A healthy diet for women should regularly include a variety of foods. Focus on getting 3oz of whole grains, 3 servings of dairy or calcium-fortified foods, 5oz of lean protein, 2 cups of fruits, and 2 cups of vegetables every day. If meeting all these food groups every day is challenging, women may consider taking a few essential supplements.
Maintaining strong bones
Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, underscoring the need for plenty of calcium-rich foods and vitamin D. Dairy products are often an essential source of calcium, so vegan women, in particular, may need a calcium supplement. Many Americans are also low in vitamin D, which is crucial for calcium absorption, immune system function, and even boosting mood.
Changing needs during pregnancy
When women are in childbearing years and thinking about starting a family, folic acid becomes crucial. This nutrient is vital in preventing birth defects, so most women looking to become pregnant need to start taking a prenatal supplement with folic acid. Folate is also found in leafy greens, oranges, peas, and some fortified breakfast cereals.
The amount of iron a woman needs changes throughout different phases of life. For example, women need more iron during pregnancy and less iron after menopause. Some iron-rich foods include red meat, poultry, kale, spinach, beans, and lentils. Many women are low in this nutrient, so a doctor may recommend taking an iron supplement if iron levels are deficient.
Supplements for seniors
As people get older, the body doesn’t absorb vitamin B12 as efficiently. B12 is essential for the nervous system and brain function. Sometimes, healthy diet choices can be enough. However, many older women experience B12 efficiency and may need to speak with a doctor about supplementation.
Your healthiest you
Regular exercise is another crucial step in staying healthy. Women who are more physically active will require more calories, so adjust the diet accordingly. Besides consuming nutritious foods, women should limit their intake of processed sugars, saturated fats, and alcohol. For more information about optimizing health through diet and nutrition, speak with a healthcare provider.