Healthy Nutrition For Women

Today is a great time for women as more scientific evidence based information is evolving from nutrition research to dispel myths and present facts.

Women’s Confusion about Diets

Diets abound from the anti-heart disease diet to the PMS diet to the hundreds of weight loss diets. Women want to simplify the nutrition puzzle and have one diet. The one diet is the Healthy Woman’s Diet Plan. Healthy Woman’s diet plan takes into account how the dietary guidelines help to prevent one illness such as heart disease and how it might interact with advice for another disorder, such as cancer, food cravings, osteoporosis and diabetes.

Previous Trends – It’s Not “All in your Head”

Women’s health complaints have been dismissed as “all in the head.”

Insecurity, depression, irritability the week before menstruation, signaled emotionalism, a craving for sweets, lack of will-power. When these symptoms were reported to a physician, a husband or friend. Their complaint, met with a smile or recommendation “to take it easy.”

Vague symptoms of lethargy, depression, mood swings, headaches, and fluid retention were all conditions that were poorly understood by the medical community.

Changing Times

Undiagnosed emotional and physical symptoms are now recognized as specific metabolic processes, many of which are affected by diet.

Mood swings; food cravings and anxiety are symptoms many women experience before their periods and now have a name called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). PMS can be partially alleviated by changes in diet and exercise.

Poor concentration, memory problems and fatigue could be a result of something as simple as iron deficiency and caffeine consumption.

Until recently, many diseases were considered the inevitable condition of growing old:

The frail, stooped old lady, with protruding abdomen was a woman’s destiny. Researchers acknowledge this condition – Osteoporosis – can be prevented or at least dramatically slowed by exercise and increasing dietary intake of calcium.

Numerous age related conditions from cataracts and skin aging to bowel disorders, heart disease and many of the emotional and physical changes related to menopause might be prevented by, or the symptoms reduced by a few changes to diet. With regular exercise, there is every reason to feel vibrant, radiant and youthful in your sixties, seventies and beyond.

What you can do to Re-program the aging Process?

Getting old is a natural process but you don’t have to succumb to it. Many conditions associated with aging and ill health result from in action defenses that could be strengthened by a low-fat, nutrient dense diet with the combination of exercise.

For example, consuming ample amounts of anti-oxidant nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and selenium, strengthen one of the body’s basic defense systems against aging.

Optimal intake of the trace minerals, iron, zinc and copper and many of the vitamins builds the body’s immune system and protects against colds infections, premature aging, and many diseases, including cancer and arthritis.

Fitness

Staying fit that is by eating a low-fat nutrient dense diet and moving daily. You can re-program your body’s aging process. Basically what you eat and how much you move can make the difference between feeling and looking great or, at best, just getting by while the aging process advances toward disease and disability.

Room for Improvement

Your diet must work for you rather than against you to enhance your health potential. It is not too late to improve your diet.

Today the consensus for a healthy “balanced diet for women is changing and might not be good to prevent certain degenerative diseases or emotional problems. Research has shown that women’s diets have a long way to go. Women are eating less whole milk and beef that lessened saturated fat and cholesterol than women did years ago. There is 29% decrease in heart disease. On the other hand, polyunsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils and margarine have skyrocketed and average intake of fiber is less than one-third the recommended amount (that is 10 grams versus 30 + grams).

Women are eating more chicken than beef, but the chicken is fried. (One serving of chicken Nuggets is equivalent of five pats of butter.) Salad intake is on the rise due to the quest for weight loss and that is good. However, high fat salad dressings are poured on them diluting the benefits.

The recommendations to increase complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, pasta, bread, and cereals are not met. Women still consume less than one-half the amount of these foods that there fore-parents ate in the 1900s.

Women consume more French fries, sugar, cake and doughnuts than pasta. These food choices increase the intake of fat and sugar and jeopardize the nutritional adequacy of the diet.

Not meeting the Requirements

Women’s diets are low in many essential nutrients because they are not eating enough of the dietary recommendations. A woman’s physiology makes her more vulnerable than a man’s to nutrient deficiencies during different stages of her life, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

One out of every two women consumes less than two-third the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for folic acid, vitamin E, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, copper, vitamin, and many of the B vitamins. Many of these deficiencies are caused by eating too many of these processed foods, fast foods, and convenience items that are high in fat and sugar and low in nutrients. Its shown that the average women consumes 13 teaspoons of sugar daily or 265 calories from foods that supply little or no nutritional value.

Women like to diet. The average diet range for women in the United States start at 1,400 to 1,800 calories. Compare this to men, who usually consume more than 2,500 calories per day, it is very impossible to meet the requirement values of all vitamins and minerals when food intake is restricted to these amounts.

Clinical deficiencies are not met when women do not consume the minimal amount recommended. It compounds the problem further as they are not getting the amounts needed to prevent cancer, heart disease, premature aging and other conditions such as PMS and osteoporosis. Other nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin C are needed in greater amounts than previously recognized. It can be obtained from the diet if a woman consumes at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. In short, women are not consuming enough of the right foods.

What You Can Do

Women wear many hats and live very busy life-styles, with careers, family and social responsibilities. Despite busy lifestyle, women must take time to take care of themselves. Good health does not happen. The body is complex and it will automatically deteriorate at an increasing speed unless you take a pro-active role in keeping it well maintained.

Form good habits to support a healthy body and in most cases require only minor adjustments in a healthful life-style. These habits are not instinctive. You will have to choose nutritious foods. You have to make a conscious effort to treat it well by eating nutritious food and complementing with movement, relaxation and less stress.

One of the most important dietary changes you can make for your health, waistline and appearance is to eat less fat and more minimally processed, fiber rich foods. Less fat means more nutrients consumed for each spoonful of food. Less fat means a longer and healthier life.

Noticeable, as the population ages, women are becoming more serious about eating for health and sorting through the conflicting noises to find diets they can live with. Know this, at best, diets don’t work, and at worst they may compromise health, disease, resistance, and life spans.

It is left up to you to become your own nutrition advocate and remember that the symptoms you feel are not totally “all in your head,” and that there physical and possibly nutritional bases for many of these conditions. However you are still responsible for taking care of your health and nutritional status in an effort to achieve and maintain your healthiest body.

Did you find this article full of helpful information? If so, please pass it along to other women who may benefit from reading it too! 

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