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Choose the right food

Choose the right food
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Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women's busy lives and help to reduce the risk of disease

A balanced diet is a cornerstone of health. Women also have special nutrient needs, and, during each stage of a woman's life, these needs change.

Iron-rich foods

Iron is one of the keys to good health and energy levels in women prior to menopause.

Foods that provide iron include red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and some fortified ready-to-eat cereals.

Plant-based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. So eat fortified cereal with strawberries on top, spinach salad with mandarin orange slices or add tomatoes to lentil soup.

Daily calcium and vitamin D requirements

For healthy bones and teeth, women need to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods every day. Calcium keeps bones strong and helps to reduce the risk for 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 plant-based milk alternatives, juices and cereals.

Adequate amounts of vitamin D also are important, and the need for both calcium and vitamin D increases as women get older.

Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, such as salmon, eggs and fortified foods and beverages, such as milk, plant-based milk alternatives, some yogurts and juices

Balancing calories with activity

Since women typically have less muscle, more body fat and are smaller than men, they need fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight and activity level.

Women who are more physically active may require more calories. Physical activity is an important part of a woman's health.

Regular activity helps with muscle strength, balance, flexibility and stress management.

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