Integrative and Functional Nutrition: A New Look at Food as Medicine

Flatlay of healthy food depicting integrative nutrition

Women’s Integrative Nutrition involves a holistic approach to nutrition and health tailored specifically to the unique needs of women. This approach takes into account various aspects of women’s health, including hormonal changes, reproductive health, and nutritional requirements. While I can provide some general guidance and insights into this field, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice. Here are some key areas and principles of Women’s Integrative Nutrition with citations to support the information:

Balancing Hormones

Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life, such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can impact nutritional needs. A balanced diet with essential nutrients can support hormonal balance.

Citation: Stanczyk, F. Z., & Clarke, N. J. (2014). Advantages and challenges of mass spectrometry assays for steroid hormones. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 144, 27-32.

Bone Health

Women are more prone to osteoporosis, and adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is crucial for maintaining bone health.

Citation: Weaver, C. M. (2015). Nutrition and Bone Health. Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease, 787-812.

Heart Health

Heart disease is a leading cause of death among women. Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants can contribute to heart health.

Citation: Mozaffarian, D., Benjamin, E. J., Go, A. S., et al. (2016). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2016 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 133(4), e38-e360.

Menstrual Health

Nutrition can influence menstrual cycle regularity and alleviate symptoms like PMS. Incorporating iron-rich foods and reducing processed sugar may help.

Citation: Chocano-Bedoya, P. O., Manson, J. E., Hankinson, S. E., et al. (2011). Dietary B-vitamin intake and incident premenstrual syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(5), 1080-1086.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Proper nutrition during pregnancy and lactation is essential for both the mother and the baby’s health. Folate, iron, and DHA are crucial nutrients.

Citation: Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Nutritional Status During Pregnancy and Lactation. (1990). Nutrition During Pregnancy: Part I: Weight Gain, Part II: Nutrient Supplements. National Academies Press.


As women go through menopause, their nutritional needs change. Calcium and vitamin D are crucial for bone health, and phytoestrogens may help manage menopausal symptoms.

Citation: Rossouw, J. E., Anderson, G. L., Prentice, R. L., et al. (2002). Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 288(3), 321-333.

Stress and Emotional Eating

Emotional eating can be a concern for women. Strategies to manage stress and promote emotional well-being are important aspects of Women’s Integrative Nutrition.

Citation: Torres, S. J., & Nowson, C. A. (2007). Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition, 23(11-12), 887-894.

It’s important to note that Women’s Integrative Nutrition is a dynamic field, and the specific nutritional recommendations may vary based on individual health, lifestyle, and specific stages of a woman’s life. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who specializes in women’s health is the best way to receive personalized guidance and support. Contact us now to schedule!

February 21, 2024


Sarah Early - Peony's WIH

Sarah Early - MSN, APRN-FNP-C, IBCLC

Sarah graduated from a Masters in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner graduate program with high distinction and was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nurses while working and running Lactation Room. Her clinical education and training paved the way for her newest journey in private practice, Peony Women’s Integrative Health, which she opened in 2023. Working as a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner she serves clients in the DMV. Peony WIH focuses on caring for women with a root-cause, integrative, and functional medicine approach to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. PWIH provides in-office health consults with Sarah, integrative and functional nutrition support by a Registered Dietician, and Craniosacral therapy services. Sarah is focused on addressing the needs of women in the community through a patient-centered and collaborative approach to care. She is an active member of ILCA, USLCA, IATP, AHNA, AANP, and MBC.

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