Written by Chelsea DeColle, CNP
In times like these when the world is busy and life is full, we as women, often don’t prioritize our health or put ourselves first. Instead, we try to meet the needs of everyone around us while we take the backseat. Add to that the confusion of how to support your health with so much conflicting information surrounding you. It can feel overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.
First, take a deep breath. Then remember that taking care of yourself is IMPORTANT and it’s ok to prioritize yourself on your to-do list. The best way to support your own wellbeing is to approach it from a foundational perspective. Starting from the fundamentals provides your body with what it truly needs to keep everything, hormones included, functioning the way they should and allow you to go from just surviving to thriving.
When it comes to women’s foundational wellness, there are some key elements to consider for a healthy, balanced lifestyle and balanced hormones.
1. Nutrition and key nutrients
Focusing on food is a great place to start, by trying to incorporate a variety of colourful fruits and veggies into each meal of the day. They are packed full of all the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants our bodies need. Next time you’re at the grocery store be brave and reach for a new vegetable to try!
This means looking at how busy your life is, what your stress levels are and how often you are intentionally active and moving your body. Bringing attention to and making changes in these areas of your life can make a huge difference for your overall wellness.
This looks different for every woman and can be as simple as taking 30 minutes for yourself each day to relax, undistracted and unwind in whatever way feels good for you – reading, meditating, journaling, yoga or taking a bath. It could even be a workout with girlfriends or a spa day – whatever it is, make time for selfcare.
The reality is we don’t live or eat perfectly all the time and with the busyness of life we often skip meals or choose less nutritious options, so this is where a daily multivitamin comes to the rescue to fill in any micronutrient gaps.
Let’s take a closer look to understand what they are and why they are so important for our unique health needs.
Vitamins A, C, and E are important for so many reasons and stress support is top of the list. These vitamins act as antioxidants which are important for counteracting the negative effects of free radical damage. Also, vitamin C is depleted when we are stressed so we need even more of it when life gets chaotic.
Magnesium is a mineral involved in over 300 reactions within the body but over 1/3 of Canadians, including women, are not getting enough magnesium from their diet and require additional supplementation.1
Selenium and Iodide are two equally important minerals essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland as well as for thyroid hormone production.2 If we are lacking these important minerals, it can compromise our thyroid activity.
Iron is a mineral needed for many foundational functions in the body, including prevention of iron deficiency anemia.3 This is a common deficiency, particularly in menstruating women with almost 10% of women aged 15-49 having anemia. 4
Zinc is another essential mineral for overall health having many functions throughout the body including tissue formation and immune function.5
Another remember that certain medications, like the birth control pill, which is commonly used by women, can cause nutrient depletions in B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.6 Yet another reason to ensure you are supplementing with a multivitamin for any medication related nutrient deficiencies.
Multivitamins provide the vitamins and minerals needed to meet your daily micronutrient requirements. Support your foundational and overall health with a multivitamin daily. You deserve to take care of yourself as well as you take care of everyone around you!
- Government of Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey. Accessed January 20, 2022 at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-nutrition-surveillance/health-nutrition-surveys/canadian-community-health-survey-cchs/canadian-adults-meet-their-nutrient-requirements-through-food-intake-alone-health-canada-2012.html
- Triggiani V, Tafaro E, Giagulli VA, Sabbà C, Resta F, Licchelli B, Guastamacchia E. Role of iodine, selenium and other micronutrients in thyroid function and disorders. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2009 Sep;9(3):277-94. doi: 10.2174/187153009789044392. Epub 2009 Sep 1. PMID: 19594417.
- National Institute of Health. Iron. Accessed January 20, 2022 at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/#:~:text=Iron%20is%20a%20mineral%20that,iron%20to%20make%20some%20hormones.
- Index Mundi. Canada Prevalence of Anemia. Accessed January 20, 2022 at: https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/canada/prevalence-of-anemia
- Nasiadek, M., Stragierowicz, J., Klimczak, M., & Kilanowicz, A. (2020). The Role of Zinc in Selected Female Reproductive System Disorders. Nutrients, 12(8), 2464. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082464
- Birth control - Palmery M, Saraceno A, Vaiarelli A, Carlomagno G. Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Jul;17(13):1804-13. PMID: 23852908.