I sit here on Mother’s Day afternoon finishing up writing and editing this post. I have scrolled through various online social news feeds a few times today and see the love my friends are sending to their mothers, adult daughters, grandmothers and girlfriends on this special day. Mother’s Day truly is a wonderful time to honor mom with her favorite treats and, under regular circumstances, gatherings with close and extended family. With all the celebrations dedicated to amazing females, it is fitting that May is Women’s Health Month.
The saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It also takes a village of empowered and knowledgeable individuals to help keep the matriarchs of said village healthy. My challenge to every woman reading this for the rest of May: help spread information and resources about women’s health with the same outpouring of love that I saw in all those Mother’s Day messages.
So, where to start? Learning about which preventive health screenings are recommended for women and the frequency at which they are recommended is a great jumping off point. These include blood pressure checks, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, gynecological exams, breast exams, colorectal screenings, and bone density tests, among others. The following links provide guidelines for preventive health screenings. No matter your age, now is the time to take a look at them and discuss them with your doctor to make sure you are on track. Oh, and share them with every woman in your life!
Women ages 18-39: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007462.htm
Women ages 40-64: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007467.htm
Women ages 65 and over: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007463.htm
Next, start new traditions that include nutritious foods, physical activity, and other healthy habits and invite your VIW (Very Important Women) to participate. Although Covid-19 may not allow us to physically be together currently, there has never been a better time to connect for both our physical and mental health. Here are a few ideas to inspire you!
Host a virtual brunch. Send out invitations by email that include nutritious menu suggestions. Oat and fruit muffins (check out one of my favorites here: https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/recipes/individual-baked-oatmeal), vegetable frittatas, or avocado toast on a hearty whole grain bread are delicious!
Send some love and kindness with cut flowers or green plants and a handwritten note to brighten someone’s day.
Start a healthy recipe exchange. What exactly makes a recipe healthy may be slightly different for everyone, but generally look for recipes that include whole grains, lean proteins, and a hearty amount of vegetables and/or fruit. My go-to websites for recipes include the MyPlate Kitchen at choosemyplate.gov, Spend Smart. Eat Smart. from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and, as a Hy-Vee dietitian, I love that you can filter recipes at hy-vee.com that are heart healthy, diabetes-friendly or dietitian approved.
Find a buddy to help motivate you and hold you accountable to achieving physical fitness goals. Can’t go for a walk with your BFF? Plug in your ear buds and call her up, then walk “together” while apart.
When women support each other, incredible things happen. Let’s celebrate this and every Women’s Health Month by encouraging and empowering our sisters, moms, aunts, grandmas, and female friends to take charge of their health and wellness!
Blog Provided by IAND Media Spokesperson Emily Ring RD, LD