Women face several health challenges as they age. From menstruation and pregnancy to breastfeeding and menopause – there’s a lot that their body goes through. On top of it, due to these persistent challenges, many women even struggle to balance their personal and professional lives which leads to stress. One thing that can help women to have a smoother sail through the ride is a well-balanced diet. If all essential nutrients for women are being consumed, it may help promote longevity and a higher quality of life.
Health Shots spoke to Dr T Rajeshwari Reddy, Senior Consultant Gynecologist and Obstetrician, Laparoscopic Surgeon, Robotic Surgeon, BirthRight by Rainbow Hospitals, Financial District, Hyderabad, to understand the most important nutrients for women.
Important nutrients for women at every age
Here are 9 essential nutrients that women should consume through food at every age to live longer and stay fit!
Folate is a vital nutrient that every woman should incorporate into her daily diet. This nutrient helps to improve heart health, nerve functions, skin and eye problems, digestion, blood circulation and energy production. During pregnancy, women are advised by medical experts to consume folate as it potentially reduces the chances of birth defects in babies. Folate can be consumed in the form of leafy green vegetables, legumes, fortified cereals, and citrus fruits. You can also add folate supplements to your diet but only after expert consultation.
Calcium is important for maintaining robust bones and teeth. Women, especially as they age, are at an elevated risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by brittle and weak bones. Hence, adequate calcium intake is imperative throughout a woman’s life. Calcium is rich in sources like milk, yogurt, cheese, and so on, while if one is vegan then they can choose to take plant-based milk, and leafy greens such as kale, and spinach.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption, immune function, and overall health, acting as a hormone in a woman’s body. One can spend some time under the sun during the morning or late afternoon to get some vitamin D, while to incorporate vitamin D in the diet, you can consume dairy products and fatty fish.
Iron is another essential nutrient necessary for maintaining good blood health and helps to prevent anemia. If iron is not consumed properly, one can suffer from fatigue and extreme weakness. Experts advise taking iron with vitamin C-rich food items for faster absorption and better digestion. Iron-rich food items include lean red meats, poultry, fish, and beans.
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5. Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for sustaining good heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among women. One can obtain omega-3 fatty acids from sources like ghee, avocado, walnuts, chia seeds, and olive oil. Incorporating these food items into our diet can have a positive impact on our heart health.
Protein is the basic building component of life and is required for muscle mass, immunological function, and tissue repair. Women of all ages require adequate protein consumption to maintain overall health. Protein-rich foods include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, lentils, and tofu. Varied protein-rich foods ensure a balanced intake of key amino acids.
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, commonly known as ascorbic acid, is a potent antioxidant that plays a number of important roles in women’s health. It promotes collagen synthesis, which benefits skin health and wound healing. Furthermore, vitamin C improves iron absorption, making it especially beneficial for women suffering from iron deficiency anemia. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.
Fiber is a nutritional powerhouse that is beneficial to women of all ages. It promotes healthy body weight, aids digestion, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases like as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts are all high in fiber. Add these fibre-rich foods to your diet.
Potassium is an electrolyte that is essential for blood pressure regulation as well as healthy muscle and nerve function. Adequate potassium consumption helps lower the risk of hypertension and stroke. Potassium is abundant in bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach, and beans. It’s essential to balance potassium intake with sodium intake for optimal blood pressure control.
So ladies make sure your diet is rich in these nutrients to keep a healthy lifestyle! Also remember that while eating right is important, you cannot ignore the need of a regular fitness routine and stress-free life to live a healthier and longer life.