Herbfacts

Women’s wellbeing: female health issues

There are many health areas specifically affecting women which diet and nutrition can really help. 

Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares some top tips for women to help them combat some of the more common female health issues.

PMS OR MENOPAUSE: EAT MORE SALMON

Salmon is packed full of many health-giving nutrients, the most notable being omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for healthy skin, the heart, brain and joints.  Of even greater interest for women is that omega 3’s convert into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are essential for keeping female hormones in balance.

Therefore, if you are suffering with PMS or menopausal symptoms then one of the best foods you can eat is salmon. All oily fish contains omega 3’s, so mackerel and sardines are also great to include in the diet. If you’re vegetarian or don’t like fish, then adding some flaxseeds to cereal or porridge and eating walnuts, almonds and a variety of seeds, will help top up your levels of omega 3’s.

URINARY HEALTH: DRINK CRANBERRY JUICE

Unfortunately, many women suffer from cystitis on a regular basis, which often becomes more problematic leading up to and during the menopause.  Cranberries have long been associated with helping combat urinary tract infections, so it makes sense for women to include them in the daily diet as much as possible.

They contain a substance called proanthocyanidins, which help to prevent E-coli bacteria from attaching themselves to the lining of the bladder. The best way of getting a high concentration of cranberries is to drink unsweetened cranberry juice, which is readily available in the supermarkets, or take a food supplement.

HORMONE HEALTH: EAT FERMENTED FOODS

Fermented foods are certainly hot right now, but they are not a new way of eating for Asian cultures; think sauerkraut, miso, plain yoghurt, kefir and pickled foods. Women in Asia appear to have considerably fewer hormonal issues, menopausal symptoms or hormonally-driven cancers within these cultures, which could be linked to these fermented foods.

The most common form of fermentation is a process called lacto fermentation.  This creates an array of probiotics, which, in turn, have an amazingly beneficial effect on female hormones.  They help the body to excrete unwanted hormones and encourage the process of detoxification.  Additionally, probiotics have a very positive effect on the digestive and immune systems.

So, with some simple changes or additions to the daily diet, all women can enjoy better health.