There is so much wisdom in the popular phrase ‘Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ from the famous Father of Medicine (Hippocrates (400 BC). This phrase is often used to emphasise the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease.
So how can we take this message to heart – putting it in place in a meaningful way every day?
Here are the top 10 ways to transform your diet for Women’s Wellness:
Chew, Chew, Chew
All too often we gulp down our food rushing from one activity to the next missing out on the true enjoyment of the meal and upsetting our digestive process.
Take the time to sit down and truly enjoy your meals – chew slowly and chew your food well, savouring that delicious flavour as well as kick starting the all-important digestive process.
Reduce Portion Sizes
Try using a smaller plate for your meals and focus on quality over quantity. If you are heading out to a restaurant you can try asking for a take-away container at the beginning of the meal and put some of your meal aside to eat later.
Eat More Fruits & Vegetables
Quality foods include eating moderate amounts of fruits and lots of vegetables every day. Limit the higher glycemic fruits like bananas and starchy vegetables like potatoes and choose nutrition-rich, low calorie green vegetables and high-fibre fruits like berries, apples and pears.
Eat Healthier Sources of Protein
There are lots of healthy sources of protein to consider in your diet (including meat for you meat eaters but not too much) including nuts, seeds and legumes (like beans).
When you do eat meat consider organic, hormone-free, grass-fed meat and poultry where possible and do trim any visible fat.
Eliminate Processed Foods & Refined Sugars
Foods in brightly coloured packets that have been processed and are sugar-laden often appear in the middle aisles of the supermarket. It’s a good idea to get savvy about what is actually in these foods. Foods such as cereals, cakes, biscuits, cheese, tinned vegetables, bread and deli meats, and soda are good examples of these processed foods. Added preservatives, artificial sweeteners and excess sugar can alter our mood, cause weight gain and leech calcium from our bones.
Go organic where possible. Organic produce is grown in mineral rich soil where crops are rotated from year to year allowing produce to retain their nutrients, as opposed to produce bought in the supermarkets grown using traditional agricultural practises where produce are often depleted of vitamins and minerals. Also, your organic produce has not been sprayed with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or hormones.
We know that healthy fats are indeed good for us (no more low fat diet fads!) – we need them for our brain and nervous system, and to feel we have had enough to eat. Healthy fats also provide us with healthy hormone production. Look to minimise or eliminate full-fat dairy products, fried foods and processed foods and focus on polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in nuts, oily fish, avocado, olive oil and flaxseed oil.
Incorporate Japanese into your menu – the seaweed and fish are a great sources of minerals. If you are suffering from symptoms of menopause or have a thyroid condition these important minerals (such as iodine) will be especially helpful to you. You may like to consider having miso soup, sushi and/or seaweed salad a couple of times per week.
Eat More High-Fibre Foods
Aim for high fibre vegetables to support a healthy gut microbiome and great gut health!
High fibre vegetables include:
Beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, chickpeas, eggplant, collards, kale, lima beans, mushrooms, spinach and sweet potatoes
High fibre fruit includes:
Apples, avocado, bananas, berries: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries etc
Calcium Rich Foods
Include calcium rich foods in your diet.
Collards, broccoli, kale and spinach (remember to cook these to remove their goitrogenic potential to slow down your thyroid and contribute to under-active thyroid)
Sea vegetables like wakame, kombu and dulse in small amounts are a great calcium source
If you are peri-menopausal you may need to include a good calcium supplement (1000-1200 mg daily) whereas menopausal women require at least 1500 mg of calcium daily to help prevent loss of bone mineral density.