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How Women Need To Eat To Help Balance Their Hormones Through Perimenopause And Menopause
Of course, we know that women are different from men – but when it comes to their health, what’s the difference? From menstruation to menopause and beyond, women are presented with a unique health experience. Whether it’s pregnancy, PMS, fatigue or osteoporosis, hormones are often involved. We now know that heart disease is a bigger problem for women than we thought especially at the age of menopause due to the decline in estrogen. Osteoporosis as well as high cholesterol become a problem for many during these years.
Most of the talk about female hormones is about estrogen and progesterone. What about other hormones? Today, women’s fast-paced lives have led to an increase in Adrenal burn-out, which often causes many women to feel tired these days. Insulin resistance also increases with a diet high in starch and too much sugar or worse – not enough food – causing frequent sugar fluctuations. Insulin resistance and stress levels can be determined through blood and salivary tests (for the adrenals). Also, I often advise women to get their thyroid levels checked and this can contribute to fatigue and weight gain. For adrenal support B-complex vitamins and adrenal support herbs such as ginseng, ashwanganda are often recommended. For insulin resistance supplements like alpha lipoic acid, chromium and fish oil are usually part of the protocol I recommend.
Women experience monthly and often daily hormonal cycles that often affect mood, weight and brain chemistry. For example, serotonin – the “comfort” brain chemical responsible for sleep, mood and pain perception – is lower in women than men. If serotonin is not enough, women often crave carbohydrates causing weight gain and high blood sugar. A healthy solution is to add good protein and good fats to the diet to help increase serotonin.
Having worked with mostly women throughout my career, I have noticed two areas of greatest concern for me: weight and fatigue. However, with an increasing number of people entering peri-menopause and menopause, additional problems seem to be emerging – such as insomnia, hot flashes and bone loss. Taking the health and nutrition recommendations listed below can greatly help with symptoms. Often misunderstood and still said every day is the idea that all food should be evaluated by the amount of calories it contains versus the quality of the food. The state of our health and our weight then depends a lot on the freshness of the food – the fresher and fresher the food is, the more important it is to a person.
A woman’s health also depends on having a healthy digestive tract. Constipation, bloating, heartburn and gas and even yeast infections indicate an unhealthy gastrointestinal tract. An unhealthy digestive tract does not work properly and weight imbalance, fatigue and other symptoms are common. Food allergies are also a burden on the digestive system and immune system that often cause weight gain. One health practice that has become a big supporter of mine is the annual cleaning program. To clarify, a proper detoxification program includes more than cleansing the colon but also focuses on the detoxification function of the liver. This process removes the accumulation of toxins in the body which helps to restore the vitality of the body.
Starting with a good diet is important when dealing with female symptoms. Not just “vegetables” at every meal, but many vegetables throughout the day at every meal if possible. Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Laboratory and nutritional evaluations also show that women often lack protein. Quality protein such as vegetables should be eaten at every meal.
A well-balanced diet should include the following food groups:
– Quality protein – meat, fish, eggs, chicken, turkey
– Healthy fats – olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocado, nuts and seeds
– Non-starchy vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, etc
– Fruit – all
– Starches – these foods should be limited, including the following:
– starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes, squash, etc
– beans – garbanzo, beans, black beans, etc
– complex whole grains – rye, quinoa, brown rice, etc
Eating is a human thing and many women do not eat well. Do you often run while eating breakfast or miss it altogether or eat lunch during a lot of work? These habits not only put pressure on the already burned system of women but can have a strong impact on the way they prepare and use food. Are there possible food allergens because the food is not digested properly? As women get older, they can no longer escape from these “non-parenting habits”. In my health coaching – I often recommend the “Do-Less-Program” where women make a shorter “Do” list and learn how to take care of themselves first.
My health and nutrition guidelines for women are as follows:
o Eat 5 meals a day – 3 meals and 2 snacks. Eating every 3-4 hours is best.
o Always eat protein with carbohydrates and vice versa – don’t eat alone. Protein alone will stress your adrenal glands and eating carbohydrates alone can cause sugar/insulin balance issues.
o Protein portions are usually determined based on body weight but on average, I recommend between 2-5 ounces per meal and 1-3 ounces per snack.
o Adequate filtered water – you should drink ½ your body weight in water (ie a 150 lb. woman should drink 75 oz of water per day) – this helps flush your body, improves elimination and improves skin hydration.
o Sleep maintenance – it is important to have at least 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep – this helps to regulate the overworked adrenal glands of women.
o Stress management – again essential for maintaining proper hormonal balance – whether it’s deep breathing, massage or various supplements – learning how to relax is essential.
o Healthy exercise – conditioning and stretching as opposed to extreme aerobic exercise will have a beneficial effect on female hormones – especially “tired” adrenal glands
o High quality supplements – it is very important to get the best supplements available. When using products that contain oils – such as fish oil, CoQ 10, Vitamin E – it is very important to get the best quality. The oil is fragile and may turn yellow during and before processing
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#Women #Eat #Balance #Hormones #Perimenopause #Menopause