Women's Health Center
General Health InformationWomen need special attention to maintain optimal health through their body’s many changes and cycles throughout life … most notably menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. A woman’s nutritional and lifestyle requirements modify each time her body passes into another phase. A woman should be sensitive to the needs of her ever-changing body to insure smooth transitions into and through its many cycles.
Dietary and lifestyle habits early on in life can help to reduce a woman’s risk of osteoporosis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. A diet rich in calcium throughout life can help build strong bones long before the onset of menopause, when the bones begin to thin. Adequate calcium intake is also beneficial before, during, and after pregnancy. During gestation, the baby uses some of the mother’s store of calcium for their own new bone formation. Providing the unborn baby with plenty of calcium while replenishing the mother’s stores of calcium is crucial to the good health of them both.
Another mineral that is important to a woman’s good health is iron. Iron is lost in the blood flow during monthly menstruation. In order to prevent iron deficiency anemia, adequate intake of iron is necessary. Adequate amounts of iron are also necessary during pregnancy because of the increased blood volume required by the addition of the fetus. In fact, more of all nutrients are needed to ensure the good health of both mother and the unborn baby.
Breast, cervical, uterine, endometrial, colorectal, and ovarian cancers are common among women. While the causes of cancer are only partially understood, proper diet, exercise, and good lifestyle habits can play a role in prevention. Increased dietary fat and body fat can add to a woman’s risk of developing cancer. Exercise plus a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber can help in the prevention of cancer. Avoiding food additives, environmental toxins, smoking, and moderating alcohol intake are also helpful. And, since some cancers can take up to ten years or more before they develop clinical signs, women should develop these healthy diet and lifestyle patterns early in life as well as having a physical exam each year.
A natural supply of estrogen hormone through the child-bearing years tends to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems for women. But from the onset of menopause on, women are no longer protected by natural estrogen and become more prone to developing cardiovascular problems. But estrogen is not the only factor that helps to promote cardiovascular health. A diet low in fat and sugar that is high in fiber also helps to ensure good cardiovascular function. Reducing stress and increasing exercise is also beneficial to a healthy cardiovascular system. Eliminating chemical additives, environmental toxins, and smoking are also helpful. This cardioprotective lifestyle is most beneficial when adopted early in life.
There are numerous supplements that can assist women through menopause, protect against osteoporosis, and reduce cancer risks. These include soy isoflavones, black cohosh, calcium and magnesium, and others. Consult your physician or pharmacist for proper guidance when considering supplementing your diet. There are some supplements that all women should consider taking throughout life including high quality multivitamins and minerals, calcium and magnesium, soy, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.
These products are recommended by licensed pharmacists who have specialized in natural medicines and dietary supplements. For maximum benefit from these recommendations, be sure to read the Wellness Center Guidelines.
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