Your daily food choices greatly affect your overall health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help prevent and manage various health problems.
Women’s nutritional requirements
Women’s nutritional needs vary with genes, activity level, height, and age. Most women need about 25-30 calories and 0.8-1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. However, it is recommended that women not count calories (and use hunger cues instead) because it is difficult to know what they need. If you are curious to know how much you may need, you can try this calculator tool.
Factors affecting the nutritional needs of women
The following factors can affect the amount of nutrition a woman needs:
The hormonal changes in menopause can lead to a gradual decrease in muscle mass, which in turn can reduce calorie needs. Conversely, women now need more calcium (1,200 mg/day instead of 1,000 mg) to help maintain strong bones
As humans age, both men and women may need more vitamin B12 and more vitamin D, which may not be absorbed or synthesized as before.
3. Pregnancy and lactation
Since the fetus or infant is dependent on the mother for its nutrition, an increase in the nutritional intake of the woman is needed at these times.
4. Physical activity
The more physically active a woman is, the more energy she will expend, thus increasing her calorie requirements.
5. Public health
Sometimes illnesses or health conditions can also affect nutritional needs – for example, extra protein can be beneficial for someone recovering from surgery. There is no single food that “should” be included in a woman’s diet, as the sum of what one eats regularly is greater than any single food. But here are some great options for nutrient-dense foods for women:
Greek Yogurt – Contains Calcium and Vitamin D for Strong Bones and Probiotics Beans – offer plant-based protein and fiber to promote a healthy microbiome
Berries – a useful source of fiber that promotes normal bowel movements and also rich in antioxidants Salmon – rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is important throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding for fetal brain development and for preventing inflammation later in life
Dark Chocolate – Contains polyphenols that have antioxidant activity
Almonds – great as a filling snack because they contain protein, fat, and fiber, all of which balance blood sugar Avocado – It is high in folic acid, which is useful before pregnancy and during pregnancy to prevent premature growth of the fetus
Dark leafy greens – may be especially beneficial for heart health after menopause, thanks to the nitrate component additionally, women should try to cut back on meat and eat more fish and seafood instead. Seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and may prevent a variety of health conditions.
Moreover, fluids i.e. water is a key ingredient that people often forget. Water is a nutrient, and it is recommended that women aim to have at least 2 liters per day
Women’s health vitamins
While a balance of all vitamins and minerals is essential, women should consider the following:
Women should include sources of vitamin D in their diet. Vitamin D is an essential part of bone health as well as the immune system, yet it is not found in many foods (except for salmon, fortified dairy products, and dairy alternatives).
If you’re a vegetarian or a strict vegetarian, consider vitamin B12, which is only found in animal foods. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia or problems with the nervous system. Vegetarians can get vitamin B12 through supplements or fortified products (such as non-dairy milk).
In general, when it comes to nutritional supplements, a targeted approach is recommended rather than a comprehensive approach. In other words, take supplements that treat specific deficiencies rather than just taking a multivitamin (the exception to this is pregnancy, where it is almost universally recommended to take a prenatal multivitamin).
It is helpful for women to work individually with a nutritionist such as a registered dietitian if they wish to determine which supplements they could benefit from
If you are a female looking to get pregnant, focus on feeding as soon as possible! This means focusing on eating a variety of whole foods and addressing any issues you may have.
When you’re trying to conceive, eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods to make sure you’re covering all of your bases. Here are some examples of foods with specific benefits:
Eggs contain choline, an important pregnancy nutrient that women don’t get enough of.
Leafy green vegetables (such as romaine, spinach, kale, and watercress) contain folic acid, which is a key nutrient for a developing fetus during the early stages of pregnancy.
A lot of fetal development happens early in pregnancy, so it’s important to go into pregnancy well-nourished, rather than focusing on healthy eating once you’re already pregnant.
A balanced diet plays a major role in managing your health. It is suggested to include a variety of foods in your diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat foods, lean proteins, and lean dairy products. As a woman, you must ensure that your nutritional needs are met at all the different stages of life.