About 90-95% of my clients are women so I think it is only natural that I have a special interest in women's health. That and I am a woman who has battled with my own health concerns (birth control pills, hormonal imbalances and acne), so I understand the struggle.
Here are a couple of the top women's health issues and what you can do about it:
Under Active Thyroid: Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is the most common thyroid issues in North America. This condition primarily effects middle age women and common side effects include fatigue, slowed metabolism, depression, hair loss, weight gain and constipation. Eating too much or too little iodine, radiation and certain medication can all be causes of under active thyroid. If you struggle with constant fatigue, I always recommend clients get their T3/T4 and TSH levels checked. Include brazil nuts, sea salt, seaweed and algae such as spirulina for sources of iodine and selenium to help support healthy thyroid levels.
Acne: This one is a common one I hear from girls, especially in their mid 20's. While the direct cause of acne can often be hard to determine, typically I look at detoxifying the liver and balancing hormones. I also look at cutting out common allergens such as dairy and wheat. Include lots of green leafy vegetables, organic and lean protein sources such as chicken and wild caught fish, low glycemic fruits such as pears, apple or berries. Get enough sleep, drink lots of water, alkalize the diet and look after digestion.
Hormonal Imbalances: Most girls I know are on some form of birth control whether it is the IUD or the pill. Common issues that come up are digestive issues (copper can disrupt the good bacteria), feelings of depression or anxiety, water retention and bloating, weight gain and acne. Typically to balance out hormones I recommend focusing on gut health (lots of probiotics), including omega 3 fatty acids such as fish or flax seed oil, limiting sugar, alcohol and caffeine and supplementing with adaptogens such as maca or ashwagandha.
Eating Disorders and Body Image Issues: A topic I am so passionate about and comes up more often than not. I have helped quite a few women who have battled with eating disorders and it can always be difficult to address. Eating disorders can range from anorexia, bulimia or orthorexia. It might even mean an unhealthy relationship with food, obsessing over it or having feelings of guilt around food.
As a Nutritionist, I often feel huge pressure to look a certain way. When I first started, I thought I had to look a certain way and be a certain size in order to be taken seriously. That was farthest from the truth. Educating myself on how my body works, practising some self love and being kinder to myself has made all the difference in the world. I sometimes still catch myself being critical of myself and my image and when I do I practice these things:
Take a couple deep breaths.
Say something nice to yourself in the mirror(I know it sounds cheesy but it works).
Get out of your head -go for a walk or out for a coffee with a friend, read your favourite book.
Restrict the amount of time you spend on social media and stop the comparison game.
Stop following those who make you feel bad about yourself and start following people who motivate you.
Do NOT step on the scale.
Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, I strongly encourage you to speak with a professional to address any underlying issues.
Depression and Anxiety: I would say on average 8/10 people that I help have some form of anxiety or depression and are on pharmaceutical drugs to help manage it. This again, is something I am so passionate about. One of my goals as a health practitioner is to help people either avoid having to use these forms of medication or come off of them all together. A couple of tips to help boost your mood
are including omega 3 fatty acids in the diet (flaxseeds, oily fish such as salmon, nuts and seeds), foods rich in b-vitamins such as whole grains like quinoa, oats and brown rice and nutritional yeast. Include sources of magnesium sources such as dark chocolate, green leafy veggies, avocados, beans and bananas. Be mindful of food allergies that could be triggering feelings of depression. I always recommend tracking a food log to notice any patterns.
Be sure to address the spiritual aspect along side nutrition when it comes to anxiety or depression. Do more things that you love, manage stress levels and get in a healthy dose of exercise.
I hope these tips helped you and as always, I am here for questions!