Erika’s Post – Healthy Eating for Women
Women, like men, should consume a variety of healthy foods – whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. But women also have specific nutrient needs through different stages of life.
- Iron is a mineral essential to good health and high energy levels in women before menopause. Good sources of iron include red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils, and fortified cereals. When eating an iron-rich plant based food, include a Vitamin C-rich food to help the iron get absorbed into your body. Some examples are fortified cereal with strawberries, tomatoes in lentil soup, spinach salad with mandarin oranges.
- Folate (folic acid) is an important nutrient for women of child bearing age, to decrease the risk of birth defects. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding require 600 mcg and 500 mcg of folate per day, respectively. Women who are not pregnant need 400 mcg per day. Good sources of folate include citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans, and peas. Breakfast cereals, breads, and some other grains are often fortified with folic acid.
- Calcium and Vitamin D are required for women to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, some tofu, and calcium-fortified products such as plant-based milk alternatives, juices, and cereals. Good sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, and fortified products such as milk, milk alternatives, yogurts, and juices.
Whatever stage of life you’re in, eat well!