Diet and Nutrition Tips for Women
A healthy and well-balanced diet fills you with energy, eliminates stress, prevents gaining weight, and makes you look and feel your best. It is also a great support through all the life stages. Whatever your age eating healthy food is vital for feminine health as it helps eliminate PMS, facilitate fertility, reduce stress, as well as make pregnancy and nursing easier.
Good nutrition is a key to health and beauty for women of all ages. It begins with such basics as a well-rounded diet featuring whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein. These nutrients supply women with plenty of energy, help control weight, and are essential for looking and feeling best at any age.
Top Diet and Nutrition Tips for Women
Eat Whole, Plant-Based Foods. The mainstay of your diet should be leafy green vegetables and fruits along with a variety of whole grains, beans, and other legumes. These foods will provide your body with fiber and will keep you going throughout the day. Whenever possible try to buy minimally processed or locally grown foods.
Get Enough Calcium. To prevent osteoporosis, it's important to eat foods high in calcium to support your bone health. In addition to eating dairy products which are high in calcium, consider adding plant-based sources of calcium like beans, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens to your every day menu.
Get Enough Iron. Make sure you get enough iron by eating iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, dark poultry, lentils, spinach, almonds, and iron-fortified cereals.
Decrease Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption. Having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk of developing osteoporosis. Caffeine consumption impacts hormone levels and increases the loss of calcium. So try to have no more than one glass of alcohol a day and limit your consumption of caffeine to one cup a day.
Cut Down on Added Sugars. Added sugars which are not found naturally in foods have no nutrients at all but are high in calories. Naturally occurring sugars are found in milk products (lactose) and fruit (fructose), while added sugars are hidden in agave nectar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, and more. Decreasing the amount of candy and desserts you consume is only part of the solution. Sugar is also found in bread, canned soups, beans, and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, and ketchup. Foods labeled as "low fat" or "reduced fat" also contain lots of sugar as manufacturers often substitute the fat in their products by sugar to make it taste better. So choose "sugar-free" or "no added sugar" products. It’s best to use fresh or frozen foods rather than canned goods, and skip fast food meals.
Soft drinks like soda, energy drinks, and coffee drinks contain the largest amounts of hidden sugar. For example, a can of soda contains 10-12 teaspoons of sugar and around 150 calories. Switching to diet soda won't help, as according to the studies it triggers sugar cravings that can contribute to weight gain. Instead, try drinking water with lemon, unsweetened iced tea, or carbonated water with a splash of juice.
Tip 1: Eat to Check Cravings and Boost Energy
Developing healthy eating habits will help you stay slim, control cravings, and feel energetic all day long. These include:
1. Eating breakfast. Studies reveal that people who eat healthy breakfast generally weigh less than those who don't. A nutritious breakfast provides energy for the whole day.
2. Eating regularly. Try to eat something at least every three or four hours. You will need a substantial breakfast, a nutritious lunch, a snack around 2 pm and a light early dinner.
3. Shifting to complex carbohydrates. You will feel full much longer by eating baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas that boost your "feel-good" serotonin levels and provide plenty of fiber.
4. Boosting energy with high-quality protein. Instead of eating animal-based protein which can cause calcium loss and lead to a decrease in bone density and osteoporosis consider eating fish, skinless chicken and turkey, low-fat dairy, and plant-based protein sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, and soy products.
Tip 2: Get Plenty of Good Carbs and Whole Grains
Carbohydrates, like fats, are a vital part of a healthy diet as they supply you with the fuel you need to get through your day, fight fatigue, and stay feeling full. But the problem is choosing the right kinds of carbohydrates.
Healthy carbohydrates are complex ones and are rich in fiber. Complex carbs can be found in whole grain brown rice, stone ground whole wheat, millet, or quinoa, as well as beans, other legumes, fruit, and vegetables. They are rich in nutrients and leave you full and satisfied providing long-lasting energy. Simple carbohydrates found in white flour, white rice, and sugary foods should be avoided. They have plenty of empty calories and provide only short-lived energy leaving you hungry for more.
Tip 3: Consume Good Fat, not No Fat!
Healthy fats are a necessary part of a healthy diet. Healthy fats include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that help improve your health, look and vitality. Monounsaturated fats are found in plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (pumpkin, sesame). Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Other sources include unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed oils, and walnuts.
Unhealthy fats are saturated fat found primarily in red meat and whole milk dairy products and trans fat found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the "bad fats" that enhance your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Women need healthy fats in their diet to look and feel great because such fats boost brainpower and mood, help control craving, promote healthy pregnancies and contribute to lifelong beauty. Also healthy fats lower the glycemic index of foods and are needed to absorb many important vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Tip 4: Maintain Your Bones Strong
Women of all ages should eat plenty of foods that contribute to strong, healthy bones, as women have a very high risk of osteoporosis. But this disease can be prevented with good nutrition and exercise. The key is to get enough of the nutrients like calcium and magnesium, in combination with vitamin D that support bone health.
The recommended daily allowance of calcium varies from 400 to 1,200 mg/day. Products rich in calcium are leafy green vegetables, dairy products, oatmeal and other grains, tofu, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, garlic, and sea vegetables.
The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 500 to 800 mg/day. Calcium only works when taken together with magnesium. Magnesium is found in leafy green vegetables, summer squash, broccoli, halibut, cucumber, green beans, celery, and a variety of seeds, including pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds.
From 400 to 1,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D are needed daily. You can get Vitamin D from about half an hour of direct exposure to sunlight. An excellent source of vitamin D is also salmon, shrimp, vitamin-D fortified milk, cod, and eggs.
Tip 5: Add Fiber to Your Diet
Eating foods high in dietary fiber can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, improve the health of your skin, and even help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, so adding fiber can help you feel full sooner. Fruit and vegetables that are rich in fiber are low – calorie products, so adding fiber to your diet makes it easier to cut calories and help you lose weight. Moreover, eating plenty of fiber moves fat through your digestive system at a faster rate so that less fat is absorbed. Consuming high-fiber foods, you'll also have more energy for exercising.
Women aged 18 to 50 need minimum 25 grams of fiber per day; women over 50 need minimum 21 grams per day.
Good sources of fiber are whole grains, wheat cereals, barley, flaxseed, oatmeal, beans, nuts, vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears.
Nutritious Explorations recommends beginning your day with a high-fiber, whole grain cereal, with adding wheat bran and fresh or dried fruit to your cereal. Another step is to substitute white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products. Develop a habit of snacking on fruit and vegetables. Add nuts, seeds, kidney beans, peas, or black beans to your salads. And finally, you can increase your intake of fiber by adding barley, lentils, or rice to soups and stews.
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