So What is a Healthy Diet for Women?
A hundred years ago our families never stressed about overweight, popped supplements, or chewed antacid tablets like candy. They had the right idea. They followed healthy lifestyles, took natural exercise, and ate the right foods. Naturally, they did not invent this method, nor have specialists to ask what exactly a healthy diet is for women. They simply followed a healthy, organic eating plan that evolved over thousands of years.
A word of warning before I continue: Your life may not be quite the same if you read this article to the end, which I sure hope you will. But chill out and relax. I am not asking you to put on a hoop skirt and go out and till the fields. However you might become more selective about believing what supplement salespeople promise.
The Fundamentals of a Healthy Diet for Women
There is loads of evidence regarding the path to healthy eating for women. The overall mix includes unsaturated fats, whole grains, good protein packages, and fruit and vegetables. However, trans- and saturated fats, sugary drinks, and highly refined grains run counter to this culture. As far back as 2010 a leading scientist advised against taking a multivitamin with folic acid and extra vitamin D as a nutritional safety net. So what we are saying is nothing new.
If we stick to a healthy diet it could carry us comfortably through pregnancy to middle age, and even into our senior years. If you have a boyfriend and they complain about ‘parrot food’ tell them it will make them good and strong in ways they only talk about in locker rooms. A healthy diet for women means more fun in the bedroom every night. Do I have your attention yet? I’ll bet I do!
The Three Elements of Healthy Nutrition
Ask the average doctor or the people at the pre-natal clinic about a healthy diet for women, and the chances are they will ho-hum with generalities. The truth is we are so confused with advertising hype we lost direction about the basics. The other thing that changed is we are going to live into our eighties, when food will play an increasing role in inviting, or fending off cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis, and loss of vision. So we need to do something about this now.
The First Element: Dietary Fats
There are four types of dietary fats, some (but not all) of which are an essential part of a healthy diet for women:
- Trans Fats from partly-hydrogenated oils from red meat and dairy products increase the possibility of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, gall stones, dementia, and weight gain.
- Saturated Fats from red meat and dairy which are usually solid at room temperature are part of a healthy diet provided they are under 8% of daily calorie intake. More than that, and we are inviting cardiovascular disease.
- Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats from vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and fish. These are an important part of a healthy diet and we can’t have too much of them.
- However the real heroes are Polyunsaturated Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These moderate our bad cholesterol LDL, elevate our HDL, stabilize our heart rhythms, and increase our sensitivity to insulin.
The Second Element: Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, saccharides, or simply carbs are in high quantities in breads, pastas, cereals, rice, potatoes, and beans. As U.S. women gradually decreased their intake of dietary fats, the proportion of carbohydrates increased. However, there is a catch. Highly processed grains including white flour and white rice lose much of their nutritional value, increasing our triglyceride and reducing our good cholesterol HDL intake.
Therefore, a healthy diet for women means monitoring our glycemic levels regularly to check for blood-sugar spikes after consuming these unhealthy carbohydrates. High glycemic responses increase the chances of type 2 diabetes, coronary heath disease, and perhaps even ovulatory infertility.
The Third Element: Proteins
Proteins are one of the four building blocks of life. Our bodies cannot function properly without them, and therefore they are a core aspect of any healthy diet for women. We obtain them from meat, fish, poultry, beans, eggs and nuts and seeds. The actual source would not make a difference, were it not for how our bodies process protein molecules down the line. The answer lies in the fats, carbohydrates, sodium, and other nutrients in the package deal.
A twenty-year nurses’ health study revealed eating more protein from beans, nuts and seeds, while reducing animal protein reduced the risk of heart disease. Eating more fruit and vegetables was something our mothers drummed into us, although the people in the fast food industry – and perhaps we – never listened much.
A Healthy Diet for Women Means Plenty Fruit and Veg
A healthy diet for women should include five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you are feeling guilty you are not alone. Only one in four women in the United States follows this advice. From a woman to a woman pretty please try a little harder. There is a strong connection between health, and fruit and vegetables in diet. And there is a lesser chance of esophageal, stomach, lung, and colorectal cancer too.
Most of us grew into unhealthy diets as kids because that was the time the fast food industry arrived and to be honest we had no idea the impact it would have. Stand by for our next post in about two weeks’ time. when we suggest a few baby steps to get you started in ways you will actually enjoy. None of the above will achieve full potential, unless you take the regular exercise we offer on this site. See you at the gym soon! Remember your fruit and veg snacks.