Photo: Mother and child cooking together

by Alison Riggs

Mothers deserve a huge and heartfelt thank you for their selfless love, hard work, and guidance, and all the under-appreciated and unseen sacrifices that come along with motherhood. Even if it is a small gesture, take the time to let your mother--and the other women in your life--know that you appreciate them this month. This article is to acknowledge all they do and suggest a few ideas to help women guard their health.

Too often we take for granted everything women do in contributing to the family and community, whether they earn an income by developing a professional career, going to school, engaging in volunteer work, or staying home to care for the home or children. Also taken for granted is the stress that results from all the expectations that come with these roles.

Women’s health is greatly impacted by their roles as mothers, partners, and daughters. They provide care for their children’s health and well-being either directly or by connecting them with health services. Many women take care of an aging or chronically sick parent or relative. Under these challenging circumstances, many women find it difficult to balance these demands with the need to take care of their own health.

Here's a handy list of basic preventive health steps a typical woman can take to help weather the stress:

  • Healthy balanced diet. Cut out fast foods. They may fill you up, but they also fill you “out.” Rich in meat—and laden with saturated fat, cholesterol, and artificial chemicals—the greasy and salty food typical of convenience meals causes people to get fat and sick. The temptation to grab a quick meal to save on time is not worth the damage to your body. Home cooked meals don’t have to be complex. Here are some quick and simple recipes for inspiration. Instead of fast foods, have at least:
    • Four servings of fresh fruit per day (organic is best)
    • Five servings of fresh vegetables per day (organic is best)
    • Three to five servings of whole foods and grains that are unprocessed.
  • Supplements and natural remedies. For diets that are lacking optimum nutrition or for women who feel the toll of stress on their bodies, a natural supplement, herbal formula, or homeopathic medicine may help improve day-to-day functioning. Stop by the wellness department of any of our store locations for help to find the right products.
  • Yoga. The benefits of yoga are too many to describe here. The various poses and deep breaths help the heart do its job, increasing blood flow throughout the body, and improving the entire circulatory system. It can help improve cardiovascular health, reduce chronic neck and lower-back pain, and help control diabetes as well as reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Tai Chi and Qi Gong. These are ancient Chinese practices consisting of simple healing energy exercises and techniques combined with thought and intention to become healthy, increase energy, get rid of toxins, and relax the mind and body.
    • Tai Chi is medically proven to be one of the most effective exercises to improve health, fitness, and relaxation. Tai Chi consists of fluid, gentle, and relaxed movements suitable for anyone and can be practiced almost anywhere.
    • Qi Gong is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation that is excellent in supporting better health and spirituality.

In summary, one of the keys to better health is achieving “balance”—between a demanding lifestyle and the need for a healthy diet, supplements, relaxation, and exercise. Encourage the mothers and other women in your life to take care of themselves so they can “Love Life! Eat Healthy, Be happy!”