A woman’s journey through life is marked by remarkable milestones and transformative changes, from the onset of puberty to the joys of pregnancy, the nurturing of new life through lactation, and the transition into menopause. Throughout these stages, the female body undergoes significant hormonal fluctuations, making proper nutrition a vital aspect of maintaining optimal health. By ensuring the intake of essential nutrients, women can support their overall well-being and safeguard against potential deficiencies.
Essential Nutrients For A Healthy Diet In Women
Let’s explore key nutrients crucial for women, including iron, folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, choline, and magnesium. By understanding the importance of these nutrients and incorporating them into a well-balanced diet, women can empower themselves to thrive at every phase of their extraordinary journey.
- Iron: It plays a vital role in the formation of red blood cells, transport of oxygen to different parts of the body, building immunity, etc. but is unfortunately most commonly deficient in women worldwide. This deficiency is due to poor nutrition consumption and loss of iron during menstruation which can lead to anemia. To avoid the same, its important to include Iron rich foods like green leafy vegetables, legumes, organ meat, chicken, nuts, tofu, etc. Iron gets effectively absorbed in the body when combined with Vitamin C, hence, adding citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers to meals will be of great help.
- Folic acid: This vitamin has a special role to play during the child bearing age of women. During pregnancy, Folic Acid helps in the development of the neural tube that will develop into your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Apart from this, it also plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells, deficiency of which can lead to anemia. We can include green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and broccoli to ensure you’re getting a good amount of this vitamin!
- Calcium: During adulthood, adequate calcium consumption is necessary to ensure good bone and muscle health, sending & receiving nerve signals, releasing hormones & other chemicals but after menopause, the fall in estrogen levels causes decreased calcium absorption. This can lead to fragile bones. Hence, its advised to further increase calcium consumption after menopause. We can do so by including dairy products, green leafy vegetables, tofu, nuts like almonds , chia & sesame seeds.
- Vitamin D: This sunshine vitamin is necessary for absorption of calcium & phosphorus in body. It also helps to build immunity, cell growth & reduce inflammation. If not absorbed in the body adequately through sunlight and diet, it can cause symptoms like bone pain, low mood, poor muscle strength, constant tiredness, frequent infections, and weight gain. Exposure to sunlight, adding food rich in Vitamin D like fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified cereals, and fortified milk helps when deficiency is minor. In case of severe deficiency, its advisable to take supplements.
- Choline: It is one of the necessary nutrients for women during the phase of pregnancy and breastfeeding as it plays an important role in the child’s growth . It also helps to maintain good brain health & nervous system, muscle control, and cell formation. Including whole eggs, organ meats, fish, Soyabean, wheat germ, chicken, almonds, kidney beans, quinoa, and cottage cheese is a good way to keep its deficiency away.
- Magnesium: This is a mineral which is necessary to ensure proper functioning of muscles & nerves. It helps in protein production but its deficiency during pregnancy can lead to serious complications like gestational diabetes, restricted fetal growth, preterm labor, and pre-eclampsia. Eating a diet which includes nuts, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, beans, legumes and peas will help.
All in all, a well balanced diet rich in all food groups is the key to good health. If this article helped you, let us know in the comments below and share it with your friends and family too!