Nutrient requirements are not the same for men and women. While most of us benefit from the same vitamins and minerals, a woman's nutritional needs change through each stage of her life. Women are the backbone of their families and are up even after the rest of the family is in bed. It's no question then how important it is for her to take care of her own mental & physical health.
Good nutrition is a key to health and beauty for women of all ages. Proper intake of nutrients supply women with plenty of energy, help control weight and are essential for looking and feeling their best at any age.
1. Eat to Boost Energy
Cultivating healthy eating habits will help you stay slim, control cravings, and feel energetic all day long. These include:
- Eating breakfast. Studies reveal that people who eat a healthy breakfast generally weigh less than those who don't. A nutritious breakfast provides energy for the whole day.
- Eating regularly. Eat regularly - includes three meals & two healthy snacks between meals that help you to have control on your portion size.
- Opt for complex carbohydrates. Eating veggies, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and whole grain bread provide plenty of fibre.
- Boosting energy with good-quality protein. Go for fish, skinned chicken, low-fat dairy and plant-based protein sources such as legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, and soy products.
2. Consume Good Fat, not No Fat!
Good fats are an important part of a healthy diet. They include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that help improve your complexion, tone and vitality. Monounsaturated fats are found in plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (pumpkin, sesame). Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Vegetarians must take supplements of Omega-3 & Omega-6 to make up for the lack in their diet.
3. Strengthen Your Bones
Women should eat foods that build up healthy and strong bones throughout their lives, as women are prone to the risk of osteoporosis. Adequate nutrition and exercise, i.e., the right amount of calcium and magnesium in combination with vitamin D promotes bone health & prevents osteoporosis. Calcium works best when taken in combination with magnesium. Magnesium is found in leafy green vegetables, summer squash, broccoli, cucumber, green beans, celery, fish such as halibut, and a variety of seeds, including pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds.
The excellent source to get Vitamin D is from about half an hour of direct exposure to sunlight. Some of the other rich sources of vitamin D are salmon, shrimp, vitamin-D fortified milk, cod, and eggs.
4. Add Fibre to Your Diet
Adding fibre to the diet helps to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, maintains the health of your skin and even to lose weight or keep up a healthy weight. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fibre and low in calories, so including fibre in your diet makes it easier to cut calories and help lose weight.
Six Nutrients Women Need Most
Vitamin B6 - Regulates mood appetite & sleep.
Vitamin B12 - Fights fatigue & improves alertness.
Folate - Prevents brain & spinal defects in first week of pregnancy.Citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans and peas naturally contain folate. There are many folic acid fortified foods such as cereals, rice and breads.
Vitamin D - Strengthens bones, teeth & protects against autoimmune diseases.
Calcium - Reduces PMS symptoms & maintains blood pressure.
Iron - Boosts brain function & prevents anaemia.Plant-based sources of iron such as spinach (palak), beans, lentils and fortified cerealsare more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. Include fortified cereal with strawberries on top, spinach salad with mandarin orange slices or add tomatoes to your lentil (dal) soup.
Balancing Calories with Activity
Since women naturally have less muscle, more fat and are built smaller than men, you need fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight &activity level. Reasonably active women need 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day. More physically active women may need more calories.
Regular daily activity helps with weight control, muscle strength and stress management and is an important part of a woman's health.