Nutrition needs of every women
A healthy diet is an important part of being a healthy and happy woman. It improves her productivity and helps her feel and look her best A look at the nutrition needs of every woman
Nutrition is the science of food that works in the body. A healthy diet gives you energy, supports your mood, maintains your weight, and keeps you looking your best. It can also be a huge support through the different stages in life. Healthy food can help reduce PMS, boost fertility, combat stress, make pregnancy and nursing easier, and ease symptoms of menopause.
Food plays a major role in growth and development. The main functions of food are energy giving, body building and protective functions. A well balanced diet gives all the nutrients for the various functions and it is essential throughout the day. Energy needs vary according to the activities. For example a moderate worker need more energy as compared to a sedentary worker since water-soluble vitamins like vitamin-c and b-complex vitamins lost through urine and sweat and need daily.
Our country is facing micronutrient deficiencies due to false dietary pattern .It is one of the major cause of infections or lack of immunity. A well balanced diet having the proper proportions of macro nutrients like carbohydrates ,protein and fat as well as micro nutrients like vitamins ,minerals ,water and fiber should be included accordingly.
The main nutrients that play key role in improving the health and immunity are:
1.Vitamin A: It is a powerful antioxidant especially carotenoids in orange yellow vegetables and fruits, lycopene that is present in tomatoes are found to prevent infections including cancer. Foods that contain vitamin A are green leafy veg, iver, cheese, milk, sweet potato, mango, papaya etc
2.Vitamin C : It is considered as anti-infective vitamin, which is also an antioxidant,that helps to prevent infections and reduces stress. Main sources are citrus fruits, green mango, leafy vegetables, sprouts, Amla etc
3. Vitamin B: Vitamin B like Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid is essential for WBC formation and multiplication. Sources are leafy vegetables, baker's east, liver, beans, peas, fruits and other vegetables.
Vitamin-B6 helps in regulating mood, appetite and sleep
Vitamin-B12 fights fatigue and improves alertness.
Folate prevents brain and spinal defects in the early stage of pregnancy and lower the risk of cancer.
Vitamin D3: It prevents ageing, strengthens bones by the absorption of calcium, protects against auto immune disease and cancer. A recent study carried out in Kochi suggests that 80-90 per cent women have Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin E: It is also a powerful antioxidant which is also called sex vitamin, as it is essential for child bearing and it can also protect the body from cancer and Alzheimer’s. This vitamin helps to prevent muscle cramps. The main sources are wheat germ, molasses, whole grain, nuts and vegetable oils.
Iron: It is very essential for growth and immunity and in India 50 per cent of pregnant women and 70 per cent of children under 5 are suffering from iron deficiency anaemia. The deficiency may paralise the immunity and it affects the overall performance. Sources include liver, meat, mussels, green leafy vegetables and dry fruits.
Zinc : It helps to prevent cold and protect primary barriers from infections and also essential for various functions including brain development. Sources are fishes, shell fish, poultry and whole grain
Essential fatty acids: Fatty acids like omega 3, omega 6 are also essential ,which is present in fishes like sardines, flax seed and other vegetable oils.
Elements like chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium are also helpful.
So plan a proper balanced diet according to your health status which provides the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) that includes whole grains, legumes, fruits , vegetables especially green and yellow coloured, milk and milk products (low fat), lean meat, fish etc. Vegetarians must include enough milk, pulses and sprouts daily in order to get adequate protein.
Our traditional meals with curd or butter milk is ideal as it is a pro-biotic which helps to prevent diseases, improve the skin texture, prevent ageing and stomach related problems.
Each and everyone is different and their nutrient needs are also varied. Consult a nutritionist for a tailor-made diet which includes all the food items according to your preference, low cost and easy cooking recipes. Whatever your age, committing to a healthy diet will help you look and feel your best so that you stay on top of your commitments and enjoy life.
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