Women often are the ones who make sure that their families eat healthily. Unfortunately, many women are prone to neglecting their own dietary needs. Excuses such as being too busy to eat right or trying to adhere to an extreme diet are common, but that kind of eating just leaves you short on vital nutrients and feeling cranky, hungry, and low on energy.
Eating in a healthy manner shouldn't be difficult. According to Womenshealth.gov, to help prevent heart disease, stroke, and perhaps other diseases, women should eat mainly:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grains (at least half of your grains should be whole grains, such as whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice)
- Fat-free or low-fat versions of milk, cheese, yogurt, and other milk products
- Fish, skinless poultry, lean red meats, dry beans, eggs, and nuts
- Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats
Also, you should limit the amount of foods you eat that contain:
- Saturated fat
- Trans fat
- Added sugars
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For women, that means one drink per day. One drink is defined as:
- 12 fluid ounces of regular beer
- 5 fluid ounces of wine
- 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits
Just because you're trying to follow a healthy eating plan doesn't mean that you can't indulge once in a while. If you generally eat a healthy diet, it won't hurt to indulge in a rich dessert or serving of fried food every once in a while.
Women tend to need fewer calories than men, but requirements for certain vitamins and minerals are much higher. Hormonal changes that come along with menstruation, child-bearing, and menopause make women have a higher risk of anemia, weakened bones, and osteoporosis, requiring a higher intake of nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B9 (folate).
A balanced diet is one of the cornerstones of good health. Women should enjoy a variety of foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and lean protein, but keep in mind that women also have special nutrient needs, and during each stage of a woman's life, these needs change.
Talk to any of our doctors about eating a healthy diet and what vitamins or nutrients you might need more of during this time in your life. Remember, nutrient-rich foods provide the energy you need for your busy life as well as help prevent disease.