Nutrition - Women's Extra Needs

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Trying to balance between the family and school or work and dealing with pressure to eat and look in a certain way, all this can make it difficult for any woman to follow a healthy diet. Right nutrition and women's health is interlinked. So, no matter how busy you are, taking the time to eat right and nutritious food can help you in many ways such as boost your energy levels, support your mood and maintain a healthy weight, which can be a huge support through the various stages in a woman's life.

As children, girls and boys dietary requirements are almost similar but when puberty hits women starts to develop different and unique nutritional needs. As we age, our bodies go through hormonal and physical changes, the nutritional needs continue to develop, which means you should put thought on what you put in your stomach to meet these changing needs.

Though women need few calories as compared to men, the requirements for certain multivitamins are much higher. Hormonal changes associated with menopause, child-bearing and menstruation means women are at much higher risk of getting anaemia, osteoporosis and weak bones. This is the reason pregnant women diet, overall female nutrition should have a high amount of calcium, iron, vitamin D, magnesium and folate (vitamin B9).

Women and Nutrition

Women should prioritise their nutritional needs. Whether you want to improve your mood, energy levels, reduce stress or PMS, enjoy a healthy pregnancy, boost fertility or ease the symptoms of menopause following these women nutrition tips can help you to stay healthy and energetic throughout your life-changing phases.

Calcium

Nutrition is the key for women’s health. Calcium is another essential nutrient to maintain women’s bone and teeth health as they age. Calcium deficiency can cause mood problems such as depression, irritability, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. Women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men, so it is important that you have plenty of calcium in combination with vitamin D and magnesium to support your bone health. For women between 19 to 50 age should take 1000 mg of calcium per day. For women over the age of 50 should consume 1200mg per day. The recommended dosage of magnesium is 320 to 400 milligrams per day and 6000 IU of vitamin D in a day.

Good sources of calcium include grains, fish, leafy green vegetables, dairy products, cabbage. Magnesium-rich foods are summer squash, halibut, broccoli, green beans, celery, cucumber and variety of seeds. To meet your vitamin D, bask in the sun in an hour and increase your intake of foods such as vitamin D fortified milk, shrimp, eggs, and cod.

Iron

Iron is responsible for the production of hemoglobin, that transports oxygen in the blood. It also maintains healthy nails, hair and skin. During pregnancy and menstruation, women lose blood and need twice the amount of iron that men do. Iron deficiency can make you feel weak, exhausted and reduce energy levels. For women aged 14 to 18 should consume 15mg per day, women aged 19 to 50 should take 18mg per day, pregnant women diet must contain 27mg/day of iron and 9mg/day if lactating. Women above 51+ years should take 8mg of iron in a day.

To meet your iron needs or healthy food for pregnant women are red meat, leafy green vegetables, dried fruit such as apricot and raisins, seafood, iron-fortified cereals, pasta and bread in your diet.

Folate (Vitamin B9)

Folate is another nutrient that most women fail to get adequate amounts in their diet. When taken during pregnancy, folate can reduce the risks of neurological birth defects. It also reduces the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer in women. During menopause, folate can help in developing estrogen in the body.

Women in teen girls should consume 400 mcg of folate in a day. Women who are breastfeeding need 500 mcg and pregnant women's diet should include 600 mcg of folate. Include beans, nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and grain-based products such as pasta, bread and cereals in your diet to meet your folate requirements.

How To Ease The PMS Symptoms

Experiencing cramping and bloating during the week or before your period is often because of the fluctuating hormones. Women eating healthy food or healthy eating for women can do wonders for their health and alleviating PMS symptoms.

  • Include foods rich in iron and zinc
  • Boost Your calcium intake
  • Reduce your salt intake and avoid deep-fried foods sugar and trans fats
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Watch out for food sensitivities
  • Take vitamin supplements
  • Include essential fatty acids in your diet to ease cramps

How to take care of your nutrition during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Pregnancy

  • Adequate intake of Omega 3 fatty acid during pregnancy is important for the proper development of the baby.
  • Avoid alcohol, as no amount is safe for the baby.
  • Do not have caffeine as it can lead to miscarriage and can also interfere with the absorption of iron.
  • Eat small, frequent meals and nutritious food for pregnant women will help in preventing and reducing heartburn and morning sickness.
  • Food to avoid when pregnant are soft cheeses, deli meats, sushi, fish etc.
  • During your childbearing days, it is important to have high-quality protein for baby's brain and nervous system development.

Breastfeeding

  • Try to keep your calorie consumption a bit higher, as this will help in maintaining a steady milk supply.
  • Increase your intake of protein and calcium that are high in demand during lactation.
  • Consider taking prenatal vitamin supplements that can be helpful during breastfeeding but make sure to consult your physician before taking these supplements.
  • Refrain from caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.

Easing the symptoms of menopause

Following women's nutrition guide strictly can make your menopausal years smooth, keep the following things in mind to ease the symptoms of menopause.

  • Boost calcium intake along with Vitamin D and magnesium, doing this will support your bone health and reduce the chances of osteoporosis.
  • To ease hot flashes limit sugar, wine, coffee, and white flour products.
  • Try to include food rich in good fats like Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids in your diet.
  • Flax seeds can help in stabilising your hormone levels and managing hot flashes.

So, this nutrition week, try to follow these nutrition tips step by step for your better health. Have you tried any healthy diet for women, pregnancy food chart or any other healthy diet plans for women, feel free to share your experience in the comment section below. And remember health is wealth.

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