Did you know that men and women ARE NOT the same when it comes to health and what our bodies need? Sure, the basics of a healthy diet and exercise are the same but there are certain things that are important for women to keep in mind that aren’t as essential to men’s’ health. Due to hormonal changes throughout our lives women have several nutritional needs that are often neglected due to not knowing how essential they are. Here are a few things for women to keep in mind when they are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Calcium is a biggie! Have you ever had a female friend or relative who seemed to get shorter as they got older? That could be from a lack of calcium in their diet over the years and the onset of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition where your new bone development can’t keep up with bone breakdown. It is known to be more common in women than in men and risk increases with age.
Calcium is a huge contributor to healthy bones but it also helps regulate heart rhythm and contributes to nervous system health. It is very important to try and include at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium into your daily diet. Make sure to include vitamin D and magnesium to insure your body is properly breaking down and absorbing as much calcium as it can.
Iron is not just something you pump. As a matter of fact, if you aren’t getting enough iron you may feel exhausted or out of breath. Iron is a nutrient that helps carry oxygen into your bloodstream.
Because women lose some blood every month during menses it is important to replace that lost iron. Women generally need twice the amount of iron in their diet than men to replace what they lose.
Including a healthy portion of poultry, seafood, and iron enriched foods to your daily diet will keep you energized and healthy. Getting around 18 milligrams per day will help maintain iron levels during childbearing years. After menopause, it goes down to around 8 milligrams due to the absence of a period.
Folate, Folic Acid, and B9
Folate, Folic Acid, B9, however you refer to it, is another important nutrient, especially during childbearing years. We have all heard about how important folic acid is during pregnancy because it aids in lowering the chance of birth defects, but did you know you need it for other reasons as well?
Folic acid has been known to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower the chances of developing certain types of cancer. The suggested daily amount of folic acid is around 400 milligrams and 600 during pregnancy. A healthy diet of leafy greens, fruit, and beans can keep your body stocked with the B9 it needs.
Physical activity versus calorie intake is very different between men and women. Because women tend to have less muscle, and a smaller frame than men, our bodies do not require as many calories per day.
A healthy diet goal, with a moderate activity level, is around 2,000 calories per day. The higher the activity level the more calories a woman needs.
We all know how important exercise is. Inactivity can lead to loss of muscle mass and loss of bone density.
We have already talked about how important calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium are to bone health, but exercise plays an important role in this as well. A regular rotation of strength training and cardio exercises will, not only keep you healthy, but will increase bone density and build muscle.
Many of these tips, such as getting enough iron and calcium into your diet, can also aid in alleviating symptoms of PMS, such as cramps and bloating.
By implementing these tips into your daily routine you will be insuring your body is well taken care of. Before beginning any new diet or exercise program be sure to check with your doctor first. Your physician will be able to help you determine which nutritional needs and exercise programs will work best for your body.