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Nutrition for Women :EATING RIGHT TO LOOK AND FEEL YOUR BEST Powered By Docstoc
					                                  Nutrition for Women

                                        Eating well is one of the best ways you can take care of
                                        yourself and those who depend on you. What you eat makes a
                                        big difference in the way you look and feel. A healthy diet gives
                                        you energy to get through your busy day, supports your mood,
                                        helps you maintain your weight, and keeps you looking your
                                        What you eat can also be a huge support as you go through
                                        different stages in your life. Your food choices can help reduce
                                        PMS, boost fertility, combat stress, make pregnancy easier,
and ease the symptoms of menopause. Whatever your age, committing to a healthy diet will help you
look and feel your best so that you stay on top of your commitments and enjoy life.

Good nutrition for women of all ages
Good nutrition starts with the basics: a well-rounded diet consisting of whole grains, fresh fruits and
vegetables, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein. These kinds of foods provide women with plenty
of energy, the means for lifelong weight control, and the key ingredients for looking and feeling great
at any age.

Top diet and nutrition tips for women
        Focus on whole, plant-based foods. Fill most of your plate with fruits and leafy green
    vegetables. Also include a variety of whole grains, beans, and legumes to give you filling fiber
    and keep you going throughout the day. Try to find minimally-processed or locally-grown foods
    whenever possible and make these foods the mainstay of your diet.
        Bone up on calcium. Women are at a greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis,
    so it’s important to get plenty of calcium to support your bone health. While dairy products are
    high in calcium, their animal fat and protein can accelerate bone loss. So also consider plant-
    based sources of calcium like beans, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens.
        Don’t eat too much protein. Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet, but eating
    too much animal-based protein—such as the levels recommended in many low-carb, high-
    protein diets—is particularly dangerous for women. Eating lots of protein causes calcium loss.
    Over time, this could lead to a decrease in bone density and osteoporosis.
        Make sure you get enough iron. Many women don’t get enough iron in their diet. On top
    of that, women lose a lot of this important mineral during menstruation. Boost your intake by
    eating iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, dark poultry, lentils, spinach, almonds, and iron-
    fortified cereals.
        Cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Women who have more than two alcoholic drinks a
    day are at higher risk of osteoporosis. Caffeine consumption interferes with hormone levels and
    also increases the loss of calcium. Try to limit alcohol consumption to one glass a day and
    caffeine to one cup a day.
Diet and nutrition for women tip 1: Eat to control cravings and boost energy

Your diet has a major effect on your food cravings, your stress levels, and your energy throughout the
day. By making smart food choices and developing healthy eating habits, you’ll find it much easier to
stay slim, control cravings, and feel energetic all day long.

        Eat breakfast. Get your metabolism going in the morning by eating a healthy breakfast.
    Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who skip it. A solid
    breakfast provides energy for the day.
        Eat regularly. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim
    to eat something at least every 3-4 hours. Support your body’s natural cycle of energy by
    eating a substantial breakfast, a nutritious lunch, a snack around 2 (to compensate for the
    body’s natural low point that occurs around 3 each afternoon), and a light early dinner.
        Cut the junk. The ups and downs that come with eating sugary snacks and simple
    carbohydrates cause extreme swings in energy level and mood. Cutting out these foods can be
    tough, but if you can resist for several days, your cravings will subside.
        Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta,
    brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas boost your “feel-good” serotonin levels
    without a crash. They also provide plenty of fiber, so you feel full much longer.

Diet and nutrition for women tip 2: Get plenty of good carbs
                          You may think that they key to losing weight or avoiding weight gain is
                          cutting out carbohydrates. But carbs, like fats, are a vital part of a healthy
                          diet. They give you the fuel you need to get through your day, fight fatigue,
                          and stay full. The key is to choose the right kinds of carbohydrates.

                          Complex vs. simple carbohydrates
                          Complex carbohydrates—the “good carbs”—have not been stripped of their
                          fiber and nutrients. Because they’re rich in fiber, they keep you full longer
                          and help with weight control. Good sources of these good carbs include
                          whole grains like whole grain brown rice, stone ground whole wheat, millet,
                          or quinoa, as well as beans, other legumes, fruit, and vegetables.

                          Simple carbohydrates—the “bad carbs”—have been stripped of their fiber
and many of their nutrients. Simple carbs lead to a dramatic spike inn your blood sugar, followed by a
rapid crash. These carbs are much less efficient at filling you up and keeping you energized. Simple
carbs include white flour, white rice, and sugary foods.

Complex carbohydrates:
        Leave you full and satisfied
        Are packed with nutrients
        Provide long-lasting energy
Simple carbohydrates:
        Leave you hungry for more
        Are mostly empty calories
        Provide only short-lived energy
Diet and nutrition for women tip 3: Don’t cut out the fat!
Many women have been led to believe that dietary fat is unhealthy and will contribute to weight gain.
But fats are a necessary part of a healthy diet. What really matters are the types of fat you eat.

Women need healthy fats in their diet to look and feel great
        Healthy fats boost your brain power and mood. Fats are essential to healthy brain
    function. They put you in a good mood and keep you mentally sharp.
        Healthy fats promote healthy pregnancies. When you’re pregnant, both you and your
    growing baby need healthy fat to feel your best. Fat is especially important to your baby’s
    developing brain and nervous system.
        Healthy fats contribute to lifelong beauty. Fats are essential for vibrant, glowing skin,
    hair, and nails. A lack of healthy fats in your diet can lead to dull, flaky skin, brittle nails, and
    dry or easily-damaged hair.
        Healthy fats help control cravings. Because fat is so dense in calories, a little goes a
    long way in making you feel full. Small amounts of good fats like nuts or seeds make great
    satisfying snacks.
        Fats lower the glycemic index of foods, easing the spike in blood sugar that results
    from eating carbohydrates.
        You need fat in order to absorb certain vitamins. Many important vitamins—including
    vitamins A, D, E, and K—are fat-soluble, meaning you need fat in your system in order to
    absorb them.

Choosing healthy fats
Rather than cutting fat out of your diet, make smart choices about the types of fat you eat. Saturated
fat and trans fat—the “bad fats”—increase your risk for certain diseases, including heart disease and
stroke. But polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats—the “good fats”—actually contribute to your
health and vitality, support your mood, and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Foods rich in healthy fats include:

        olive and canola oil
        fish and seafood
        peanut butter

Diet and nutrition for women tip 4: Focus on foods for strong bones
It’s important for women of all ages to eat foods that contribute to strong, healthy bones. Women
have a higher risk of osteoporosis than men. But osteoporosis is largely preventable with good
nutrition and exercise. After the age of 30, you stop building bone mass, but you can eat to maintain
strong bones at any age. The key is to get enough of the nutrients that support bone health.

The role of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D in women’s bone health
Calcium and magnesium, in combination with vitamin D, are vital for women’s bone health. Calcium
and magnesium needs are higher for people who eat the standard western diet (high consumption of
sugar, caffeine, meat, and alcohol and a relatively low consumption of leafy greens and whole grains).

       Calcium: The recommended daily allowance varies from 400 to 1,200 mg/day. Good
    sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, oatmeal and other grains,
    tofu, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, garlic, and sea vegetables. Calcium is absorbed
    slowly and your body cannot take in more than 500 mg at any one time.
        Magnesium: The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 500 to 800 mg/day.
    Calcium can only work when taken in conjunction with magnesium. Good sources of
    magnesium include leafy green vegetables, summer squash, broccoli, halibut, cucumber, green
    beans, celery, and a variety of seeds, including pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and flax seeds.
        Vitamin D: Aim for between 400 and 1,000 IU daily. You can get Vitamin D from about half
    an hour of direct exposure to sunlight, and also from foods and supplements. Salmon is an
    excellent source of vitamin D. Other good sources include shrimp, vitamin-D fortified milk, cod,
    and eggs.

Nutrition tips to ease the symptoms of PMS
Bloating, cramping, and fatigue experienced the week or so before your period are often due to
fluctuating hormones. Diet can play an important role in alleviating these and other symptoms of PMS.

        Avoid trans fats, refined sugar, and salt. Sugar worsens mood swings and salt worsens
    water retention and bloating.
        Cut out caffeine and alcohol. Both are known to worsen PMS symptoms, so avoid them
    during this time in your cycle.
        Limit red meat and egg yolks as they can cause inflammation. You may want to try
    sticking to vegetable proteins like soy and nuts, to see if it helps with your symptoms.
        Try cutting out dairy. Many women find relief from symptoms when dairy foods are
    eliminated from their diet. For some, improvements occur when they switch to hormone-free,
    organic diary products.
        Add essential fatty acids to you diet. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with
    cramps. See if eating more fish or taking fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements eases your PMS
        Consider vitamin supplements. For some women, taking a daily multivitamin or
    supplementing with magnesium, vitamin B6, and vitamin E may help relieve cramps.

Nutrition tips for pregnant or breastfeeding women
You only need about 300 extra calories per day to maintain a healthy pregnancy and provide sufficient
nutrition for your growing baby. However, gaining some weight is natural during pregnancy, and
nursing can help with weight loss after the baby is born.

Nutrition for a healthy pregnancy
                                Fat and protein are very important to your baby’s developing
                            brain and nervous system. Stick to lean sources of protein and healthy
                            fats for weight control.
                                Abstain from alcohol. No amount is safe for the baby.
                                Cut down on caffeine, which has been linked to a higher risk of
                            miscarriage and can interfere with iron absorption. Limit yourself to no
                            more than one caffeinated drink per day.
                                Eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than a few large ones.
                            This will help prevent and reduce morning sickness and heartburn.
                                Be cautious about foods that may be harmful to pregnant
                            women. These include soft cheeses, sushi, deli meats, raw sprouts,
                            and fish such as tuna that may contain high levels of mercury.

                        Nutrition for breastfeeding women
       Keep your caloric consumption a little higher to help your body maintain a steady milk
        Emphasize lean sources of protein and calcium, which are in higher demand during
        Take prenatal vitamin supplements, which are still helpful during breastfeeding, unless
    your physician tells you otherwise.
        Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Just as with the pregnancy guidelines above,
    refrain from drinking and smoking, and reduce your caffeine intake.
If your baby develops an allergic reaction, you may need to adjust what you're eating. Common food
allergens include cow's milk, eggs, wheat, fish, and citrus. For a cow's milk allergy, you can meet your
calcium needs through other high calcium foods, such as kale, broccoli, or sardines.

Nutrition tips to boost fertility
         Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, as they are known to decrease fertility.
         Eat organic foods, in order to limit pollutants and pesticides that may interfere with
         Take a prenatal supplement. The most important supplements for fertility are folic acid,
   zinc, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
         Don’t overlook your partner’s diet. About 40 percent of fertility problems are on the
   male’s side, so encourage your partner to add supplements such as zinc, vitamin C, calcium, and
   vitamin D.

Nutrition tips to ease menopause
For up to a decade prior to menopause, your reproductive system prepares to retire and your body
shifts its production of hormones. By eating especially well as you enter your menopausal years, you
can ease this transition.

       Boost calcium intake. Calcium supports bone health and helps prevent osteoporosis. Also
    make sure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin D and magnesium, both of which support calcium
       Limit wine, sugar, white flour products, and coffee. Hot flashes improve in almost all
    cases when those foods are reduced or eliminated.
       Eat more good fats. Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids can help boost hormone
    production and give your skin a healthy glow. Evening primrose oil and black currant oil are
    good sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that can help balance your
    hormones and alleviate hot flashes.
       Try flaxseed for hot flashes. Flaxseed is rich in lignans, which help stabilize hormone
    levels. Flaxseed can be particularly effective in managing hot flashes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of
    ground flaxseed to your daily diet. Try sprinkling it on soups, salads, or main dishes.
       Consider eating more soy. Soy products are high in phytoestrogens, plant-based
    estrogens that are similar to estrogen produced by the body. Some studies suggest that soy
    may help mange menopausal symptoms. Try natural soy sources such as soy milk, tofu,
    tempeh, and soy nuts.

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