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Iron to Calcium: 5 essential nutrients every woman needs for optimal health

Discover the five crucial nutrients that women need for optimal health and vitality. Learn how to incorporate these essential elements into your diet for a balanced and nourished lifestyle.

Muskan Gupta Written By: Muskan Gupta New Delhi Published on: February 22, 2024 10:25 IST
essential nutrients
Image Source : GOOGLE 5 essential nutrients every healthy woman needs

Proper nutrition is vital for everyone, but women have unique nutritional needs due to factors such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Ensuring an adequate intake of essential nutrients is crucial for maintaining overall health and preventing various health issues. By incorporating these five essential nutrients into their diets, women can support their bodies' functions, reduce the risk of certain health conditions, and promote long-term vitality. Iron to calcium, here are five essential nutrients that every woman should include in her diet for optimal well-being.

Iron

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen throughout the body. Women, especially those of childbearing age, have higher iron requirements due to blood loss during menstruation. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, weakness, and anemia. Good dietary sources of iron include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, and fortified cereals. Pairing iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C can enhance iron absorption.

Folate (Folic Acid)

Folate, or folic acid in its synthetic form, is a B-vitamin that is crucial for cell division and the production of DNA. Adequate folate intake is especially important for women of childbearing age, as it can help prevent neural tube defects in newborns during pregnancy. Good sources of folate include leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, lentils, fortified grains, and supplements recommended by healthcare providers for pregnant women or those planning to conceive.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that play a critical role in heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation. Research suggests that omega-3s may also help alleviate menstrual pain and support mood regulation, making them particularly beneficial for women. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich sources of omega-3s, as are flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds.

Calcium

Calcium is vital for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as for muscle function and nerve transmission. Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis later in life, making calcium intake particularly important. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are excellent sources of calcium, but non-dairy options such as fortified plant-based milk, tofu, almonds, and leafy green vegetables like kale and broccoli are also good choices.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, bone health, and immune function. Many women have inadequate vitamin D levels, especially those who live in regions with limited sunlight or spend most of their time indoors. While the body can produce vitamin D through sun exposure, dietary sources include fatty fish, fortified dairy products, eggs, and mushrooms. Women may also consider taking vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter months or if advised by a healthcare provider.

However, it's essential to remember that individual nutrient requirements may vary based on factors such as age, activity level, and health status, so consulting with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian is recommended to ensure personalised nutrition recommendations.

ALSO READ: Plant-based diet can prevent Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Study

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