March is National Nutrition Month, an annual awareness and education campaign developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to increase healthful eating and physical activity learning opportunities. National Nutrition Month serves as a distinct reminder to embrace the principles of healthful eating and physical activity, which serve as the foundation for optimal health and wellness. This month and always, we at HerMD are leaning into our mission and recentering our focus on our founding principles: to educate, advocate, and empower women.
To help support you on your health journey, below, we’ve carefully curated a few practical nutrition and physical activity tips that are proven to enhance the vibrancy of your health and well-being. If you are seeking a health refresher, or are just starting out on your health journey, these tips can be seamlessly incorporated into your routine.
Embrace the Mediterranean Eating Style
The Mediterranean style of eating has been studied for decades. This eating style is adopted by individuals who live in countries along the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain. Over the years, robust research evidence has demonstrated the profound, positive health benefits of the Mediterranean style of eating. Research has shown those who adopt a Mediterranean style of eating have a lower risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and reduction in overall mortality. New research confirms the Mediterranean style of eating can reduce the risk of developing dementia by nearly 25%, even in individuals with a family history of dementia.
The Mediterranean eating style focuses heavily on the consumption of plant-based foods and healthy fats, as well as incorporating fish and poultry as protein sources, rather than red meat. Embracing this eating pattern means that you focus largely on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fish, and legumes.
Engage in a Physical Activity Routine
Routine physical activity can support overall health and well-being, improve mental health, strengthen bones and muscles, and reduce the risk of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults engage in 150 minutes of physical activity, as well as 2 days of muscle-strengthening activities, each week. Although this amount of physical activity may appear daunting, we recommend separating these amounts into small goals throughout the week, especially if you are embracing a new routine! Try walking after lunch each day throughout the week for 30 minutes, and set aside weekends for 2 days of muscle-strengthening activities. To set you up for additional success, buddy up with an accountability partner. Research has shown those who have a supportive partner or “buddy” on their health journeys tend to achieve more positive health outcomes than those without an accountability partner. With the Spring season upon us, now is the perfect time to grab an accountability “buddy” and go for a walk outside!
Increase Your Water Intake
Although historically, most individuals are taught to drink 8 glasses of water per day as a general rule of thumb, this is simply a guiding principle. The true recommended amount of water intake will vary for each woman, depending on her level of physical activity, medical needs, and environment. To drink more water throughout the day, try drinking a glass or two of water with meals, and carry a water bottle around with you throughout the day to remain hydrated! Swap sugary drinks for water infused with lemon, mint, or cucumbers. For women, limit alcohol consumption to 1 alcoholic drink or less per day.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep: one of our favorite topics! It is estimated that during menopause, 40-60% of women experience sleep disturbances. A good night’s sleep is vital to your overall health and well-being, and getting good quality sleep, especially during menopause, is possible. To support optimal sleep quality and duration, experts recommend removing all electronics leading up to bedtime, somewhere between one to two hours prior. We also recommend embracing certain lifestyle factors, such as practicing yoga, drinking caffeine-free tea, and setting the thermostat to a comfortable 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, which can all support a quality night’s rest.
Taken together, these quick tips can support a healthy lifestyle, promote weight management, as well as weight loss, should this be one of your many health goals. At HerMD, we are proud to offer comprehensive weight management and weight loss care to our patients, embracing a multifaceted approach in delivering concrete solutions.
In the setting of weight management and weight loss services, our care model is driven by evidence, sensitivity, and creating a safe environment for our patients to express their health, and weight-related, concerns. We partner with our patients to provide guidance on healthful eating, behavioral strategies, and offer interventions, such as medications and counseling, when warranted, to support a healthy weight, reduce the risk of disease, and to promote health, wellness, and lifestyle optimization.
Interested in learning more? Our expert team of HerMD healthcare professionals are ready to provide you with the care you deserve, schedule an appointment.
For more, accessible information on healthful living and routine movement, visit the CDC’s nutrition and physical activity websites.