Mother’s day is fast approaching and this year we’re taking a look at women’s health with some nutritional notes for Moms of all ages. Appropriate nutrition can be essential to accomplishing your goals, keeping up with life’s chaotic day-to-day activities, and caring for your family. Take a look below for a quick guide to diet & nutrition for your stage of motherhood.
Moms-to-be: Balance & Bolster
For Moms-to-be it’s important to make sure your diet has balanced portions and is full of nutrients from all food groups. It’s especially important to increase your caloric intake while cutting back on “empty” calories that offer no nutritional value. Your daily intake of protein, calcium, iron and folate should increase to support your growing bundle. Folic acid decreases risk of neural tube defects and it can be found in meats or nuts, and omega-3 is a great dietary addition since DHA appears to be important to neurological development in infants. For more info about Omega-3 and pregnancy you can read an article here from a publication in The Review in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Pro Tip: While it can be difficult to manage pregnancy cravings and aversions while maintaining an ideal diet, it’s important to get those nutrients daily. Supplements are a great way to make sure that you’re taking in everything your baby may need without having to carefully plan each meal to check every box. Making your own supplements as discussed here is a great way to tailor your nutritional intake to exactly what you want for your growing baby boy or girl.
Roaring 20s is right
Your 20s is a hectic time in motherhood. Keeping up with your energetic little ones is exhausting and managing your busy schedule is a bit like shuffling a growing deck of cards. It’s easy to forget to eat, let alone make sure each meal includes the vitamins and nutrients that are going to keep you feeling your best during busy days.
- Calcium is essential in your 20s, before you lose the ability to build your bone density. As you age your bones absorb less of the calcium you eat. Lucky for you there are many delicious options for piling it on, like dairy products (Yes, Fro Yo counts) and broccoli (Add some cheese for a double dose of calcium & more flavor.) It can also be a good idea to consider supplements if you’re worried about bone health or have a family history of bone disease. Exercise is also key to building the bones you need to chase after those little pitter-pattering feet for years to come.
- Protein is important to keep your energy levels up so you can kill it in your day-to-day, every day. Quality lean protein that is free of steroids, antibiotics, and other harmful chemicals is going to fill you up, keep you going, and help support muscle growth and function. Minimizing processing always minimizes your exposure to cancer-causing chemicals so try to find organic, unprocessed cuts for you and your family.
- Potassi-YUM: (Haha) This one’s easy, bananas are not only delicious but a great on-the-go snack, and sweet potatoes can be prepared in a number of delicious ways from baking, to frying. Potassium helps to flush excess salts from your system while helping heart function and lowering blood pressure. Women in their 20s tend to lack in their potassium intake so keep an eye out for potassium in your daily diet.
- Always Omega-3: Many of us ladies already know about the beauty benefits of Omega-3 it can hydrate your skin to reduce wrinkles and blemishes while strengthening your strands & giving your hair shine. Omega-3 works wonders for your insides to by improving heart health, reducing chances of stroke, lupus, cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, and it helps manageCrohn’s disease. A not-so-well known benefit to Omega-3 is that it is linked to decreased levels of depression and better management of bipolar disorder.
- You can get your Omega-3 from fatty fish like salmon or tuna (though watch out for those mercury levels), flax seed, walnuts, and canola oil – though supplements are the most effective route. You can read about encapsulating liquids here.
You can’t always cook these quality cuts & veggies every night; try some meal prepping on a slow Sunday night to set you up for productive, clean, & healthy eating in your week ahead.
PURDY THIRTY – Keeping up with family, health, & beauty.
30s are a pretty pivotal time in life for many reasons and they’re really important for your personal health & care. In your 30s you’ll start to lose bone density, and your metabolism slows. Your body will burn about 100 calories less daily in your 30s than your 20s so its important to not only stay active but also make sure that the calories you’re taking in are less, and offer more bang for their buck.
- Keep Up That Calcium: In your 30s your bones will slow down it’s absorption of calcium from what you eat, but make sure there is plenty to be absorbed by keeping calcium in your diet regularly.
- Omega-3 (yes, again) has all the benefits mentioned above, and it’s going to help keep those joints between your bones moving smoothly so you can stay active, and has all the beauty boosting perks you can read about here from Livestrong.com.
- Stay Energized: Your metabolism may slow down in your 30s but your lifestyle probably won’t. Keep up your energy with nuts, lean protein and leafy greens which also have the fiber, and phytonutrients and indole-3-carbinol. Phytonutrients have a number of benefits but have been shown to decrease risk of certain diseases, and indole-3-carbinol is linked to lowering risk of cervical & breast cancers.
- Happy & Healthy: Iron is important for energy and immunity, so make sure some of those lean cuts you’re cooking are red meats for a delicious dose of this essential nutrient.
- Forever Young (Sans needles and knives preferably) this is unfortunately an impossible dream BUT you can keep younger looking skin when you eat foods like beans that have folic acid. Folic acid helps with cell function and will help skin cells to reproduce so you can keep elasticity longer. Folate (in folic acid) also helps your body produce DNA that forms the healthy cells in developing babies, so if your pregnant, or if you’re planning to start/expand your family; beans—yes beans are a magical fruit.
Pro Tip: Pair your healthy diet with aerobic weight bearing exercises to keep your bones dense and strong – If you don’t use it, you lose it!
RETENTION & PREVENTION: 40s
Let’s just say it, 40 is DEFINITELY the new 30 and if we’ve learned anything from fabulous 40-year-old celebs like Eva Longria and Drew Barrymore you’re still kicking butt and taking names so you’ll need to feed your matured temple foods befitting of your fierceness.
- Your body may slow down it’s calcium absorption, but keep enjoying your morning milk, you don’t know at which point your bones are completely done with that creamy goodness.
- Vitamin D is important for your bones in younger years but also helps bolster immunity and has been linked to lower risk for several diseases. For more prevention, eating vegetarian meals a few times a week will lower your risk for cancers and other diseases.
- Foods High In Fiber keep you comfortable and help prevent digestive disorders or irregularities – see a list of some options here.
- Probiotics can also keep your tummy comfortable so grab a delicious yogurt with probiotics a few times a week along with those fiber-filled veggies for a happy belly.
Stock up on supplements:
- You Got To Have Heart! Magnesium is an important diet/supplement addition in your 40s because it helps regulate blood pressure, and prevent or manage heart disease, diabetes and inflammatory conditions by playing a role in heart and muscle function.
- B-12 B-Beautiful: As a younger adult your body can easily get your daily requirements of B12 from the food you eat, but your body slows down B12 absorption in your 40s and 50s. To keep up your B12 levels & support normal blood and brain function it’s best to add a B12 supplement to your routine in your 40s.
- Oh Yes, Omega-3 (sensing a theme here?) is important as always so keep eating fish a few times a week and taking a fish oil supplement.
HOT MAMA: Flawless 50s to 60s (even with hot flashes)
You may not be as active in your fifties, but caring for your family – kids and maybe grandkids especially – also requires focusing on your own health so you never miss a step. You’ll need to keep up the good nutritional work you’ve been doing in your 30s & 40s while cutting calorie intake down another notch. Continue eating lean proteins (and less meat), leafy greens, a variety of veggies, fruits, nuts, and calcium rich dairy, while taking supplements: Omega-3, magnesium, & B12 notably.
And of course the unpleasant… Menopause
We’ve all wished to never have a period again…if only it was that simple. Menopausal symptoms can be more than just a nuisance but there are a few tips to help ease this uncomfortable burden
- Omega-3 (what doesn’t it do?) such as in flaxseed can help ease those hot flashes.
- If You’re Hoppy & You Know It: There’s recent evidence that a compound found in hops can help improve symptoms including hot flashes so enjoy your beers & check out some recipes here using hops to add a little flavor in the kitchen.
- Ginseng has been found to improve mood in women undergoing menopause, and it tastes great in teas & soups, or it can be sprinkled over any meal.
Caring for Mom
If you’ve read our latest post here regarding the HERO Health device, you’ll know that a growing number of working Americans are now caring for their elderly parents. When caring for Mom as she ages, its important to make sure she’s getting her medications but also that she’s eating right and getting the nutrients she needs to stay active.
- Counting Calories: According to Health.gov elderly women require only about 1800 calories per day if moderately active, and that number goes up or down based on activity level.
- Supplement Her Healthcare: Calcium supplements for bone health, vitamin D for immunity, and vitamin C for tissue repair will help make her healthcare regimen more effective.
- Making Dinner for Mom: It’s important to keep Mom comfortable with a fiber rich diet, and good fats for energy. Often times we taper off our consumption of caffeine and alcohol once we retire and can take it easy but if not, keep in mind that this is the time for Mom to lay off those devilishly wonderful drinks.
Pro Tip: Adding a zinc supplement to Mom’s HERO device dispenser can help keep her mentally sharp since it is essential to cell growth, reproduction, and function. However, always consult your doctor in regards to any possibly medicinal interactions before starting a supplement.
So it’s not-so-simple to get the vitamins and nutrients you need, but you can make your own supplements to make sure you’re feeling ready to tackle whatever each new day has for you. For all women its important to eat healthy, follow steps for prevention of diseases, stay active, and of course: Get your Omega-3!
From our family to yours: Happy Mother’s Day! For everything all the Moms out there do, we hope you have a healthy, & joyous holiday.