Nutrition for Women at Every Age
At every stage of women’s lives, well-balanced nutrition and regular exercise are the cornerstones of good health and optimal energy. But certain vitamins and minerals become especially important at particular times of life. From youth to the childbearing years and into senior years, each life stage may require different nutrients to help women’s body get what it needs for optimal wellness.
1. Nutrition for Girls in Childhood and Early Teens –
Growing girls should eat more natural foods rich in various nutrients, including a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein, in order to lay a solid foundation for their health in the future. In addition, girls should keep being active, while reducing the intake of high-calorie foods. Establishing good eating habits from the early stages of life would be beneficial for a lifetime. Two nutrients are particularly important for this stage:
Calcium : Getting enough calcium is important for all ages, but it is especially important during adolescence and early adulthood, when bones are absorbing calcium. The more calcium you get, the stronger your bones will be. Calcium helps maintain the healthy development of bones and teeth, and also helps the blood maintain normal clotting. In particular, pairing with vitamin D3 could enhance calcium absorption. Natural sources of calcium, such as low-fat dairy products, are the smartest choice for calcium supplementation because they also contain vitamin D and protein, both of which are required for calcium absorption.
Iron : Iron is important for young women, as menstruation is one of the ways this mineral is depleted from the body. Symptoms of low iron include fatigue, and poor performance at school or work. Red meat without fat provides animal iron that is easily absorbed by the body. Proper iron supplementation helps the formation of normal red blood cells. Iron is also an important component of heme and myoglobin and contributes to the delivery and utilization of oxygen.
2. Nutrition for Women During Childbearing Years –
Adult women often juggle between multiple roles, and are often overwhelmed between job and parenthood. On one hand, women at this age use up a lot of energy and strength; on the other hand, they often have no time to eat well-balanced. Over years, many women suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Several nutrients are particularly important for women during adulthood, especially for pregnant women:
Folic Acid : If you want to get pregnant, it is wise to increase folic acid intake before pregnancy. There is evidence that taking folic acid before pregnancy and the first trimester into pregnancy is beneficial to the healthy development of the brain of the fetus. Some doctors recommended that women take folic acid supplements during pregnancy to ensure they reach the recommended 400 to 800 micrograms.
Vitamin B12 : Lacking of vitamin B12 may cause anemia and fatigue. B12 is essential for healthy nervous system development and function. Pregnant women who are vegans or vegetarians may be deficient in B12, since it is present in animal protein and to a lesser extent in dairy. B12 supplementation is usually recommended during pregnancy because during pregnancy, the body’s demand is gradually increasing.
Choline : Choline is an important nutrient for women’s health in their lifetime, especially during pregnancy. Choline is also beneficial for early fetal development.
Omega-3s : EPA and DHA play many roles in the body. Even women who don’t plan to have children should be sure to get plenty of amount of Omega-3s.
Vitamin D : Vitamin D promotes the release of bone calcium to maintain blood calcium balance. It also helps to maintain the normal physiology of nerves and muscles.
Calcium : Getting enough calcium in adulthood is still important for women. To protect bone calcium, we must pay careful attention to “calcium supplementation”, “sun exposure” and “sports”. Adult women in their childbearing years should aim for between 1,000 mg and 1,300 mg of calcium a day. Calcium is also important for fetal development.
Iron : The volume of blood almost doubles when women are pregnant, which dramatically increases the demand for iron. After giving birth, the baby can absorb the rich iron from the breastmilk, so the iron supplement during breastfeeding time is also very important.
3. Nutrition for Women During the Senior Years –
As menopause nears, women’s body change again. The estrogen levels decline. Under the premise of a balanced diet, it is recommended to moderately supplement the following nutrients, along with regular exercise to relieve stress and taking Calcium supplement, and also reduce menopause discomfort:
Calcium and Vitamin D : Although calcium loss is inevitable with aging, women can slow down the process by taking in enough calcium and vitamin D. In addition, as the age is increasing, the skin is also less efficient in converting sunlight into vitamin D. Thus, senior women need to supplement more vitamin D to help maintain the normal physiology of nerves and muscles.
Vitamin B Complex : Vitamin B Group keep normal energy metabolism and help maintain the normal function of skin, heart and nervous system. It also contributes to body fat, cholesterol synthesis and metabolism of amino acids.
Vitamin C, E : It’s more important for women at menopauseto eat balance diet and taking enough supplement. Vitamins C and E both have antioxidant effects, which not only promote the formation of collagen, but also improve the health of the skin and blood cells, and make the skin healthier.