Women's Nutrition - The Big Four

Calling all female attention!  Are you sure you're getting the most important nutrients for you?  As women we have specific nutritional needs for optimal growth and function throughout our lifespan.  So how do you think you're doing when it comes to these nutrients and lifestyle changes?

Calcium

Calcium is very important for bone health as women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis than men.  Bone mineral accretion (in other words, the most important years for intake) lasts from the teen years into early thirties ... and then it's all about maintaining it with regular intake of calcium and weight-bearing exercise.

Calcium sources: [low-fat!] dairy products, spinach, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, fortified soy milk and orange juice, quinoa, chard

Iron

Iron is a mineral that plays a role in oxygenation of the blood supply.  On top of being a mineral that is often consumed in insufficienct amounts, women experience monthly losses during menstruation.  This can lead to various types of anemia and fatigue.

Iron sources: [lean!] red meats, dark poultry, shellfish, soybeans & products, spinach, lentils, iron-fortified cereals

Complex Carbohydrates

Focus on maintaining a healthy intake of this [type of] macronutrient as it boosts serotonin levels for more even-keeled energy.  Plus you get all the benefits of higher fiber for heart and intestinal health.  Foods in this category include fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, whole wheat bread.  In fact, for the most optimal energy levels throughout the day, take this principle, and use it at every...

Meal.  Regular Meals.  Regular Physical Activity.

I know it sounds simple and that it's advice that you've probably heard before.  But that doesn't change its importance.  Your body's natural cadence for energy means that you'll be the most satisfied if you have something nutritious every 3-4 hours during the day.  Smaller, more-frequent meals are a great strategy for weight management when they're planned correctly.  Now, regular physical activity.  I'm not talking about 3 hours in the gym or running a marathon.  Physical activity for at least 30 minutes MOST days of the week.

 

So ladies, how do you think you're doing with these?  I think breaking it down to a few basic concepts helps us know where to focus our attention.  Any other women's health questions or concerns?!