A balanced diet is a cornerstone of health for Women. Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help to prevent disease. Eating right as follows:
- At least three servings of whole grains such as whole-grain bread, rice, roti, paratha etc can be taken.
- Three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products including milk, buttermilk, yogurt or cheese, ragi, soya, almond milk etc
- Five servings of protein such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans or peas and nuts.
- Three cups of fruits — fresh without added sugar.
- Three cups of colorful vegetables — fresh without added salt / cooked.
Iron is one of the keys to good health and energy levels in women. Iron-rich food sources include red meat, chicken, fish, kale, spinach, green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils and fortified breads and cereals. Plant-based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. So the wise choice is to add tomatoes to lentil soup or add a pinch of lemon juice in your salads and cooking.
When women reach childbearing age, they need to eat good amount of folic acid to decrease risk of birth defects. The requirement is at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Diet which contains folic acids such as Citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans and peas naturally contain folate. There are many folic acid fortified foods such as cereals, rice and breads can be used.
For healthy bones and teeth, women need to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods every day. Calcium keeps bones strong and prevents osteoporosis, a bone disease in which the bones become weak and break easily. Some calcium-rich foods include low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, sardines, tofu (if made with calcium sulfate) and calcium-fortified foods including juices and cereals.
To keep weight in check at any age, women should avoid a lot of excess calories from added sugars, fat and alcohol. Limit regular soft drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, baked goods and fried foods. Opt for low-fat dairy and meat products instead of their full-fat counterparts. Eat fewer foods that are high in saturated fat — the kind found in fatty meats, sausages, cheese and full-fat dairy products, baked goods and pizza.
Since women typically have less muscle, more fat and are smaller than men, you need fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight and activity level. Moderately active women need 1,800 calories a day.
Exercise is an important part of a woman’s health. Regular daily activity helps with weight control, muscle strength and stress management.