A woman is said to have ten hands to do the multitasking. When a woman becomes a mother specially, she turns the selfless care taker of her husband, children and the house. She forgets about her needs and health. From morning to night, she is after her children. The mothers need more nutrition to get back to normal state after the delivery.
Before the birth of the child, it gets all nutrition from its mother’s body. So, it is very clear that nutrition of a mother means not only for her own but also for her upcoming child along with her family.
At every stage of women’s lives, nutrition and regular exercise are the cornerstones of good health and optimal energy. But certain vitamins and minerals become especially important at particular times of life.
The important thing is to build your dietary choices around your vital nutritional needs. Whether you’re looking to improve your energy and mood, combat stress or PMS, boost fertility, enjoy a healthy pregnancy, or ease the symptoms of menopause. Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help prevent disease.
Iron is one of the keys to good health and energy levels in women. Iron-rich food sources include red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and fortified breads and cereals. Plant-based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. So, eat fortified cereal with strawberries on top, spinach salad with mandarin orange slices or add tomatoes to lentil soup.
Folic acid during the reproductive years:
When women reach childbearing age, they need to eat enough folic acid to decrease risk of birth defects. The requirement is at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Be sure to consume adequate amounts of folic acid daily from fortified foods or supplements, in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet. Citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans and peas naturally contain folate. There are many folic acid fortified foods such as cereals, rice and breads.
Samia Tasnim Nutritionist, Labaid Hospital
Samia Tasnim Nutritionist, Labaid Hospital
Daily calcium and vitamin D requirements:
Vitamin D often is considered a superstar nutrient that benefits your brain, also your bones, heart, immune function and more. Your body needs sun exposure every day to intake vitamin D. You can also get some vitamin D from foods like egg yolks, sardines, beef liver and shitake mushrooms.
For healthy bones and teeth, women need to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods every day. Calcium keeps bones strong and prevents osteoporosis, a bone disease in which the bones become weak and break easily. Some calcium-rich foods include low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, sardines, tofu (if made with calcium sulfate) and calcium-fortified foods including juices and cereals.
Foods to limit:
To keep weight in check at any age, women should avoid a lot of excess calories from added sugars, fat and alcohol.
Limit regular soft drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, baked goods and fried foods.
Opt for low-fat dairy and meat products instead of their full-fat counterparts.
Eat fewer foods that are high in saturated fat – the kind found in fatty meats, sausages, cheese and full-fat dairy products, baked goods and pizza.
Sleep affects our physical and mental health tremendously, and many of us do not get enough sleep. Lack of sleep adversely affects metabolism, mood, concentration, memory, motor skills, stress hormones and even the immune system and cardiovascular health. Sleep allows the body to heal, repair and rejuvenate itself in a way it simply cannot when a person is awake.
Even if you just get out for a walk a few times a week, exercise is important for being fit and healthy. Cardiovascular exercise helps to strengthen the heart and lungs; strength training helps to strengthen the muscles and stretching helps to reduce the risk of injury by increasing flexibility. Exercise also improves circulation and body awareness, and regular exercise can help combat depression.
Stress can cause a myriad of problems, from heart trouble to digestive problems. This should not come as a surprise. What many people do not know is what to do about it, how to manage their stress. Exercise, meditation, doing what you love, appropriate boundaries, spirituality, being in nature, and enjoyable hobbies all help alleviate the harmful effects of stress on the body. Don’t overwork. Take breaks (vacations, mini-vacations, days off) and surround yourself with people who support you.
Overall guidelines for all women:
Some guidelines for eating that keep your body and hormones balanced without depriving you of delicious, nourishing food. The basics include:
v Eat 3 meals per day and 2 snacks. (Snacks are particularly important, if you are under stress. Include some form of protein in every meal (fish, meat, eggs, nuts, nut butters, legumes, etc. Add vegetables to every meal, especially organic greens and non-starchy vegetables. Include healthy fats in your meals, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, wild Pacific salmon, eggs, flax, etc.).
v Strive for no more than 62 grams of carbohydrates a day (16 per meal and 7 per snack).
v Limit dairy products (0-2 servings per day) and if you do choose to eat diary, make it organic when possible.
v Avoid soft drinks (diet and regular), fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners.
v Remove “junk food” from your diet and save sugary treats for special occasions.
v Eliminate white breads, pastas, flour and cereal.
v Add a high-quality multivitamin and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to your daily routine.
v A healthy body and ideal weight depend on much more than simply the food you put in your mouth. Your health is also supported by how you live. If you don’t exercise, start. I recommend beginning with a 30 minute walk 3-5 times per week.