All posts in Women’s Health

Multivitamins: Bridging the Nutrient Gap

A recent study that followed women for more than 20 years reports that women who took multivitamin-mineral supplement for three years or more were significantly less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Simply put, multivitamins are dietary supplements that come in tablet, capsule or pill form and provide you with an array of essential vitamins and minerals.

As it currently stands, more than half of all American adults take multivitamins or other dietary supplements, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though experts say food is still your most important source of nutrients, they also say meeting daily dietary needs is vital to long-term health. Supplements can help you fill in nutritional gaps.

Most nutritional needs can be met through a healthy, balanced diet, but many women, especially older women, can benefit from a good multivitamin.

The multivitamin should contain:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Folic Acid
  • Beta-carotene
  • B6 and B12
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

If you’d like to know more about multivitamins – what they can AND cannot do – WebMD has a page that can serve as a great resource.

Of course, before you begin taking any vitamins, consult your doctor. You never know how your pre-existing medical conditions or current medications will affect how your body responds to multivitamins.




High Heels Worth the Pain?

Ladies, let’s chat about your high heels.

We know they can be super stylish, pretty and sexy. But we also know they’re not good for your back.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that these (admittedly beautiful) shoes can take a negative toll on your ankles, spine, hips, knees – and not to mention your feet. And they do this damage all while shifting your posture and gait.

And, a recent study from Stanford University found that heels 3 1/2 inches or higher put so much stress on women’s knees, it could increase the risk for osteoarthritis.

But we know some of you are die-hard fans of high heels, so what’s a girl to do? Well, according to the American Osteopathic Association, regular stretching of the plantar fascia and calves will loosen hamstrings and work to alleviate back pain from your high heels. They recommend stretching before and after long periods in heels and sneaking in some foot work during breaks in your day.

Try this stretching routine during your next break:

  • Lay a book with a one-inch spine on the floor.
  • While standing, place the ball of your right foot on the book and rest your heel on the ground.
  • Bend forward at the waist and try to grab the toes on the book. (If you need to bend your knees a little, that’s OK).
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Switch feet. Repeat two to three times.

Gradually increase the height of the book by 1-inch increments per week to a maximum of 3 inches.


How More Should I Eat During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, women tend to place the health and welfare of their unborn babies at the top of their priority list. But with all the preparing and worrying and excitement that come along with having a new baby, it can be easy to forget that the health of the mother is just as important.Pregnancy diet

One of the easiest ways to increase the chances of a problem-free pregnancy for expecting mothers is to eat a healthy diet. In addition to being key for mothers, a healthy diet is critical to a baby’s growth and development.

Nearly all women need to add more of these to their diet when they’re expecting:

  • protein – the amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of your body’s cells – and of your baby’s body, too
  • vitamins and minerals – such as folic acid for baby’s brain health and iron for mom’s hemoglobin production
  • calories – for energy

When it comes to how MUCH the mother-to-be needs to eat during pregnancy, you might be surprised.

If you start your pregnancy at a healthy weight, you don’t need any additional calories in the first trimester. In the second trimester, you only need about 340 extra calories – or, for example, a fruit smoothie made with 2% milk.

And in the third trimester, when the baby is doing most of his growing, you need an additional 450 calories, which is the equivalent of a blueberry muffin from Starbucks.

However, if you’re underweight or overweight, you’ll need more or less than this, depending on your weight gain goal.


Tips for Holiday Shopping

The day after Thanksgiving is a milestone of sorts in America. It reminds us of just how quickly the year has gone by – and how close we are to the holiday season.  And until we flip the calendar over to a new year, the chaos just doesn’t let up.  Our bodies can sometimes have a hard time keeping up with everything you want them to do.  With the added stress of the season, we need to do everything we can to help our bodies keep up.  Eat right, drink plenty of water, stretch, exercise and take a few minutes to slow down and reflect on what the season is all about.  So here are a few tips to keep in mind while searching for that incredible deal:

 1.  Stay hydrated: Drink eight to ten –ounce glasses of water a day. On shopping days, you may need to drink more.

2. Stretch: Make sure you stretch. When you are stressed-out, your muscles are not as flexible.

3. Foot wear: Wear shoes with plenty of cushioning in the sole to absorb the impact of walking on those hard shopping mall floors. One study showed that 60% of women report wearing uncomfortable shoes when they shop.

4. Clothing: Make sure to wear layers as you will be going from cold to warm.

5. Leave that heavy purse at home:  Leave your purse at home and only bring your driver’s license and credit card or important identification cards. You can also wear a light fanny pack.

6. Frequent Breaks: Plan frequent breaks during your heavy shopping days. Take a break every 45 minutes. 30 minutes if you have less stamina.  Try to eat light foods. Skip the coffee. Coffee and sodas add stress to your body.

7. Lockers: If possible, obtain a locker. Lockers can cut down dramatically on how much you have to carry around. If your mall or shopping center does not offer lockers, try to plan frequent trips to your car. Don’t carry around more than is absolutely necessary.

8. Diet: We need to eat better around the holidays. On average, people gain 5 to 6 pounds. Eating a heavy meal and then running around shopping can be very dangerous.


Tips for the Fashion Conscious

Looking your best might not always be the best thing for you. Today’s society is extremely fashion and style conscious. Unfortunately, clothing designers and stylists aim to please by creating unique looks that might not always be practical or even comfortable. In today’s society, it might be important to you to look fashionable, but it is more important to choose clothes, shoes and bags that are comfortable and that suit your style. By following and remembering these simple steps, it is possible to look and feel your best.

1.  Choose Comfortable & Supportive Shoes:  Designer spikes or non-supportive loafers may look nice but do not allow for easy, symmetrical walking.  If you must wear high heels, bring a pair of flat shoes along with you to change into should your heels become uncomfortable. If you walk to work, wear flat shoes and change into your more fashionable shoes when you arrive to alleviate any pain or discomfort.  If the shoe is uncomfortable while standing, chances are it will not be any more comfortable while walking. The wrong shoe can affect the body’s center of gravity putting pressure on your lower back.

2. Sitting:  Whether or not you are wearing heels, it is important to take frequent stretch breaks to alleviate atrophy of the hamstring muscles.

3. Tight Clothing: Avoid excessive wear of tight pants or clothing. If you prefer tighter clothes, choose styles that allow you to perform daily tasks with ease.

4. Distribute Weight While Carrying a Bag:  Select a briefcase or purse with a wide strap. Ideally, the strap should be long enough to place over the head. This evenly distributes the bulk of the weight across the body.  When carrying a bag or briefcase, switch sides frequently to avoid placing the burden of the weight on one side. Take the time to empty unnecessary items from your bag. Place all necessary items such as wallets and cellular phones- in the front pockets of the bag. Stretching around to reach for your wallet can result in a pulled neck or back.

5. Driving: If you are driving or sitting for long periods of time, remove your wallet or card holder from the back pocket of your pants this keeps your pelvis level while sitting.

One of the most important aspects of being in style and looking your best is to maintain a healthy judgment. By following simple suggestions, being fashionable can be comfortable.