A balanced eating pattern is the cornerstone of health. Like men, women should possess a quality of healthy foods from all food groups, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and lean protein. But women also have unique nutrient requirements, and through every step of a woman’s life, these requirements change. Trying to balance the demands of family and work to care for and eat in a certain way can make it difficult for any woman to maintain a healthy diet. But the right food can not only support your mood, boost your energy, and help you maintain a healthy weight, it can also be a great support at different stages of a woman’s life.
As children, the dietary needs of boys and girls are very similar. But when puberty begins, women begin to develop unique nutritional requirements. And as we age, our bodies endure more natural and hormonal fluctuations, our nutritional requirements remain to grow, so our diets must grow to meet these dynamic needs.
While women tend to need fewer calories than men, our requirements for specific vitamins and minerals are much higher. The hormonal changes associated with menstruation, childbirth, and menopause mean that women are at increased risk of anemia, weakened bones, and osteoporosis, requiring a higher intake of iron and calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B9 ( folate).
The Best Food a Woman Should Include In the Daily Diet
Protecting your most vital organ is as simple as adding a few nuts to your diet. This heart-shaped walnut is packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that can help you stay safe. A recent study found that eating two ounces a day could significantly improve blood flow to and from the heart in just eight weeks.
Shrimp is the most potent source of an essential and difficult-to-obtain nutrient called choline. This fundamental component of the neurotransmitter is necessary for the structure and function of all cells. A deficiency in this compound has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function. Not only does it act as food for the brain, but it can also help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Mushrooms are very low in calories, and they are a good source of potassium, a nutrient that can help lower blood pressure and offset the adverse effects of excess sodium. Another reason to add the vegetable to your shopping list: University of Florida researchers showed increased immunity in people who ate 4 ounces of cooked mushrooms every day for four weeks. Experts attribute the increase to the mushrooms’ high vitamin D levels, and Portobello mushrooms have the highest concentration.
Green tea is packed with polyphenols, an antioxidant with tremendous health benefits, including breast cancer-fighting properties. In a study of healthy Japanese American women at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, researchers found that those who drank at least one cup of green tea a day had less urinary estrogen, a known breast carcinogen, than those who did not. They drink tea.
Oranges get a lot of credit for vitamin C, but bell peppers are the best source. Vitamin C is known for its benefits for the skin and immunity. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate the most had fewer wrinkles and dryness. As a bonus, while getting enough vitamin C won’t keep you from catching a cold (you can blame your kids for that), studies show it may help you recover faster.
Tips for Daily Diet Plan
Nutrient-dense foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help reduce the risk of disease. A healthy eating plan regularly includes:
- At least three equivalent ounces of whole grains, whole wheat bread, whole-grain cereal flakes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or oatmeal.
- Three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products, including milk, yogurt, or cheese, or calcium-fortified soy milk. (Non-dairy sources of calcium for people who do not consume dairy products include calcium-fortified foods and beverages, canned fish, and some leafy green vegetables).
- Five to five and a half ounces of protein foods such as lean meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and seeds.
- One and a half to two cups of fruit, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried with no added sugar.
- Two to two and a half cups of colorful, fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables with no added salt.