Feeling good today and protecting your health in the future, is all about consistent routines. These scientifically supported habits will positively impact your wellness today, while also extending health span. Identify where your health needs the most attention and choose just one or two concepts to focus on at a time. Once those routines are in place, you’ll have the bandwidth for more.
Food and drink
Eat a plant-focused Mediterranean diet (Green MED)
This style of eating is well-researched for longevity and provides healthy fats, lean protein, load of veggies and fruit and satiating nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.
And, this style of eating is not just about what you get, it's also what you avoid. Processed foods, sugars and saturated fat keep inflammation down. Want the science? Check out NutritionFacts.
Eat soluble fiber
Studies show that 15-20 grams of soluble fiber every day improved heart health, helps to prevent breast, colorectal, liver, and endometrial cancers, improves hormone balance and supports healthy digestion and elimination. Pick 5 of these a day to reach 20g:
- 1 medium size avocado
- ½ cup black beans
- ½ cup lima beans
- 1 cup kidney beans
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts
- 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
- 1 ½ cup broccoli
- 1 ½ cup turnips
- 2 cups cooked carrots
- 2 tbsp. flax meal
- 1 tbsp. Florasophy
Alcohol use is the leading risk factor for breast cancer, but moreover, it leads to poor liver function and weight gain around the middle. Studies show limiting to 1 drink or less per day for women is associated with better overall health. We LOVE these AF replacements that provide all the ceremony without the side effects.
Drink 60-70 ounces water/day
Drink lots of water, but remember, if you're running to the bathroom all day (and night) you might be drinking too much and that can actually DE-hydrate you. When water diminishes electrolytes, we lose cellular hydration. Drink enough water, but aim to get water that is already rich with electrolytes in your veggies and fruits. If you're extra thirsty, add electrolytes like Nuun or LMNT to your water.
Balance blood sugar
This means eating fiber, fat and protein at each meal. Carbs are fuel but if you eat too many or you digest them too fast, you'll be on a roller coaster of blood sugar spikes and dips which affects energy, cravings, weight gain and hormones. Check out our blood sugar balancing smoothies and our guide for keeping blood sugar balanced all day.
Move before and after meals
Just a short walk or even 30 seconds of high knees will help your body "use" the food you eat for energy instead of storing it. We suggest incorporating Dr. Rhonda Patrick's exercise snacks 3 times per day or more, and even more effective if you do them around meals!
Lift heavy 3 days a week
Cardio is good for a healthy heart, but for most women, its not the answer after 40. When estrogen starts to decline through peri-menopause and menopause, metabolism drops. One reason is that muscle doesn't take glucose in as effectively. Research shows that lifting HEAVY is the answer. This does not build bulk but dense muscles that burn a lot of energy. Check out Dr. Stacy Sims, one of the leading authorities on women's fitness for more info. If lifting is new to you, we suggest starting with a physical therapist and then moving to a qualified trainer.
Choose movement you love
The most important part of any routine is that you DO IT! Make sure to find activities you enjoy!
Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing shift the nervous system into "rest and digest". This style of breathing tells the brain it's safe, naturally reducing stress. New to deep breathing? Check out this video. Dr. Andrew Huberman is a fan of the deep sigh and you can learn that technique here.
Start your day with 5-10 minutes of gratitude or meditation
This habit sets the mind and nervous system towards positivity and calm. We love these two apps that make this practice simple:
Incorporate mindful movement like yoga, Tai Chi, or walking in nature
Trouble sitting still? Mindful movement is an amazing way to reduce stress with intention. Check out this resource to get started.
Many cultures have long-used high heat and sweat to optimize health. Now, research supports these claims. Sauna at 175+ degrees for 20 minutes 4 times per week has been shown to provide the best benefits. Want to "geek" out on the research? Listen to Dr. Rhonda Patrick here.
Sleep is essential for cognition and brain health, mood, healing and repair, immune function, energy level, metabolism and balanced hormones. If you're not getting 7-8 hour of quality sleep each night, try these tips.
Ask your family if you snore or have episodes of not breathing. If so, consider sleep study to evaluate your sleep quality.
The devil is in the details when it comes to sleep routines. Lights, temperature and timing are just a few of the factors that can make or break you when it comes to sleep. Check out a comprehensive list of sleep hygiene essentials here.
The right melatonin
Many people think melatonin doesn't work, but that is because they take it before bed and then it wears off in the middle of the night. Instead try time released melatonin for a lasting effect. Melatonin is totally safe and non habit-forming. In fact, for most, it's a healthy hormone replacement disrupted by artificial light.
If you're in perimenopausal years and struggle to fall asleep and/or wake up anxious in the middle of the night, consider talking to your hormone-literate provider about micronized progesterone. This safe hormone brings estrogen back into balance and improves sleep, mood and PMS.
If your sleep is disrupted by getting up to pee, try these three helpful tips:
1. Don't drink liquids within 2 hours of going to bed
2. Consider adding electrolytes to your water 2x per day (Nuun is a good option). This will keep the water in your body instead of waking you to rush to the bathroom.
3. Consider having your pelvis evaluated by a specialized PT. Often, structural changes affect bladder control and can be resolved with proper therapy. We strongly recommend Mendwell Pelvic Health in Lake Oswego.