While we are all so similar in so many ways, we also have different needs when it comes to looking after our health. Women have different dietary requirements than men, for example, and it's important for women to recognize and respond to these nutritional differences. With busy lives and a temptation to eat-on-the-go, it can be a challenge for women to lead a balanced life, let alone follow a balanced meal plan that gives them all the nutrients they require.
Women of childbearing age are more prone to being iron-deficient as they are obviously losing blood each month and this can deplete their iron resources. Compared to men who just need 8mg daily, women need over twice as much, with a recommendation of 18mg per day. Women who are pregnant will need even more iron in her diet.
Top tip: Great sources of iron are found in leafy greens like spinach as well as beans and lentils, and red meat, chicken and fish. To increase absorption make sure you are eating enough Vitamin C-rich foods too.
You may be aware of the risk of osteoporosis in women as they get older and this is because menopausal women lose calcium from their bones due to estrogen levels declining. The result is that bones can become more fragile and break more easily, as well as leading to mobility issues. Women over the age of 50 are recommended to bump up their calcium levels some 50%, from 1,000mg a day to 1,500mg.
Top tip: While you might associate calcium with dairy products, other rich sources of calcium include sardines and salmon, as well as cereals, tofu and collard greens. Increase your absorption of calcium with a good level of Vitamin D, the main source of which is some good old-fashioned sunshine - so get outside as part of your fitness routine too!
An important B-vitamin, we often associate folic acid with pregnancy and yet it is also linked to other health areas, such as the heart and supposedly the colon too. Folic acid intake for would-be moms is essential as it can guard against birth defects. For all women the recommended daily dose is 400 micrograms, with pregnant women needing a 50% increase and new breastfeeding moms needing a 25% increase.
Top tip: Look for foods fortified with folic acid, such as cereals and include in your diet vegetables that are a rich source of folic acid, including leafy greens, broccoli, avocado and okra. Citrus fruits are also another good folic acid provider.
Many women eat in the same way as men, especially when meals are being eaten as a couple or as a family. What's important for women to consider is adding more ingredients into meal plans that benefit them or come up with different sides to a main which look after the nutritional needs of everyone and offer some great variety and choice into mealtimes.
As well as the right nutrition plan you also need the best fitness plan with workouts that work for women's bodies. Get in touch and create the healthy woman you are meant to be.