Charlene Day on Women’s Health Issues
In honour of Mother’s Day month, I am continuing to address women’s health issues. These are issues affecting physical aspects of healing, but that have a profound effect on our mental, emotional and spiritual fields as well. When we are in the flow of good energy physically, then it is easier to be in harmony on all levels.
Our bodies consists of trillions of cells that need vitamins, minerals, essential fats, carbohydrates and proteins (amino acids) to stay healthy. Optimum levels of health require optimum nutrition and equally optimum cell performance.
Deficiencies produce problems and some women use birth control pills which cause nutritional deficiencies. Oral contraceptives cause many metabolic changes and more seriously, the hormones present in contraceptive pills have been shown to increase the risk of coagulation, increasing the risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. This risk is especially heightened in women who smoke and who are over the age of 30, as both conditions also can predispose towards coagulation.
So women in this category absolutely need to supplement to counter the insufficiency of nutrients within the body. These women need a whole food multi vitamin and mineral supplement and extra zinc, B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, calcium-magnesium and Beta Carotene as the birth control pill intake depletes these nutrients.
On the other hand for those women who want to get pregnant, there are other nutritional needs. Start with preconception care by cleaning up the diet and avoiding toxins. Take a multi vitamin that contains at least 400 mg of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects thus preventing spina bifida, a very serious birth defect.
I have helped many women who could not get pregnant simply by adding in some whole food supplements and presto they conceived. What I suggested is very simply what the body needs. Our cells have daily requirements of vitamins, minerals, essential fats, carbohydrates and proteins (amino acids).
When we want to make another human being, it makes sense that both partners supplement a healthy diet with whole food supplements. If we want to produce a healthy baby then we need healthy raw elements.
Once a woman conceives, then it is important to make sure there is a daily intake of amino acids as our need for high quality protein goes up from 44 to 74 grams per day. A whole food multi vitamin is essential during this time. Calcium/magnesium is needed as the calcium need increases up to 1200 mg. plus. Iron needs go from 18 mg to 60 mg and B complex is needed for the general wellbeing of the mother and proper nerve development of the fetus. B complex is also vitally important to help prevent birth defects. Also it is helpful in the first trimester to help alleviate morning sickness.
Vit D, magnesium and zinc help with the hormone receptor sites which are important during pregnancy as levels of progesterone and estrogens rise continually throughout pregnancy as do the adrenal hormones. There are certain nutrients like calcium/magnesium and electrolytes that aid in childbirth comfort too.
At least 300 mg of Omega fatty acids are especially important in last trimester. Omegas are a major structural fatty acid in the brain and retina, and are naturally found in breast milk. It is important for a mother to consume adequate amounts of essential fats during pregnancy and while nursing to support her well-being and the health of her infant. Avoid certain fish as it is often very high in heavy metal contaminants. Supplement with a high quality fish supplement that is triple distilled.
A balanced, nutritious diet is an important aspect of a healthy pregnancy as you are eating for two. Eating a healthy diet, balancing carbohydrates (a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains), essential fats, high quality protein and your whole food supplements usually ensures good nutrition. To counteract constipation make sure you eat plenty of fiber, get regular exercise, eat healthy foods especially veggies, and drink lots of purified water.
Nutritional Needs During Lactation
A nursing mother’s diet can have a profound effect on her baby. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that whatever you eat, your baby eats, too. Healthy nutrients and contaminants alike pass from breast milk to baby.
Calorie and protein needs continue to be high during lactation, as they were in pregnancy. The breastfeeding mother requires an extra 300 to 400 calories above her pre–pregnancy needs for the first 12 months of breastfeeding.
Fortunately, eating well and fulfilling the needs of your newborn child are really quite easy. The healthiest diets derive their nutrients from these sources: vegetables, fruit, legumes (beans, peas, or lentils), whole grains, and nuts and seeds. A diet built entirely from these foods has the added advantage of reducing levels of environmental contaminants in breast milk. Plant foods have much lower levels of contaminants than foods from animal sources and are even cleaner when they are grown organically.
Studies show that women who consume meat and dairy products have higher levels of chemical contaminants in their breast milk, probably because these chemicals tend to concentrate in animal tissues. Fish is often very high in contaminants. It commonly contains mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other organochlorine pesticides, which can pass through breast milk to nursing babies.
Dairy products, including cow’s milk, raise another issue. Cow’s milk proteins ingested by the mother can also enter her breast milk. These proteins can cause colic, as well as contribute to allergic reactions and a whole host of other problems in babies as their tiny systems cannot handle the large molecules of milk protein.
Many of the supplement needs during lactation are similar to those of pregnancy. Since babies will take a substantial amount of calcium from breast milk, it is essential for nursing mothers to supplement with calcium/magnesium. Also important are a whole food multi vitamin/mineral, amino acids, Beta Carotene, B complex, Vitamins C, E, D and the Omegas.
Whatever you take, the child will benefit from. So remember to take care of yourself as you are the well of nutrients that builds a healthy baby.
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Next week I will cover some more feminine issues for later on in life.