Good nutrition and regular exercise are needed at every stage in a woman’s life. A balanced diet is the best way women can get all the nutrients they need. Certain vitamins and minerals are more important to women’s health than others because our nutritional requirements of women are very different to men. A woman’s needs are a bit different because of the different things our body goes through throughout our life.
Women are at high risk of having anemia, that’s because they lose iron during our periods; they need more of this mineral than men do. Women need Iron right from menstruation to menopause, and even three times more during pregnancy.
Iron is just one of the crucial nutrients we need to stay in shape. Here are other nutrients that are important for women at different stages of their lives.
Let’s first look at the general nutrients women need
Women need calcium more than men to build strong bones. The reason women need calcium more than men is because women are more prone to osteoporosis or thinning of the bones than men. Osteoporosis is particularly common in post-menopausal women. This means that it is especially important for women’s bones to be in good condition and for calcium balance to be favorable well before the menopause. If women build strong bones in their youth, they reduce the risk of osteoporosis as they get older.
2. Folic Acid
Folic acid is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before she is pregnant, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain and spine.
Magnesium helps the body deal with stress, generate enough energy and build healthy bones. Studies show that low intakes of magnesium may be linked to pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis (these2 affects mostly women), and migraines.
4. Omega-3 fats
This can help ease menstrual pain, alleviates rheumatoid arthritis (which affects more women than men), protects the bones against osteoporosis, it may reduce cancer risk, and also it puts you in a happy mood.
Iron is essential for the manufacture of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs around the body. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in women. Women need to make up for the amount of iron they lose in their menstrual period.
Now let’s look at these nutrients based on the different stages in a woman’s life
Teen girls need a diet that’s abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean sources of protein. But there are two nutrients that are particularly important
Iron becomes really important when a girl begins to menstruate and she needs at least 10mg of iron a day. A lot of girls become iron deficient and that’s because of the low intake of iron. During menstruation, the body looses iron.
Calcium is important at this stage because the bones start to absorb calcium during puberty. Calcium should also be paired with vitamin D as it helps the bones absorb calcium.
2. During childbearing years
- Folate (Folic Acid) and Vitamin B12
A folate is a form of vitamin B , and its needed for the healthy development of a baby. Women should store up folic acid in their body before pregnancy and during pregnancy, as it helps prevent major birth defects.
This is crucial for the baby’s growth. Experts recommend 88 grammes a day for pregnant women while breastfeeding women should aim for 100 grammes.
This nutrient is important for the mother and baby’s blood cells. It can also keep you from feeling tired all the time.
- Omega-3 fats
This nutrient plays many roles in the body, including building healthy brain and nerve cells.
- Calcium and Vitamin D
These helps build strong bones and teeth for yourself and the baby.
3. Menopause and Beyond
At this point, you are no longer growing and activity level typically slows as well.
- Calcium and Vitamin D
The strong skeleton you built earlier in life starts to pay off at this point. You can also slow down the bone loss process by taking enough calcium and vitamin D.
- Vitamin B12
As women age the body’s ability to absorb vitamin also declines. Older women need a diet abundant in Protein and foods fortified with Vitamin B12.
- Vitamin B6
This vitamin helps you stay sharp as you get older.
The body needs more fluids as women age. This is because the kidneys become less efficient at removing toxins.
This lowers the risk of all sorts of heart conditions including high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It also helps your colon to work well