Women’s Health and Nutrition

By Ritika Samaddar in Nutrition And Dietetics

Mar 20 , 2023 | 1 min read

As women, trying to balance the demands of family and work, most of us are prone to neglecting our own dietary needs. We are either too busy or used to putting the needs of the family before our own.

This women’s day, let’s focus on our health. What we eat has a huge impact on our health status. Even though our requirements in terms of total calories and quantity of food are less than men, requirements for certain vitamins and minerals are much higher in women.

As we experience hormonal changes at every phase of life, like menstruation, child-bearing, and menopause, means our need for some micronutrients is much higher. Let us talk about these nutrients:

  • Iron: Feeling lethargic, having no energy to work, or being exhausted by the end of the day could be because of iron deficiency. 50-60% of women are deficient in iron. The best sources of iron are meat (especially liver), poultry, and seafood.

    While leafy green vegetables, dals, nuts, raisins, figs, and beans are also good sources of iron—the iron from plant foods is different to the iron from animal sources and is not absorbed as well by the body. However, one can increase iron absorption by taking more citrus foods like lemons, oranges etc. It is necessary to reduce the intake of tea/ coffee as they inhibit the absorption of iron.

  • Calcium: If one feels their bones are getting weak, they should focus on calcium. Calcium deficiency can lead to mood problems like irritability, anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Intake of dairy products of at least 500ml per day is important. Other good sources include nuts like almonds, lentils, and vegetables like broccoli, kale, etc.

    The other two key nutrients for better calcium absorption are vitamin D and magnesium. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, dietary sources include egg yolk and fortified milk. Nuts and green leafy vegetables are the best sources of magnesium.

  • Gut health: Our gut is like a second brain; it influences mood and well-being. We have more than 1,000 types of bacteria living in our gut, helping to digest the food we eat and helping us stay healthy. It is important to eat probiotic-rich foods, like yoghurt or fermented foods & take prebiotics like whole grains and oats for good gut health. A happy belly means a happy life!