Because of the many phases that women go through, pregnancy and menopause, the optimal nutrition that they require differs from men’s requirements. While women can function fine with fewer calories, they need more nutrients. They need larger quantity of nutrients like iron and calcium. If they do not intake these in adequate amount, deficiencies may occur. Some of the most important nutritional contents for women have been mention below.
Folic acid is a form of B vitamin found in multivitamins. It can also be found in fortified foods like breads, cereals and pastas. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folic acid too. All women should incorporate at least 400 micrograms of folic acid in their diet each day. It benefits perimenopausal, postmenopausal and pregnant women. Deficiency of it in a expecting woman’s diet can lead to neural-tube birth defects in the babies. The vitamin acts as an anti-cancer agent. It helps generate new cells and creation and maintenance of DNA. A study shows that intake of the vitamin can prevent depression, dementia, cognitive impairment, stroke, and heart disease.
Calcium is the mineral that forms bones and teeth. Human body is rich in calcium. Incorporating calcium in one’s daily diet helps growth of bones and prevents osteoporosis. Calcium can be found in low-fat dairy items and vegetables. Known sources include almonds, broccoli and kale. Healthy woman should have 1000 mg of calcium every day. 1200 mg of the mineral helps to offset bone damage. A research suggested that the in taking 1250 mg of calcium per day might also be able to prevent breast cancer. It also helps women experiencing premenstrual syndrome. Please note that our body cannot digest large quantity of calcium at a time. So, it is important to divide the amount in doses. Not more than 500 mg of calcium should be taken in one sitting.
Vitamin D is a vitamin that works like a hormone. When it is converted into Calciferol, it enhances the intestine’s ability to absorb calcium from food. It is an essential nutrient that every women needs. Women under age 50 should have 200 International units each day while older women are recommended to take 400 units. Oily fishes like anchovies and salmon are excellent sources of the vitamin. It can also be found in cod liver oil supplements, milk and in some cereals. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption in the body and is thus essential for preventing osteoporosis. It also prevents breast, colon and ovarian cancer.
Iron assists the blood to deliver oxygen to cells. It also helps maintain energy level. Low amount of iron in the diet may lead to fatigue in women. This may also lead to anemia. Women should take 18 mg of iron each day in general. The amount differs for Postmenopausal women, who need only 8 mg, and pregnant women, who need 27 mg daily. Heme and non-heme iron are the two forms of the mineral. Heme iron is available in meats and fishes while non-heme iron is available from plant sources.
Fiber is a dietary material that passes through the body without being absorbed. Fiber can be either in soluble or insoluble form. Soluble fiber prevents cholesterol from being absorbed by the intestine. Insoluble fiber just cleans the digestive tract by passing through. Breads, oatmeal, pastas, fruits and many other common foods contain fiber. Intake of these can reduce heart risks and weight. It can also energize women. 30 g of fiber is a healthy daily dosage for women. This should be taken in 3 sittings. It is advised to introduce fiber in small amount to the body and then increase dosage with time. Otherwise, you may suffer from constipation.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fat that can only be supplied by diet. Common sources of this fat are fishes. Fishes like Wild salmon, halibut, non-white tuna, sardines, herring, and anchovies have a high level of omega 3 fatty acid. Women should regularly intake 1.1 g of this fatty acid each day. It is known toreduce chances of stroke up to sixty percent. It also reduces blood pressure and risk of heart diseases.