu, safflower oil, and chicken thighs. Magnesium, a mineral that helps your body manage other nutrients such as calcium, potassium and sodium, is another essential micro-nutrient. Without magnesium, you find yourself suffering from:
- Digestive disorders
- Chronic stress
- Muscle spasms
Lycopene, which is primarily found in tomatoes, is a powerful antioxidant in the carotenoid family. Lycopene has been shown to lower blood pressure, and recent studies have linked it to a reduced risk for cancers such as breast and lung. Lycopene, though not a substitute for sunscreen, can also offer protection from the harmful rays of sunlight.
Lutein, another carotenoid, can be used to help prevent eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa. Lutein supplementation could also be helpful in the prevention of colon and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Resveratrol, which is found in grape skin, berries, peanuts, soy, and tea made from Japanese knotweed, has been shown to have antioxidant effects. As an anti-inflammatory, it may help prevent cancer and slow down aging. Probiotics are also important because they help maintain digestive health. Recent research shows that bacteria in the gut affect physical and mental well-being. Those beneficial microbes require the appropriate nutrition. Without those microbes, women can have problems digesting food, keeping their energy levels up, and finding themselves getting sick on a regular basis. Probiotic supplements, such as those available through BodyLogicMD, can help women maintain a healthy gut and keep them active and in good vigor.
Don’t Do It Alone
Whether you think you need help losing weight, designing a diet or exercise plan, determining how a hormonal imbalance is affecting your daily life, or deciding what vitamins and supplements to add to your daily intake, it’s important that you consult with a dedicated healthcare professional who will listen to your unique concerns and evaluate your symptoms and conditions.
The health and wellness experts in the BodyLogicMD network are uniquely qualified to guide you down a path toward a healthy, more active life filled with joy and excitement. Contact BodyLogicMD today!
Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD and the owner and operator of BodyLogicMD of Orlando. Dr. Landa dedicates her practice to bioidentical hormone therapy, customized nutrition and fitness programs to help women and men resolve menopausal and andropausal symptoms, including weight gain, sexual dysfunction, declining energy levels and stress. As a former gynaecologist, Dr. Landa has always desired to help patients achieve wellness through hormone balance and preventive medicine.