PIONEER HEALTH speaks with dieticians on how women can keep themselves healthy
A healthy family starts with the women of the house is healthy. Trying to balance the demands of family and work or school and coping with all the pressure it is difficult to copy up with the nutritional requirements. The right food will not only help to boost the energy levels, mood and also it will maintain a healthy weight of women. A healthy lifestyle is very important for a women as there are a lot of physical changes that happens in the life of a women, it starts from her menstrual cycle at the age of ten to 15 years, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and then pregnancy and then menopause, at every stage a women’s body needs required amount of nutrients.
Having the required amount of nutrients will help women to maintain a healthy and balanced life. While women needs more calories than men, the requirements of some vitamins and minerals in a females body is much higher. Stages like hormonal changes, menopause, anemia, osteoporosis and weakness while PMS, the nutrient requirements increases. Some important nutrients that a woman requires are calcium, iron, iodine, protein, good fat, Vitamin-D, folic acid, Vitamin-C, omega-3, fibre, Vitamin B12, potassium, antioxidant, Vitamin-B6, water, magnesium, zinc, carbohydrates, vitamin-K, and Vitamin-E. In daily life we neglect the daily dietary requirements.
- Calcium: It is important in women’s diet as they are more prone to osteoporosis and to keep one’s heart healthy calcium is important. As calcium helps to regulate hearts rhythm, and ensure our nervous system functions properly. Calcium deficiency leads to mood problems, anxiety, depression, sleep disorder. Food rich in calcium are yogurt, almonds, beans, whey protein, chia seeds, cheese, spinach, kale, barley, tofu, figs and milk.
- Iron: The deficiency of iron can cause anemia and can lead to fatigue. Iron is important to be taken as it is required in menstrual cycle and for healthy heart. Some iron rich food spinach, chickpeas, peas, soyabean, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, broccoli and dark chocolate.
- Iodine: Iodine rich food like apple, eggs, berries like cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, banana, tofu, prunes, almond and walnuts. All these are rich in iodine helps to keep a healthy heart.
- Protein: It is very important in one’s diet as it helps to boost metabolism and does repair and muscle building. For a healthy heart it is important to do intake of protein in a proper amount. Having more of red-meat can lead to heart problems and problems like cholesterol. Some protein rich foods are fish, nuts, low fat yogurt and milk.
- Good fat: Good fat foods like avocados, dark chocolate, fish, nuts, olive oil, whole eggs, chia seeds, coconut oil and low fat yogurt.
- Vitamin-D: It is very important f or the absorption of calcium in our body. For a healthy heart
- Folic acid: The daily dose of folic acid can reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. Some of the food rich in folic acid are beans, leafy green vegetables — spinach, orange juice, bread and rice.
- Vitamin-C: It helps to lower the blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and builds up the immune system. Some vitamin C rich food are grapefruit, broccoli, bell peppers, tomato and sweet potato.
- Omega-3: It can decrease triglycerides and lowers blood pressure and decreases strokes and irregular heart beat. Some omega 3 rich foods are fish, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Fibre: Oats, beans and flaxseeds provides fibre and helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and lowering bad cholesterol levels.
- Vitamin-B12: It helps to improve heart help by decreasing homocysteine, which reduces the risk of heart diseases. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products like fish, egg, milk and milk products.
- Antioxidant: It helps to reduce the risk of (CHD) coronary heart diseases. Antioxidants rich foods are green tea, onion, garlic, berries and spinach.
- Vitamin B6: It helps to reduce heart strokes and it may reduce the risk of heart failure. Some vitamin B6 rich food is chicken, egg and brown rice.
- Water: Hydrated heart is able to pump blood easily. Having three litres of water in a day is essential.
- Magnesium: It is important for heart as it helps to keep nerves working properly.
- Zinc: The antioxidant property in zinc keeps the heart healthy, shell fish, nuts and eggs are some foods that are rich in zinc.
- Carbohydrates: It is important for the body to work properly. Some rich carbohydrates are bread, wheat flour and rice.
- Vitamin K: It helps to keep calcium out of the arteries, some of the vitamin K rich food are fish, eggs, sprouts and broccoli.
- Vitamin E: Vegetable oils and nuts are rich in Vitamin E which helps to maintain a healthy heart.
- Potassium: Helps to ease tension in our blood vessel walls. Banana, orange, cucumber, raisins and broccoli are rich sources.
Watch what you eat
Lot of times diets plans are helpful for shedding few kg in the beginning but then there comes a time when people shed no more. It is then when most people give up and feel disappointed. But its important to understand the reason of plateau and little things which can be corrected.
Make a food diary, it will help giving detailed idea of our eating patterns, cheatings done, meal skipped, over indulgence and most important real picture of our water intake. Most common mistake done during the weight loss exercise is, not hydrating the body properly.
Water is not only consumed as its liquid form but also the food we eat has been water content which releases in our body. Our body is more than 70 per cent water, so hydration becomes second important factor.
“Sometimes weight loss on scale isn’t there but visible inch loss is there, that is because when we burn fat get gain muscles, one see visible inch loss or BCA (Body Composition Analysis) test can give the real picture of fat range drop off. So, there nothing to worry if visible inch loss is there. Check your daily food menu, if it does not include seasonal vegetables, adequate amount of protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, legumes, nuts, milk and its products like yogurt, cheese) and salad, this could be the reason of weight loss plateau,” Shweta Diwan from Slimage Diet Clinic, explains and tells you that one must eat dark green leafy vegetables, salads, sprouts.
“No one diet works for all and so is the reason for plateau for every individual. It is always suggested to take professional help and build your relationship with food for a long term benefit and constant weight loss rather than going on a crash diet. If we start eating mindfully there is no reason that our weight shall be stuck. “We should strive towards a lifestyle modification and not diet for a limited period for a long term holistic wellness,” Diwan says.
The writer is Jasleen Kaur, Dietician with Just Diet