We are all aware that women, to put it bluntly, are biologically different from men. That is no great revelation. Yet, those differences between the genders imply a number of variable guidelines for such things as diet, exercise and health matters in general.
For example, women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat than men, studies proving the statistics as 27% on average for women compared to 15% for a fit male. That number alone is very useful information if one of your weight loss or exercise goals is fat reduction. Any woman trying to reduce her percentage of fat to body ratio should take into account this natural difference, since it can help avoid guilt and provide a realistic goal to strive for.
Hormonal changes experienced by women differ considerably from that of men as they age. Both genders do experience lower rates of metabolism with age, however results again prove this affects the female more so than the male. Even young women can have irregularities in menstrual cycle and other physiological changes as a result.
Let’s look at some extreme cases to provide examples.
Women in concentration camps in WWII frequently discontinued having regular menstrual cycles, as a result of the effects of starvation. Highly trained female athletes also often experience similar changes, as a result of ultra-low body fat percentages and other causes.
The negative effects of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) can be reduced by stabilizing blood sugar levels, regulating fat intake and other dietary changes. For example, mood swings can be smoothed out to a degree by higher amounts of soluble fiber, which assists in producing a slower rise in blood sugar. Apples, oats and beans are good sources of these soluble fibers.
Combining fat with protein and carbohydrate intake in a balanced way will help slow the rise in blood sugar from the carbohydrate consumption. Many find ice cream great as a comfort food but the effect is short-lived and doesn’t provide the nutrients or balance needed. Instead, we should all increase the consumption of fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables. Bananas and walnuts are terrific choices to include here.
It is a fact that women are more prone to such conditions as arthritis, fibromyalgia and others. Certain previously unsuspected food allergies can worsen the symptoms. Testing is essential for detection, however following a healthy eating plan will not only lessen the symptoms, but certainly maintain the body in a more healthy condition. As examples for those experiencing various food allergies, rice beverages can be substituted for those sensitive to cow’s milk, and wheat-free breads are readily available that still contain whole grain. Our stores today offer a vast array of substitute foods for many, many symptoms.
As an example, women who suffer from rheumatic symptoms will find they are allergic to wheat. A gluten-free diet will help lessen that problem. This includes finding substitutes for ordinary cereal, standard bread, pasta and other foods made from wheat flour. In years gone by, finding these substitute items may have proved difficult, but thankfully, this is no longer such a problem.
During the midlife years and the time of menopause as cycles become less regular and large hormonal changes are occurring, diet can help reduce the severity and discomfort of the associated symptoms. Lowering sodium intake is helpful. Substitutes include herbs, garlic or lemon juice for flavouring. Each individual is different and their needs will be varied, therefore you should consult a physician or medical practitioner for correct amounts.
Menopausal women are also likely to benefit from reducing saturated fats, beyond that of younger women or males. Since oestrogen levels are declining at this time, HDL cholesterol (the beneficial type) will tend to fall and LDL cholesterol (the potentially harmful type) will rise.
Although in general it is the men who have a higher risk of heart attack as they age, it is now evident that a woman’s risk during her menopausal years is about the same as that of men of similar age. Reducing intake of saturated and Trans fat can help reduce those risks.
One plus to many is that moderate wine consumption has proved to be beneficial. Wine provides anti-oxidants and other helpful compounds and is generally lower in calories than many alcoholic alternatives. Lowering caffeine has also been found to help reduce calcium loss, which is an important health issue as women age.
Remember that proper or correct diets vary according to gender, age and even individuals, so it is wise to investigate what is right for you.
What constitutes a proper diet varies somewhat by gender and age, so investigate what is right for your particular circumstances. And remember, knowledge is the key to health.