There are many stages in the lives of females, and with each one, comes potential health concerns. A balanced and healthy approach to diet and lifestyle is the first step in maintaining good health. A few tips are:
- Increase the intake of iron rich foods. Low iron levels are very common in women and it can lead to anemia causing tiredness and breathlessness. Good sources of iron include meat, chicken, fish, egg yolks, legumes, green leafy vegetables and nuts.
- Eat calcium rich foods. Low calcium intake during the growing years can affect bone density later in life. Also, reduce the intake of salt, caffeine and alcohol as these affect calcium absorption. Calcium rich foods include dairy, tofu and fish with bones such as salmon and sardines.
- Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption, and therefore bone health. Fifteen minutes of sun exposure every day provides sufficient vitamin D. Foods such as fortified milk, liver, and tuna also contain vitamin D.
- Include omega‐3 fatty acids in your diet. They are beneficial to help reduce inflammation and maintain heart health. In addition omega‐3 may help to reduce menstrual pain. Good sources include cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna. It is also found in vegetable sources like flaxseed, canola oils and walnuts.
- Daily exercise is important throughout our lives for physical fitness. For women specifically, it may help to reduce symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome such as moodiness, tiredness, fluid retention, constipation and pain.
- Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) have been linked to a range of health benefits, especially for women including heart and bone health. Consume plenty of plant foods that contain phytoestrogens such as linseed, sesame seeds, almonds, soy and chickpeas.
- Take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement as nutritional insurance to meet your body’s nutrient needs. This may help reduce the risk of many health problems including fatigue, lowered immunity and impaired cognitive function.
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