We live in a time where “women can do anything” in terms of careers, we have more access to information on women’s health and we have more say on what happens to our bodies. I say this from my office in New Zealand, knowing the story is not the same for every female on our planet but I can’t help wishing that it was.
We’re passionate about supporting our health naturally from plant food sources and here’s a few ideas to support women’s health:
Calcium has had a bit of bad press lately, and there are some calcium supplements made from chalk or crushed cow bones that do not get absorbed easily, but plant-based calcium with naturally occurring co-factors for good absorption has a place in supporting healthy bones, teeth and nails. Taking calcium ideally starts with supporting our young women as they grow, especially through their teenage years. It is so important to make sure they have the right nutrients to grow strong bones to set them up for a healthy life ahead. Those who have a reduced calcium intake, through a restricted diet, would benefit from taking a plant sourced calcium supplement to top up their levels. As our hormones decrease around menopause time we start to need extra support to keep our bones strong. Of course along with calcium we know that exercise also plays a part in the strong bones story, so it is important to do weight bearing exercise like jogging and walking, up-hill walking for the strength of the outside of our bones, and weights or resistance training for muscle strength. All important in the goal to avoid having a green Zimmer frame as a fashion accessory in our twilight years!
Cranberry – that tart juicy little red berry is packed with antioxidants to support cellular health including our heart and skin. It is well known that cranberry helps to stop the bacteria, of a urinary tract infection (UTI), from sticking to the walls of the bladder. This can reduce the duration, or occurrences of UTIs which can have long-term positive effects on the health of the urinary system including our kidneys. Elderly people who are inactive run an increased risk of chronic bladder infections, so a daily maintenance dose of cranberry can have a positive impact on their quality of life. Cranberry also supports digestion of food, and the health of the digestive system. Recent studies show cranberry can help stop the h-pylori bacteria from adhering to the walls of the stomach, which looks positive in the on-going search for a treatment for stomach ulcers caused by the bacteria.
Flaxseeds (sometimes called linseeds) have been cultivated and consumed for thousands of years. They are a good source of fibre for regular bowel motions and to keep us feeling fuller for longer, both actions can be helpful for those looking for support in weight management. Flaxseeds are the top source of ligans in our western diet. Ligans are unique fibre-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance, cellular and bowel health. They are the richest sources of a plant-based omega fatty acid, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the world!
The ALA fats in flaxseeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness for skin, and glossy hydrated hair. This also applies to eye health as ALA can reduce dry eye symptoms. Recent studies have also shown benefits for breast health from a daily dose of omegas.
So let’s take time to celebrate our successes. It is up each amazing woman to take charge of their own destiny and health, to reach out a helping hand to those who need support, to make sure we stay strong and vitalised throughout all our wonderful lives.
Karin Spicer N.D, Dip Med Herb