Women guide to optimal health
Women today have realised the importance of self-care and indulge in various activities to keep themselves fit and active to ensure optimal health. While this is one way to take care of the body, it is also necessary that we eat the right kind of food and maintain a balanced and nutritious diet
A balanced diet is the cornerstone of women health. As women, we have to multitask; whether we are working at home, from home or in an office, many a times we tend to ignore our health in the process.
However, women today have realised the importance of self-care and indulge in various activities to keep themselves fit and active to ensure optimal health. While this is one way to take care of the body, it is also necessary that we eat the right kind of food and maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
Science as well as research claims that nutrient-dense foods not only make you feel great, but may even reduce your risk of certain chronic health conditions while providing multiple health benefits.
To maintain good health, it is recommended that we incorporate ingredients called "Superfoods" which confer good health. Superfoods are considered a nutrient powerhouse that provide large quantities of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins for small amounts consumed– they are foods that have bioactive compounds which confer immense health benefits.
Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil (VCNO)
Many studies have shown a positive association between virgin coconut oil consumption and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Regular consumption of virgin coconut oil can reduce food cravings, boost energy levels, and help trim abdominal fat. It benefits breast-feeding mothers as the MCTs found in the oil are similar to the fats found in breast milk and have a similar nutraceutical effect. It is recommended to include two spoons of virgin coconut oil in the diet every day to maintain a healthy and holistic lifestyle.
Calcium for strong bones
Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth, keeping them resilient as we age. Calcium deficiency can lead to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, sleep disorders and depression. Hence it is important to get enough calcium in the diet in combination with magnesium and vitamin D to support optimal bone health. Calcium-rich foods such as skimmed/toned milk, curd and paneer, cheese, fish, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, finger millet, amaranth must be included in the diet.
Iron rich foods
Iron is key to good health and energy levels in women especially prior to the menopause phase. Due to the blood loss in women every month, women require more than twice the amount of iron than men do. Include iron-rich sources like pearl millet, finger millet, kidney beans, soybean, turnip greens, and green leafy vegetables. Squeeze lime on food to enhance iron absorption.
The importance of folate or Vitamin B9 in women
Vitamin B9 also known as folic acid is another nutrient many women don't get enough of in their diets. Folate lowers the risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancer. It is also an essential nutrient for women of child-bearing age to reduce the chance of neurological birth defects. Amaranth/rajgira, mint, spinach, Bengal gram, black gram, green gram, red gram, gingelly seeds, soya bean are good sources of folate.
Balancing the diet with physical activities
Physical activity is an important part of women's health, regular activity of the body helps build muscle strength, balance and flexibility, also helping in stress management. One must also remember that what might work best for one woman may not always be the best choice for the other.
(Sheryl Salis (RD, CDE, CPT, CISSN, ND, MDHA) Dietician, Certified Diabetes Educator and Founder of Nurture Health Solutions)