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Optimal nutrition for women: What should you watch out for?

27.01. 2022

Eating high-quality foods is a pillar for a healthy lifestyle. Women and men alike should enjoy a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and, to a lesser extent, high-quality proteins. However, women also have special nutrition needs that have to be adapted to a specific phase of their life. Regardless of whether you need more energy, want to lift your spirits, fight stress or increase your fertility, enjoy a healthy pregnancy or relieve menopause symptoms - we at Clever fit will show you why a healthy diet is so important for women and how it will help you stay healthy and active.

 

A diet for women: differences between women and men

In childhood, the nutritional needs of boys and girls are largely similar, but with the onset of puberty, everything changes. And this process does not stop as they keep ageing. Our bodies go through a growing number of physical and hormonal changes, therefore it is important to adapt our nutrition accordingly.

A good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can have a great effect on achieving your goals, whether it is loss of fat, muscle building or managing weight gain.

 

Are macros important for women?

Macros is short for macronutrients, which is a term describing three main groups of foods that we all need to make our body work: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Carbohydrates

As an important source of energy, carbohydrates should be consumed in particular in the form of healthy carbohydrates such as cereals, vegetables, fruit and legumes.

Proteins

Proteins are an important part of our diet mainly because, unlike carbohydrates and fats, the body cannot produce them itself, and therefore needs an even supply of them.

Proteins, composed of amino acids, are the basis for all body cells; the foundation stone that builds and repairs our skin, muscles, hair, blood, hormones and bodily organs.

It is important that we take in enough of this vital nutrient that we can get from meat, dairy products, but also from vegan protein sources such as nuts and food made of peas - they are especially important when we exercise a lot because they help repair and increase muscle mass.

Fats

Of course, too much fat is not recommended, but it is important to get enough good fats from sources such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados and fatty fish.

Fat is important for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. This group includes vitamins A, D, E and K, which are important for brain development and for the protection of bones and organs.

Why are micronutrients important in women’s diet?

Vitamins and minerals are generally referred to as micronutrients. Your body needs less micronutrients compared to macronutrients, which is why they are called “micronutrients”.

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for growth, the normal functioning of the immune system, brain development and many other important functions.

 

Which micronutrients are particularly important?

Here are just a few of the many micronutrients you should pay attention to, yet they are very important for the functioning of your vital functions - especially for women.

Iron: Iron is essential for the formation of healthy blood cells and is just as important for a strong immune system. Nevertheless, the amount required varies depending on the stage of a woman’s life. For example, iron requirements are higher during pregnancy and lower after menopause. The foodstuffs high in iron include red meat, chicken meat, turkey meat, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and some enriched processed grains.

A little tip: The iron from plant sources is more easily absorbed by the body when consumed with foods rich in vitamin C.

Folic acid: Folic acid plays an important role in decreasing the risk of congenital defects. Foods that naturally contain folic acid include oranges, leafy vegetables, beans and peas, which also provide adequate vitamin B. There are also many foods fortified with folic acid, such as breakfast cereals, rice or bread. It is recommended to eat different types of food to suit your nutritional needs, but sometimes it may also be necessary to take folic acid supplements. This is especially true for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as their daily requirement for folic acid, which is 600 mg or 500 mg per day, is higher than normal.

Daily requirement of calcium and vitamin D: For healthy bones and teeth, women must consume a variety of calcium-rich foods every day. Calcium keeps bones strong and helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone disease in which bones weaken and break easily. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat or non-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, sardines, leafy vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, and calcium-fortified foods and beverages such as vegetable milk alternatives, juices, and cereals. Adequate amounts of vitamin D are also needed, and calcium and vitamin D requirements increase as women get older. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, eggs, mushrooms, avocados and fortified foods and beverages such as milk, as well as some vegetable milk alternatives, yoghurts and juices.