Most women will ask their peers, friends and family members about what their weight loss secrets are. However, when was the last time you asked (or heard another woman ask) one of her companions what the secret of her amazing health and amazing strength is? We’ll ask for and share skin and hair hacks, culinary and childrearing hacks, dating app tips, even bedroom secrets and strategies to cope with office (or inlaw) politics.
However, save for athletes and women looking for a nutritious pregnancy diet, you’ll be hard pressed to overhear women discussing foods that keep them strong.
And yet, we want to be superheroes in our own right, being boss-ladies in the boardroom, nurturing our ageing parents and growing children, looking like a million bucks for our spouses (and on social media), getting our passports stamped as often as possible and so on.
But what nutritious food are you eating to make all of this possible? Even more so if you are pregnant?
Here are some health food tips that you can use if you are looking for a pregnancy diet or even if you simply want to include more nutritious foods in your daily diet.
Vital nutrients for women’s health
- Folic acid/ folate/ vitamin B9
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3 fatty acids
Why women tend fall short of these key nutrients
There is a long list of reasons why you might experience less than optimal levels of energy owing to a shortfall of these vital nutrients. Some of these reasons are
- Breast feeding
During these times your body might need a booster of relevant ingredients.
- Alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and tea could inhibit the absorption of these vital nutrients
- High sodium foods and salty snacks can similarly interfere with absorption of nutrients
These factors might additionally interfere with the secretion and creation of minerals that are key to overall strength and wellbeing.
- Iron absorption can further be inhibited when you go for a very high fibre diet.
- Low levels of vitamin D are common because most of us spend most of our time cooped up in our offices and certainly do not get any early morning sun.
- Calcium supplements might inhibit the absorption of other vital nutrients.
List of nutritious foods to include in your diet
- Curd and other forms of dairy: Especially when you are pregnant and breastfeeding, some amount of dairy is essential to keeping calcium levels optimized. In general curd is ideal for women’s sexual and reproductive health as it prevents vaginal yeast infections.
- Red meat, chicken and fish are great sources of iron and protein. You need to eat these even when you take iron supplements to get your share of zinc.
- Alternatively if you are vegetarian, you might want to go with legumes and nuts and green leafy vegetables. You also get your share of folate from nuts and legumes, which make for healthy snacks
- Salmon and sardines are good sources of vitamin C if you are lactose intolerant (or vegan/ cruelty free etc).
- Fish and iodised salt typically take care of iodine requirements.
- Get your vitamin C intake from oranges of course, and also papayas, strawberries, and of course amla.
- Omega 3 fatty acids can be obtained from fatty fish like mackerel, which is very readily (and cost-effectively) available in India.
- Flaxseed is a super food and is also an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. It also keeps irritable bowel syndrome at bay.
- Oats makes a very nutritious breakfast food and play a huge role in keeping you energised because they promote proper conversation of glucose to energy. Eat oats for your daily intake of vitamins B6 and B9 as well
- Cranberries are an excellent and foolproof way to keep UTI at bay.
We have presented only a small amount of essential foods as compared to the entire world of foods available out there. Plus, doesn’t nutrition go further than food? Here are some key fundamentals to keep in mind in order to get all the nutrients you need on a daily basis:
- You’ll eat more during your period. Throw your diet out of the window for 4 days per month.
- A nourished body is most likely not going to look like body goals propagated by lots of influencers. Please understand how Facetune and other editing apps work (and do some research into how influencers ‘present’ products by looking the part) before you deny yourself of nutritious food.
- Healthy food need not be different from tasty food. Do your research. Not everything that isn’t deep fried is boring.
- Eat your meals at regular, paced intervals and eat at the same time everyday so that your body does not end up storing fat from fear that it won’t be fed. This will also minimize migraines, weakness and acidity.
- Remember this: any diet fad that comes out now cannot be tested for side effects decades down the line.
- Start your day with a big, hearty breakfast to keep energy levels brimming and cravings low throughout the day
- Consider chilled fruit and bowls of yoghurt as alternatives to your sweet cravings.
- Experiment with different types of herbal tea (there are more alternatives than you can imagine!) as alternatives to caffeinated beverages, milk tea and alcohol.
Lack of sufficient nutrition can stand in the way of your career and your happiness. A nourished body is a healthy body – neither skinny, nor overweight. Get your essential dose of daily nutrition to power through your demanding schedule and even more so if you are pregnant.