Women’s Health Nutrition
If you’re reading this, chances are it’s because you have a some questions about Women’s Health and how it relates to nutrition. I can also assume you don’t feel very good right now, so check out my free advice below, all the way to the end!
When it comes to women’s health, it’s not easy to find the answers. Many things are unfortunately overlooked by the medical system and with nutrition. This is partly because most of the medical research is done on men. But more on this later…
I’m Victoria Friscioni, Registered Dietitian, and
I help women feel better, improve energy, get stronger, reduce pain, and improve their health.
I’ve gone through (and fixed) some health challenges of my own, thanks to the power of functional and effective nutrition for women.
I’ll listen to you, assess you, and provide customized and sex-specific nutrition advice that goes beyond general recommendations. You can book an assessment with me here, or read on.
These are a few of the most common complaints I get from clients and what we can do about them from a nutrition standpoint:
Common Complaints from Female Clients:
Complaint: “I’m eating less than I was, working out, watching my sugar intake and I just can’t seem to get the weight off”.
Possible Nutrition Fixes: I hear this a lot, probably because nutrition is so highly involved in weight loss. First I want to make sure you’re getting enough high quality protein. We would look at the amount of food being eaten and your hunger levels. I will ensure your micronutrition levels (minerals, etc.) are adequate as well as ensure you’re consuming blood sugar balancing meals. Finally, we can look at symptoms of overtraining.
Free advice: make sure your snacks have protein. Instead of eating fruit, have a can of tuna with fruit, or if you don’t tuna, have some Greek yogurt. This is a game-changer!
Complaint: “The PMS symptoms [breast pain, cramps, fatigue] I am experiencing can’t be normal…”
First off all, I believe you. Some of my happiest clients are those who have reduced their negative PMS symptoms with nutrition changes! First I would support progesterone and your liver with b-vitamin rich foods, leafy greens & bitter herbs. We would also optimize your essential fat intake, minerals, and the timing of your meals.
Free advice: if you’re not taking omega 3’s you should start, unless you’re eating cold water fatty fish three times a week (like trout or Atlantic salmon). Purchase fish oil from a pharmacy and take about 5 mL per day. Keep it in the fridge.
Complaint: “I thought I felt better after coming off of the pill, but a few months later I feel SO burnt out! I’ve got no energy!”
Possible Nutrition Fixes: We need to replenish vitamin and mineral status to support adrenal glands. Similarly we need to assess, and correct overall nutrient deficiencies common from prolonged birth control use (vitamin C, selenium, zinc, magnesium, etc.)
Free advice: consider a multivitamin every day. This might not be enough but it’s a start.
Ultimately if you are interested in women’s health, you should empower yourself with knowledge on how to eat for your needs. Nutrition plays an absolutely MASSIVE role here.
Regarding medical research and women, It’s no surprise that there is a large gap in the knowledge pool and lack of sex-specific guidance for practitioners with much of the clinical research on nutrition and health done on men, It wasn’t until 1994 that the NIH required biomedical research to include women. At least in part, this large exclusion of women from clinical research trials pertained to safety & ethical reasons – namely protecting the fetus from exposures during pregnancy.
However, this poses a different kind of problem for many women today. Since we have limited female-specific data, there is greater room for inappropriate generalizing, broad guidelines and ultimately, less than optimal recommendations for women.
Recently, researchers found that nutritional guidelines in North America are skewed toward males. Moreover, the researchers revealed that there is even limited evidence on basic micronutrient requirements (that is your vitamin & mineral needs) during pregnancy!
Let’s take a look at some of the key stages in a women’s life where nutrition & nutrient needs change and need to be accounted for:
Key Stages for Women’s Nutrition:
- 3 phases of the menstrual cycle
- Pre/perimenopause, menopause, post-menopause
- Healthy aging
Luckily, we understand that a women’s nutritional needs are NOT the same as a man’s. I’m well-versed in women’s health & hormones, the changes throughout the lifecycle and how they can be optimized through diet.
Because of the fact that the female hormonal systems are constantly in flux and demanding the body of certain resources, it is SO important to assess for hormone states that might be impacting the body’s ability to lose weight such as:
- What stage of the menstrual cycle is she in?
- Is she menopausal?
- Could there be overtraining involved?
- Is she consuming enough protein?
- Could there be any nutrient deficiencies due to birth control?
There could also be other hormonal issues that might prevent weight loss, specifically in women such as:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Post-pill fatigue or PCOS
- Adrenal fatigue -> dysregulated HPA axis
- Amenorrhea (loss of period)
More Free Advice
It’s no surprise that women are majorly influential and impactful on those around them – especially to those that we love most. Once we as women learn to get in touch with our monthly cycles instead of dreading them, understand the basics of our hormones and reconnect with our bodies, we have the ability not only to positively impact our own health, but to set up healthy foundations our families and loved ones around us.
In the meantime, here’s what you can do to support overall hormonal health today:
- Consume Balanced Meals – containing carbs, proteins & fats
- Consume at least 3 oz. protein with each meal
- Ensure you’re pooping at least once per day, and if you’re not, please come see me
- Eat whole foods – quality meats, fruits & veggies, fermented dairy & legumes, starchy veggies
- Avoid prolonged periods of fasting, especially pre-workout fasting – this can really mess with the female hormone system
As an RD passionate about women’s nutrition, my goal is to educate women about their hormones, monthly cycles, body composition, nutrient needs & meal planning to ensure that they have the necessary tools to move forward independently and confidently with their nutrition goals.
I hope to support you in my practice soon!
Victoria Friscioni RD, MScFN
- Bailey RL, Dog TL, Smith-Ryan AE, Das SK, Baker FC, Madak-Erdogan Z, et al. Sex Differences Across the Life Course: A Focus On Unique Nutritional and Health Considerations among Women. The Journal of Nutrition. 2022 Jul 1;152(7):1597–610.
- Smith ER, He S, Klatt KC, Barberio MD, Rahnavard A, Azad N, et al. Limited data exist to inform our basic understanding of micronutrient requirements in pregnancy. Science Advances. 2021 Oct 22;7(43):eabj8016.
- Mazure CM, Jones DP. Twenty years and still counting: including women as participants and studying sex and gender in biomedical research. BMC Women’s Health. 2015 Oct 26;15(1):94.