A balanced eating pattern is very important for every woman. A woman needs more nutritional foods from all the food groups, this includes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat, dairy products, lean protein. A womans nutritional needs changes in every stage of her life.
Many women face iron deficiency mainly because of unhealthy eating habits, vegetarianism or lack of intake of iron rich foods. Anemia can be aggravated by loss of blood during menstruation. Therefore, it is important to include the right foods in the diet.
Iron-rich foods: iron is important and need for iron is different depending on a woman’s stage of life. For eg: it is required high during pregnancy and less during menopause. Iron-rich foods are meat, poultry, fish, kale, spinach, beans, and lentils. When iron or any other vitamin deficiency occurs it shows some symptoms. Iron deficiency leads to anemia, lack of appetite, weakness, tiredness, etc. Supplements can help only to some extent and they cannot compensate for an unbalanced and unhealthy diet. So to get all the nutrition one has to consume fruits, vegetables, good protein, and healthy fats.
Folate: when women reach childbearing age folic acid plays an important role in decreasing the risk of birth defects. For women who are not pregnant needs around 400 mcg per day and should include adequate amounts of foods that naturally contain folate (folic acid) such as oranges, leafy green vegetables, beans, etc. eating a variety of foods is recommended to help meet nutrient needs, but a dietary supplement with folic acid might be required. This is especially recommended for women who are pregnant since their daily need for folate is higher.
Nutrition during pregnancy and after childbirth:
A woman’s body requires a lot of nutrition during pregnancy and after childbirth. These nutritional needs can be met by choosing a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods. Grains are good source of energy, fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. Foods like nuts, meat, and legumes are the sources for protein, folate, and iron, dairy products are good sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Nutrition for working women:
Many working women do not get the right nutrition due to their busy work schedules. Some may follow a good diet but they may not be able to have it at the right time. They end up skip either their breakfast or lunch which may affect their health.
Working women should consume fruits every day, should consume minimum of 2 liters of water daily. Foods that contain a high amount of sugar and salts should be avoided as they may cause hypertension and diabetes.
Having a balanced diet is good and this can be attained by a variety of foods such as legumes, nuts, fruits, whole grains, soy products, whole wheat, brown rice, and millets.
Healthy fat is very important – this can be attained by nuts, butter, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs.
To overcome iron deficiencies consume figs, dates,apricots, and green leafy vegetables. Cooking green leafy vegetables with tomato or lime juice enhances the absorption of iron in the body. Non vegetarian iron sources are eggs, mutton, beef, liver etc which are easily absorbed in the body the vegetarian sources of iron.
For healthy bones- calcium and vitamin D are required. Calcium keeps bones strong and helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Some of the calcium rich-foods are milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, and paneer. An adequate amount of vitamin D also is important. A good source of vitamin D is available in fish such as salmon, eggs, milk, orange juice, cod liver oil, mushrooms, and yogurt.
Physical activity is very important in a woman’s health. Regular exercise helps with muscle strength, balance, flexibility, and stress management.