Wednesday, September 28 is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day. This is the nation’s largest national health promotion for women of all ages that occurs every year on the last Wednesday in September. Women have unique nutrition needs to support staying in shape, losing weight and improving their overall health. Here are some tips women can practice daily to improve their nutrition.
This is a simple but often overlooked tip. Many diets emphasize the importance of breakfast as it helps to fuel your day and maintain weight. Take time in the morning for simple breakfast foods such as peanut butter on a whole wheat waffle, yogurt with granola or low-fat cream cheese on a whole wheat muffin (Cicco, 2008). Limit your coffee intake and prep healthy mid-morning snacks to prevent overeating at lunch time. Registered dietitian Gloria Tsang says, “When we skip a meal, our body thinks that we are in starvation mode and therefore slows down our metabolism as a means to compensate. We then tend to overeat at the next meal” (Tsang, 2010).
Eat Foods Rich in Iron
Pre-menopausal women need to ensure that they eat foods rich in iron. Iron is important for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body. It also maintains healthy skin, hair and nails (Watson, 2016). It is recommended that women from ages 19 to 50 need to get 18 mg of iron each day. After a woman begins menopause, both men and women need the same amount of iron — 8 mg each day (Watson, 2016). Adding foods such as meat, shellfish, beans, lentils and enriched cereals to your diet are natural and healthy ways to add iron to your diet.
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients women need to support a healthy lifestyle. Dark greens contain vitamin A, C, fiber and phytonutrients, they also contain folate which is important to prevent birth defects (Tsang, 2010). Fruits are essential in providing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to help you live longer and look better.
Choose Whole Grain Options
Replacing white, processed foods with whole grain products is an easy, nutritious change to make to your diet. Whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Whole-grain diets also improve bowel health by helping to maintain regular bowel movements and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the colon (WebMD, 2016). On trips to the grocery store be sure to read the label and ingredients carefully to ensure that you are purchasing whole wheat products.
Limit Saturated Fat
According to the American Heart Association, “Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke” (Asscoaition, 2016). Foods that contain saturated fat are fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow), lard and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk. Limit and replace these foods with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts (Asscoaition, 2016).
Asscoaition, A. H. (2016, July 29). Saturated Fats. Retrieved from American Heart Association : https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp#.V8msTeRTGM8
Cicco, D. D. (2008, October 6). Quick tips for a healthy breakfast. Retrieved from She Knows: https://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/804874/quick-tips-for-a-healthy-breakfast
Tsang, G. (2010, February ). 5 Nutrition Tips for Women. Retrieved from Health Castle: https://www.healthcastle.com/nutrition-tips-women.shtml
Watson, S. (2016, September). What You Need to Know About Iron Supplements. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/iron-supplements
WebMD. (2016, September). Tips for Reaping the Benefits of Whole Grains. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/reaping-benefits-whole-grains?page=1
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