Women usually have a low-calorie requirement than men but requirements for certain minerals and vitamins are much higher. The nutritional imbalances multiply more as women tend to miss meals or adopt the unhealthy lifestyle, which leaves her short on vital nutrients and feeling cranky, hungry and low on energy.
The hormonal changes associated with menstruation, childbearing and menopause can lead to a higher risk of having anaemia, weakened bones, therefore you need to increase your intake of iron, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B9.
Calcium: For 19-50 age group, recommended dietary allowance (RDA) by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is 600 mg/day. You should include milk, ragi, leafy green vegetables, certain fish, khaskhas (poppy seeds), and sesame seeds in your diet.
Vitamin D: Recommended Vitamin D allowance is 400IU (international units). Sources include half an hour of direct sunlight, foods such as salmon, shrimp, and vitamin-D fortified foods.
Iron: Helps to create haemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood and maintains healthy skin, hair, and nails. It is the most common deficiency found in women. Do not have tea immediately after meals as it hinders iron absorption.
Vitamin B9: Folate or vitamin B9 can lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. You should consume leafy green vegetables, fruit and fruit juice, nuts, beans and peas.
Eating tips to ease the symptoms of menopause
- Boost calcium intake (along with vitamin D) to support bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
- Limit wine, sugar, white flour products, and coffee.
- Eat more good fats. Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids can help in glowing skin.
- Try flaxseed for hot flashes. Flaxseed is rich in lignans, which stabilises hormone levels and manage hot flashes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed in the daily diet. Include in soups, salads, main dishes or use as a mouth freshener.
- Eat more soy. Soy products are high in phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that are similar to estrogen produced by the body. Some studies suggest that soy may help manage menopausal symptoms. Try natural soy sources such as soy milk, tofu and soy nuts.
- Eat 5 – 6 Small frequent meals
- Snack Smart (Handful nuts, fruits, Roasted Grams, soups, dhokla, khandvi, idli , boiled egg, Fruit, sprouts,etc.)
- Never skip meals especially Breakfast
- Funda of 5 (Daily 5 fruits and vegetables)
- Pack homemade food, avoid junk, high calorie etc.
- Moderation in sugar (2tsp / Day) and oil (3tsp/day) consumption
- Use tonned or doubletonned milk and products
- Dinner should be light and eaten by 8:00 - 8:30 pm