Getting healthy or ensuring that you’re living a “healthy lifestyle” can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, according to the Office on Women’s Health (and a lot of doctors everywhere,) living a healthy life is more about what you do most of the time and an overall awareness for your health and body than it is any one specific thing you have to do to be healthy. This gets especially important as we age as women, but it’s important to start where you’re at (yep, even if that’s in your 20’s.)
Our general health can pretty much be broken down into three categories: nutrition, exercise and stress management. Of course, with all of the information out there, these seemingly simple topics can become incredibly confusing and difficult to know what’s right. We did the research for you. Let’s talk what it means to be healthy as we age and why starting now is essential.
Healthy Eating for Women
We’re no dietitians here, so this isn’t going to get into how many calories you should be eating or what diets you should try. Instead, we’re going to talk about what creates a healthy diet overall and what you should be trying to incorporate into yours to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Vegetables and Fruit
- The big one. According to the Office on Women’s Health (and what we can probably guess from looking at our own diets,) most women don’t consume enough fruit and vegetables. We really should be eating these foods every single day and probably twice as much as we think we need. OWH recommends filling half of your plate with vegetables at meals.
- Our tip: vegetables don’t have to be boring. Slip them into meals you already love like your favorite pastas, your Mexican taco bowl night or add extras onto your sandwich at lunch. There are a ton of ways to incorporate the foods we need to stay healthy. Did you know leafy greens can help prevent fibroids and improve symptoms of menopause?! It’s crazy what our food can do for us.
- Yep, it’s good for you. As long as you don’t have an intolerance. OWH says we should be getting 3 cups of dairy per day! Cheese and yogurt are great ways to reach that goal without having to drink milk. Eating more cheese? Easy. If you’re allergic to dairy or don’t consume it, those green veggies we previously mentioned can be wonderful sources of calcium for you, as well!
- Whole grains and oils
- We’re putting these together because they’re two of the foods we are often told to avoid when it comes to diets. We don’t want too much fat or too many carbs, but your body needs those sources as energy. It is healthy for you to consume these. So grab some whole grain pasta and don’t be afraid to cook with olive oil! These are great nutrients that our body needs for optimal health.
- Eat more protein
- ‘Nuff said on this one. Incorporate protein into your diet because it’s essential for keeping our bodies full and strong.
We won’t get too into exercise here since we did so in another blog, but suffice it to say of course, that it’s ESSENTIAL to your health. But, it doesn’t have to be scary. Two hours at the gym daily isn’t necessary. If exercise feels daunting to you, start with gentle ways to warm up your body like walks and light stretching. In fact, we talk all about ways to get started when exercise feels overwhelming here.
It’s not like we ever want to be stressed out. But the bummer about stress is it happens pretty easily. So, we have to take active and often preventative steps to ensure we’re keeping stress from impeding our lives.
Lucky for us, the previous two tips to stay healthy can help with this final one. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and eating a healthy diet can improve your mood greatly. Other tips to manage stress include:
- Taking breaks from your phone/computer (yep, even business owners)
- Getting outside
- Taking deep breaths daily (try to make it a point to take 3 deep breaths mid-day each day. It just might transform your day)
- Making time for loved ones
- Cooking favorite meals
- Practicing gratitude
- Drinking water throughout the day
- Setting aside “you time” every week
These are all great ways to age healthily and prevent many health risks we face as women. But they’re also great things to start right now, wherever you may be. We know some of these can be kind of obvious, but we all need a little reminder now and then. And it’s important to know that we don’t have to do all of this all the time to be healthy. Pick two of these healthy habits you don’t already incorporate in your daily routine and start there. Healthy is working toward a better you and it looks good on you.