The nutritional requirements of women differ from the nutritional needs of men. Moreover, these requirements change depending on what stage the body is in, like during pregnancy, if a woman is breastfeeding, menstruation, and menopause. The second the female body undergoes puberty, the essential nutritional needs change at this time. It is important for women to take special care of their bodies and include a wide variety of foods to get adequate nutrients. Dieting may deprive the body of the nutrients it needs, as many nutrients may be missing in any specific diet.
Essential Nutrients for Women
Here are some key nutrients the female body needs:
These nutrients are particularly important during the child bearing years for women. Iron is stored in the body, and tends to deplete when a woman has her period. If iron levels are not properly catered to, it can lead to anemia. This is particularly important focus on during pregnancy, as this nutrient is important for the growth of the fetus. The need for iron increases with pregnancy. Women between the ages of 9-years-old and 50-years-old require approximately 18 milligrams of iron daily. Meat, lima beans, spinach, and broccoli are rich sources of iron.
Folic acid –
Folic acid, or folate, is another important nutrient required during childbearing years. Depravity of folate in pregnant women leads to neural tube defects in the child. Women who are trying to get pregnant should make sure to incorporate folic acid in their diets. Women who are in their child bearing years need approximately 400 micrograms of folate per day. Some sources of folate are found in beans, fruits, vegetables, peas, and lentils.
Calcium is vital for young girls. In their teenage years, girls require about 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day. However, with their interest in diets, fast food, and snacks, many of them do not consume enough of this nutrient at that age. Having non-fat milk, yogurt, and fortified soy milk are good choices to get the necessary amounts.
A diet needs to be modified to include more food that contains vitamin D when women reach menopause. The calcium requirement for women is quite high during this time. Women at this age require low-fat diets, high in fiber with large amounts of calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients are required for retaining bone mass, and can help in prevent osteoporosis. Women at this age need 400 milligrams and for those above 70-years-old need about 600 milligrams. Milk, fortified cereals and fish are good sources of vitamin D.
- Women need to monitor consumption of different nutrients during different stages of their lives.
- It is important to consume a lot of iron during puberty and on, as menstruation can deprive the female body of iron.
- It is important for women to consume vitamin D during menopause.