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The lifelong importance of nutrition for women at different stages of their lives



The lifelong importance of nutrition for women at different stages of their lives

Taking a look at the bigger picture, it has been found that the burden of malnutrition is distastefully high in the country. Malnutrition is a rather universal issue which no nation in the world could ever overlook.

Did you know that a third of the women at their reproductive age are anaemic? Also, 40% of the adults in the country are either obese or overweight and every year, more than 20 million babies are born underweight?

Besides affecting your health, the sluggish progress of malnutrition is impacting the economic and social development of the nations. In fact, it has been estimated that malnutrition and its several forms could cost the society around $3.5 trillion in a year. Obesity and overweight alone would cost $500 billion in a year.

The scary figures call for immediate action as malnutrition is responsible for too much of ill-healthy than any other cause. The effects that obesity and overweight had on the health of people could contribute to 4 million deaths. And under-nutrition is responsible for 45% of the deaths among children who are less than 5 years of age.

Why is the situation so bad? Why are things not improving when we have more knowledge now?

There are several kinds of noteworthy steps that are being taken to address serious issues like malnutrition. Over the globe, stunting among kids less than 5 years of age has plummeted from 33% in 2000 to 23% in 2018. Overall, there has been a mild decrease in underweight among since but still there has been a patchy yet slow progress.

Experts did an assessment of progress in 2018. They revealed that just 84 among the 194 countries are exactly on track with having reached at least one of the nutrition targets. This clearly means that majority of the countries are considerably off-track as they couldn’t meet all the targets. Here is what they found:

  • There is not a single country which is on the right course to meet all the 9 set targets
  • Just 5 countries are on track as long as meeting the 9 targets are concerned and this is the most that a country can track for
  • Not a single country is on track to obtain the obesity target for adults (both men & women) and none of them could even reach the anaemia target
  • To reach the target for women’s diabetes, just 25 countries are on the right track

We are now better armed to abolish malnutrition

As per the Global Nutrition Report of 2018, it was seen that solutions existed already. But, there were not many effective ideas which were being adopted by people and the government for proper nutrition care.

  • People now know more on what they should eat, what are the foods that matter and what has to be done in order to enhance their diets. As compared to the beverage sales few years ago, there has been a fall in the sale of beverage by 10.7%. More and more people are getting aware of the damages done by sugar.
  • Local level action and data has become especially effective. People are nowadays getting more access to information on foods, their ingredients, advertisements which raise awareness and data on healthy snacks. Obesity and overweight prevalence in the city is levelling off these days.
  • Governments are being more committed to take up lead action against malnutrition. They are spreading awareness on non-communicable diseases like diabetes and the President of China emphasises on the significant political will to improve the status of the citizens of China. Women with malnutrition are being recommended to take their daily doses of folic acid.

Nutrition and diet for women – Eat right to feel and look your best

A woman is always trying to balance the demands of work, family or school and is constantly coping with the media pressure to eat, look and feel in a certain manner. All these are making it tough for them to maintain a healthy diet.

However, women need to know that the right foods will not just improve your energy levels and support your mood but it can also let you maintain a healthy weight and help you through various stages of life. Healthy food can improve fertility, reduce PMS, make nursing post pregnancy easier and also keep your bones healthy and strong.

Nutritional requirements of women are different from men’s – How?

For children, the dietary and nutritional needs for girls and boys are almost similar. But post puberty, women begin to develop unique requirements for nutrition as with age. Their bodies go through several hormonal and physical changes which in turn changes the requirement for proper nutrition. Women’s diets keep evolving with their age.

While it is true that women require fewer calories as compared to men, their requirements for few minerals and vitamins are way higher than men. There are hormonal changes related to menstruation, bearing a child and with menopause. This clearly implies that women are more susceptible to weakened bones, anaemia and bone diseases like osteoporosis. Hence, they automatically need to take in more nutrients like calcium, iron, Vitamin D, magnesium and Vitamin B9 (folate).

Why do women always fall short of their nutritional demands?

As women, most women are prone to neglecting their personal dietary requirements. Women usually feel they’re too busy to have their meals at the right time and they always keep putting their family and children first.

With this kind of behavior, they always fall short on important nutrients which make them feel hungry, cranky and low on energy. The specific needs of women are often neglected by them.

It is always best for women to build their dietary choices keeping in mind their main nutritional needs. Are you aiming to enhance your mood or fight stress or enjoy healthy pregnancy or improve fertility or ease off the harsh symptoms of menopause? There are few nutrition tips that will always let you stay vibrant throughout the year.

Nutritional requirements for women during their childbearing years

There are multiple nutrients which are especially vital for women during their adulthood, particularly when they’re trying to get pregnant. Here are few such things that you should keep in mind:

  • B12: Vitamin B12 is essential for improving the health, functioning and development of your nervous system. If a woman who is pregnant is also vegan, she might fall short of B12 as this vitamin is mostly found in animal protein and lesser in dairy products. Adult and teenage women require 2.4 mcg and the pregnant women need 2.6 mcg of this vitamin while lactating women need 2.8 mcg.
  • Folic acids: This is yet another type of Vitamin B which helps in preventing defects in neural tube, particularly anencephaly and spina bifida. Such defects could turn out to be fatal and devastating. Nowadays, there are several foods which are rich in folic acid like leafy greens which are rich n folic acid. Doctors usually give 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid to pregnant women.
  • Omega 3s: Omega-3s are fatty acids like DHA, EPA which play several roles in the human body including healthy nerve cells and brain. There are few studies which show that omega 3-s can prevent any kind of pre-term births. All sorts of women who even don’t plan to conceive should also get enough of omega-3s. Omega-3 also reduces heart issues among women.
  • Choline: There are few other studies which link low levels of choline with enhanced risk of defects in the neural tube. Doctors and physicians have recommended certain levels of nutrients like choline to the diet of women. If you love eggs, you will be rather happy to know that eggs are an interesting source of choline and if you eat a few eggs in a week, that’s all that you may need for consuming choline. Other such food sources of choline are liver, milk and peanuts.
  • Calcium: It has always been extremely important for women to get right levels of calcium so that they could maintain strong and healthy bones. During their childbearing years, adult women should opt for 1000mg and 1300mg of calcium in a day.
  • Vitamin D: Since the last decade, there have been several studies which emphasized on the vital role played by Vitamin D, the nutrient which is produced by the skin cells whenever they’re exposed to sun. 600IU is the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D per day though the actual levels are still being reviewed. For best results, ask your doctor about the recommended Vitamin D level.

After spending the childbearing stage of life, you gradually enter the senior phase where you have menopause. Post menopause, the requirements of calories drop again and with age, women tend to lose muscle mass. However, if you can maintain regular exercise and workout, you can again retain your muscles despite being a senior.

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