Women’s dietary requirements

Women and men do not have identical dietary requirements, and in order to achieve great health it is important that women are aware of the nutrients they need to include in their daily eating.

A big problem – particularly amongst younger women – is ‘crash dieting’, which often sees women missing out on critical nutrients because of a fad diet.

One of the more common health problems women can encounter is anaemia. This is a problem that arises from iron deficiency, and can have further health ramifications. Iron is needed to create haemoglobin, which is the compound responsible for carrying oxygen in the bloodstream. Men only need 8mg of iron per day, but women need 18mg (and 27mg when pregnant).

Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, chicken, egg yolks, nuts, leafy green vegetables and legumes.

Folate is another nutrient that can sometimes be missing from a woman’s diet. It is needed for the growth and development of new cells. The way to make sure you get enough folate is by consuming nuts, leafy green vegetables and yeast extracts such as Vegemite.

Finally, remember the importance of calcium for maintaining healthy teeth and bones and staving off osteoporosis. Some good sources of calcium include dairy products (milk, cheese and yoghurt) and fish with edible bones (salmon and sardines).

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