Happy Mother’s Day! This month we get to pause and reflect on the wonderfulness of the world’s Moms. They listen to our woes. They’re patient. They’re unconditionally fierce in their love. And fearless in their support of their family’s health and well-being.
But sometimes, in caring for us, they forget to nurture their own best health.
So this month, along with showering your mom with flowers, chocolates and delicious meals, let her know how much you care by sharing these tips for her health and well-being — particularly as she ages.
EAT WELL AND BE HEALTHY
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a healthy eating plan (for women and men) regularly includes:
- At least three-ounce equivalents of whole grains such as whole-grain bread, whole-wheat cereal flakes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice or oats.
- Three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products including milk, yogurt or cheese.
- Five to 5-and-a-half ounce equivalents of protein such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans or peas, nuts, and seeds.
- Two cups of fruits — fresh, frozen or canned without added sugar.
- Two-and-a-half cups of colorful vegetables — fresh, frozen or canned without added salt.
Women over 50 need to boost calcium and vitamin D, so try to increase your intake to four 8-ounce servings of low-fat dairy every day. If you’re lactose-intolerant, eat hard cheese, yogurt, or kefir; canned salmon; broccoli; and legumes. If your doctor says you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, she may suggest you take supplements that have 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of the nutrient.
A great way to get focused and stay focused on eating healthy is to work with a Nutrition Counselor. For Blue Cross NC members, services from these medical professionals are included in many plans. Learn more about nutrition counseling and find a counselor near you at www.BlueCrossNC.com/Nutrition.
As women age, regular exercise may reduce the hot flashes, joint pain, and sleep problems associated with entering menopause. And, as it does for men, exercise lowers your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, and helps control weight. Exercise has a positive impact on every physiological system in the body.
To be a rounded program, this should include aerobic exercise (including walking, running, swimming, biking), strength training to maintain muscle (lifting hand weights), and stretching to maintain flexibility and range of motion (try yoga or pilates).
If you’ve been somewhat inactive and aren’t sure how to begin an exercise program, a good place to start is getting an annual checkup and talking with your doctor about it. It’s easy to find a primary care doctor using our Blue Connect online portal (it’s also a great tool for keeping your medical records, claims, and prescription information organized).
Also, many employers provide Blue365 Benefits that offer employees savings on gym memberships.
FINALLY, PURSUE HAPPINESS
Back in the day, Thomas Jefferson told us we all have the inalienable right to it. Today, experts who’ve researched longevity (and happiness in that long life) have shared that the key to the pursuit of happiness is having a pursuit.
What activity do you love to do? What makes you smile? What gives you a reason to get up in the morning and embrace a new day? Whatever that is, don’t put it off. Engage in what makes your heart sing every day.
P.S. One more gift for Mother’s Day. Longevity experts also emphasize that happiness and longevity may be enhanced when you spend time with others. As we age, many people have contact with fewer and fewer people. So intentionally surround yourself with a social network (the kind that meets face to face!); it doesn’t have to be a huge group, just people you care about who also care about you.