Unless you’re a vegetarian, fruits and vegetables probably aren’t your idea of a tasty treat. In fact, over 90 percent of American adults and children fail to eat the number of fruits and vegetables recommended by nutrition guides from MyPlate and Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Patients often ask what they can do to improve their health. One simple, yet effective tip is to add the health benefits of fruits and vegetables to your diet.
It’s difficult to change your eating habits overnight, but there are several ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet without drastically altering your everyday life. Why not swap out a carb-loaded side dish for a steamed vegetable? Or try eating an apple with yogurt for breakfast instead of a pastry from your local coffee shop. Sometimes the smallest lifestyle changes can lead to major health and nutritional benefits down the road.
Lower your risk for illness and disease
The health benefits of fruits and vegetables come from their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system, especially when combined with regular exercise. And fruits and veggies can lower your risk for hypertension, heart disease, and cancer.
Easy for grab and go snacking
Most fruits and vegetables don’t require preparation: you just grab, go, and eat. If you feel that you lack time in your busy schedule to prepare healthy foods, load up on produce you can easily eat on the go, such as bananas, apples, celery, and baby carrots. Fruits and veggies are convenient and easy to eat on the fly.
Increase your fiber intake
Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fiber, which lends to good digestive health. The more regular your bowel movements, the more effectively your body will flush out waste and toxins. Stop relying on fiber-enriched cereals and over-the-counter fiber supplements, and get more natural sources of fiber from fruits and veggies.
An endless variety to explore
There are literally thousands of fruits and vegetables in the world, not to mention different varieties of each. For instance, you can visit most grocery stores and choose from at least five different apples. There’s no reason to ever grow bored with fruits and veggies, given your many options.
Get more vitamins and minerals than processed foods
Many packaged, processed foods lack nutritional value and can make you feel sluggish, tired, and less energetic. But fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals so you can benefit from improved immunity and more energy. Fruits and vegetables don’t just have to be eaten alone or in salads. Browse cookbooks and the Internet for healthy recipes that contain plenty of fruits and vegetables, and start eating produce with every meal.
Schedule an appointment with Women’s Care Florida today and learn more about how good nutrition can lead to improved women’s health.
If you like yogurt, then we have good news. A recent study in Osteoporosis International found that eating yogurt can help with increasing bone density after menopause. This can also decrease your risk of osteoporosis. According to an article in the New York Times, over 4,000 Irish adults ages 60 and older participated in the study. Researchers measured their bone density, joint deterioration, and physical ability. Furthermore, they found that compared to non-yogurt eaters, the people who ate yogurt daily had a 3 to 4 percent increase in bone mineral density. The female participants’ risk for osteoporosis decreased by 39 percent and males’ risk decreased by 52 percent.
If you haven’t cozied up to the idea of yogurt yet, here are some other benefits to eating this food that can help with an osteoporosis diet.
According to WebMD, adults in the United States should receive 10 to 35 percent of their day’s calories from protein. This ultimately adds up to about 46 grams for women. Yogurt incorporates about nine grams of protein per serving in your diet. If you tend to be an active person, protein can help build muscle and make you stronger.
Yogurt contains important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. However, some yogurts contain unhealthy additives such as sugar. Instead of purchasing a pre-sweetened blend, try plain, non-fat yogurt and use natural sweeteners such as bananas, blueberries, and granola to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Many brands nowadays advertise how their yogurt contains probiotics. However, what does that mean? Research is still being conducted to better understand how certain strands of probiotics can benefit a consumer. However, some evidence shows that it can help boost your immune system and promote a healthy digestive tract.
Research indicates there are many benefits of yogurt for females specifically. Yes, yogurt can even help prevent vaginal yeast infections. The active cultures in yogurt can help decrease vaginal pH levels to a healthy level, which helps stop yeast infections and keeps them from coming back.
If you want to learn more about increasing bone density after menopause and lowering your risk for osteoporosis, speak with an expert at Women’s Care Florida.
Many benefits exist when incorporating more vegetables into your diet. Some benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, more energy, and better digestion. Furthermore, new research suggests that women who eat more vegetable protein may lower their risk for early menopause. Therefore, prolong your reproductive function by eating vegetables!
The Link Between Vegetables and Early Menopause
According to Science Daily, researchers conducted an ongoing study of 116,000 women ages 25 to 45. Throughout the study, they asked participants to report how often they ate a single serving of 131 foods. They found that women had a 16 percent lower risk of early menopause when they ate veggie protein. Moreover, the veggie protein consisted of approximately 6.5 percent of their daily calorie intake compared to other women whose intake was at 4 percent of their calories.
Where to Find Vegetable Protein
Not sure where you can find a good source of vegetable protein? Also according to Science Daily, vegetable protein can be found in foods such as whole grains, soy, and tofu. “Consuming enriched pasta, dark bread and cold cereal were especially associated with lower risk,” the article said, “while they observed no similar relation to eating animal sources of protein.”
In addition, see our list of other foods high in vegetable or plant-based protein:
- Black Beans
- Green Peas
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chia Seeds
What is Premature Menopause?
Providers define early menopause as menopause experienced before the age of 40. Although rate, women who experience premature menopause often experience other health risks. Furthermore, some of these risks include loss of estrogens that can contribute to colon and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
To learn more about how you can lower your risk of early menopause, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified OB/GYNS.
Some years ago, artificial sweeteners became a hit as a healthy alternative to sugar. The grew in popularity as many people could eat sweet foods and drink without worrying about excess calories. However, many dangers of artificial sweeteners exist. Once thought to be a healthy alternative, researches discovered an ironic truth. Artificial sweeteners side effects include long-term weight gain, hypertension, and diabetes to name a few.
Experts at Women’s Care Florida receive a lot of questions about women’s health and women’s nutrition. We advise our patients to incorporate natural foods into their diet. Furthermore, we recommend steering clear of processed ingredients and added sugar. That includes artificial sweeteners, which although advertised as healthy alternatives to sugar, actually are not.
Artificial sweeteners and weight gain
Ironically, researchers found that artificial sweeteners side effects lead to weight gain, not weight loss. An analysis of studies in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at the long-term health effects of more than 400,000 people who substituted artificial sweeteners for sugar. The results were not positive.
Researchers found that nonnutritive sweeteners linked to modest long term weight gain, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension with regular consumption.
Effects of artificial sweeteners on the body
You might wonder, “How can artificial sweeteners and weight gain be connected? I though sweeteners contain zero calories?” These sweeteners trigger the same part of the brain that tells you to eat more sugary foods. As we continue to eat sweet foods, our brain enjoys it and tells us it wants more. To maintain our health, we shouldn’t always eat sweet foods and avoid the dangers of artificial sweeteners.
A better way to lose weight
If you want to lose weight, then don’t rely on sugar substitutes or alternatives. Instead, we tell our patients to work on lowering their daily intake of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. When you do eat sugar, make sure it comes from a healthy source such as fruit.
“The average American eats 82 grams of sugar a day. Sometimes it feels like it’s hard to avoid,” Dr. Jeffrey Puretz at Women’s Care Florida said. “We have personalized weight loss programs that can help women get on a healthier path — one with less sugar and sugar alternatives.”
Learn more about our weight loss programs at Women’s Care Florida.
Many women dread the onset of menopause. Symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, loss of sexual libido, and more can bring feelings of anxiety or discomfort. While you might not be able to avoid menopause, you can reduce its symptoms through proper nutrition. Eating the foods high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can help prevent and relieve common symptoms. Here is what to eat during menopause that can help you manage symptoms in the healthiest way possible.
Eat calcium-rich foods
The risk of bone loss and osteoporosis increases for menopausal women. Protect your bones by increasing your intake of vitamin D and calcium-rich foods. Therefore, foods for menopause include low-fat yogurt, orange juice, broccoli, salmon, sardines, and tofu. Also, consider talking to your doctor about vitamins for menopause and calcium supplements. They can help lower your risk of bone loss. Your total calcium intake, including diet and supplements, should be at least 1500 ml per day.
Consume more omega-3s and vitamin B
Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins are key to a healthy brain and nerve cell function. They can help manage irritability and mood swings accompanied by menopause. Eat flaxseed, walnuts, and oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon for omega-3s, and consume more lentils and lean meats to get higher amounts of B vitamins.
If you consume caffeine and alcohol, know that these substances can trigger hot flashes.
Foods to avoid during menopause
Foods high in sugar and fat often lack nutritional value. In addition, they can upset your hormonal balance to worsen menopausal symptoms. Try to limit how much desserts and sweets you consume. Furthermore, stop eating processed foods high in sugar, fat, additives, and preservatives.
Try the Mediterranean Diet
An easy way to know what to eat during menopause is by following the Mediterranean diet. This diet, which is mainly comprised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil can help stave off weight gain and improve heart health. Plus, these foods can reduce hot flashes and night sweats, stabilize estrogen levels, and regulate blood sugar — all of which help ease menopausal symptoms.
If you suspect you’ve entered menopause, make an appointment with Women’s Care Florida to learn more about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and other treatments that can help ease symptoms.