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These 6 Nutrients Are Essential To Women, Are You Getting Enough Of Them?

The nutrients for women’s health aren’t all that different from those required for men’s health – after all, we’re all homo sapiens. However, women’s bodies do support and undergo certain processes that translate into unique nutritional needs, such as menstruation, menopause, and pregnancy.

As such, there are certain nutrients for women’s health that need to be replenished more regularly in the female diet. This includes omega 3 fatty acids, iron, fibre, calcium, vitamin D, and folic acid.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids cannot be ‘constructed’ in the body by means of converting other types of fat molecules. It is however crucial that women take care to keep these levels up since it holds powerful health benefits for both body and brain. It promotes brain health during pregnancy and early life (very important for expectant moms and their offspring!), improves risk factors for heart disease, fights inflammation, and decreases blood pressure.

As such, it has to be replenished by means of diet or supplementation. Good sources of omega 3 include fish and other seafood, nuts and seeds, as well as plant oils. This includes salmon, tuna, mackerel, flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil, etc.

Tasty omega 3 meal idea: Grilled cold-water salmon or tuna, served with a salad of spinach leaves and walnuts, drizzled in flaxseed oil.

Iron

Iron is one of the nutrients that many women tend to lack in their diets. The mineral forms an essential component in the blood production process. As such, it plays a very important role in keeping energy levels where they should be, since red blood cells carry oxygen to our tissues. When left untreated, chronically low levels of iron can lead to anaemia, which can leave women feeling tired and weak all the time.

Good sources of iron include eggs, red meat (organ meats like liver and kidneys especially), oily fish, chicken, beans and lentils, baked potatoes, cashews, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, whole-grain breads and more.

Tasty iron-rich meal idea: A loaded salad of raw spinach, grilled chicken breast, boiled eggs and lentils, topped with toasted cashews.

Fibre

Fibre passes through your body unabsorbed, so the medical community is torn about calling it a nutrient. Nevertheless, it is a vital component of a healthy diet for any woman. It cleans out the digestive track, keeps things regular, maintains energy levels by helping you feel fuller for longer and has a positive impact on cholesterol levels.

Good sources of fibre include wholegrain cereals, pasta, bread, and oats; fruit like berries, pears and melon; nuts, seeds, peas, beans and other legumes, as well as veggies like broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn.

Tasty fibre-rich meal idea: Steel-cut oats with berries, raw honey, almond milk and a dash of cinnamon (a great anti-inflammatory antioxidant).

Calcium

Calcium is important for healthy bone growth, and prevents diseases like osteoporosis. It has also been shown to play a role in preventing breast cancer, as proven by this 2005 study.

Good sources of calcium include fish with edible bones like sardines and pilchards, whole-grain breads, green leafy veggies like kale, okra and spinach, as well as dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt.

Tasty calcium-rich meal idea: Wholegrain sandwich with sardines, spinach and cream cheese.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body to extract calcium from food. In order for vitamin D to become biologically active, you have to expose bare skin to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes each day. Naturally, this is not always possible in colder countries, which is why many foods are fortified with it.

Good sources of vitamin D include beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, fatty fish like tuna and salmon, as well as fortified plant-based foods like almond milk, wholegrain bread and orange juice.

Tasty vitamin D-rich meal idea: A slice of fortified whole grain toast with a baked egg and cheese, served with a glass of fortified orange juice on the side.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is crucial in the process of creating and maintaining healthy cells and DNA. It also plays a role in keeping age-related cognitive impairment, dementia, strokes and heart disease at bay.

Good sources of folic acid include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, leafy green veggies like spinach, cabbage and kale, as well as chickpeas, kidney beans and organ meats like liver.

Tasty folic acid-rich meal idea: A salad of kale, steamed broccoli and toasted chickpeas, served with a side of sauerkraut (fermented cabbage – an excellent source of natural probiotics!).

By ensuring that you consume these vital nutrients for women’s health on a regular basis, you will pave the way for whole-body wellbeing in the long run. A well-balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise (even just a 30 minute daily walk), and a strong selfcare regime can make all the difference to your vitality – go on, give it a try and see what an amazing difference it makes.

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