Sreemathy Venkatraman, Clinical Nutritionist, BRAINS Hospital talks about Women’s Wellness
Women are always multitasking and juggling many activities whether they are homemakers or working professionals. They have no time for themselves as they take care of the family first. But most of the women share a lot of common concerns when it comes to their health.
National Survey (NFHS-4) has pointed out that 54% of the Indian population is anemic. In this category, majority of them are teenage girls and women who suffer from iron deficiency anemia. Women of child bearing age are more prone to anemia. Symptoms of anemia include pale skin, excessive fatigue. Eating iron rich foods as part of the daily diet along with Vitamin C rich foods for better absorption of iron will help to increase hemoglobin. Jaggery, garden cress seeds, dates, amaranth leaves, drumstick leaves, methi are simple common foodstuffs which can be included. Amla, lemon, oranges, and guava are rich in Vitamin C.
Calcium and Vitamin D work in unison to maintain bone health. Both the vitamin and mineral are necessary in your diet to prevent osteoporosis and to maintain bone density. To get 600mg/day (which is the recommended requirement) for women one can include dairy products like curd or Greek yogurt, cheese, panneer, nuts like almonds, ragi, spinach or palak and broccoli. No vegetarian sources like fish varieties salmon and sardines are rich sources. Cod liver oil, egg yolk and fortified milk and cereals can be included to maintain bone health and bone density.
Magnesium plays an important role to strengthen bone structure; furthermore it helps your body to absorb calcium. Best foods for magnesium are pumpkin seeds, palak, amaranth leaves, amaranth flour or rajgheera, sunflower seeds, peanuts peanut butter, wheat germ, flaxseeds.
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
Although a variety of supplements are relieve PMS, Calcium supplements have a therapeutic benefit. Include foods high in calcium as mentioned above. Restricting caffeine is also necessary as it increases irritability and insomnia. Avoid high caffeine aerated drinks even if they are zer calories.
Women always love to have a radiant looking skin. For a glowing skin, drinking water is the most important thing to do in your daily routine. To hydrate well drinking coconut water (low calorie and rich in electrolytes) buttermilk, Lassi or Chaas (rich in probiotics, improves gut health) green tea with honey (rich in antioxidants and detoxifying) are some good choices. Eating fresh fruits loaded with water and important nutrients like watermelon, musk melon, juicy oranges, slices of guavas, kiwis will ensure that you are loaded with Vitamin C which helps in radiant looking younger skin and collagen repair and delays ageing. Omega 3 rich foods loaded with good fats and rich in Vitamin E like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, fish soya beans, helps reduce sagging skin and wrinkles.
Healthy hair not only needs good care on the outside but it needs good nutrients to have a shining thick hair. Adequate protein, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, biotin and Vitamins A. C E and D are essential. Fishes like salmon and tuna, dark leafy greens, (adding palak, methi thrice a week to your diet) almonds, walnuts, or roasted green chenna (rich in protein and omega 3) as a healthy snack will do the trick. Sweet potatoes and yams are packed with Vitamin A, C, iron and calcium. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and biotin Vitamin A and E which are essential for healthy hair. If you a vegan or vegetarian a few choices to include would be dry beans, lentils or dhals, soya bean and tofu.
Weight Loss/ Cravings:
Stop going on Crash diets and following food fads. What works for your friend may not work for you. Eating a sensible balanced diet and an exercise routine that suits your daily routine will keep you in good health and aid in weight loss. Cravings are common when you are stressed due to your child’s exams, admissions, project deadlines and monotonous work. Cravings are centered on texture, (crunchy chips, creamy ice creams, soft warm donuts) taste (sweets, chocolates, salty namkeens). Over indulging will make you feel guilty. Indulge once in a while – preferably a healthier version like dark chocolate, frozen yogurt, fruit smoothies, and air popped popcorn. Moderation is the key, just enough to satisfy your taste buds and cravings.
Simple small changes will give you better health and confidence to face your everyday challenges.