Women’s health: useful foods at all ages

For one’s own well-being and health, the general rule that is always valid, from 0 to 100 years, is to follow a diet that is as varied and complete as possible. However, each stage of life also corresponds to some nutrients, and therefore some foods, which are particularly useful for satisfying specific needs related to that period and this is especially true for women: every ageindeed, it has different nutritional needs and requirements. It is the case ofadolescencewith the arrival of puberty, of pregnancywhen you need a lot of attention at the table to take care of yourself and your child, the menopausewhich accompanies major hormonal and metabolic changes, and days of period, which often cause disorders that, with the right foods, it is possible to mitigate more easily. In all these moments, nutrition can help you grow, live and feel better. Let’s find out why eating healthy is an ally of female health, at any age, and what are the foods that cannot be missing in each stage of life of the woman.

Adolescence: more foods rich in iron and calcium to support growth

L’adolescence it is a very delicate period because it brings with it many changes, both psychological and physiological, especially a rapid one height growth and the sexual maturation, which for girls coincides with the arrival of the menstrual cycle. In this period, a well-balanced diet, both in terms of caloric intake and in terms of nutrients, is very important to support development. As CREA (Research Center for Food and Nutrition) points out, for adolescents the iron requirementwhich is almost double that of the prepubertal stage and of male peers, and of soccerhigher than that of adults.

It is essential to meet the needs of these two mineral salts with the diet, to avoid the risk of shortages which can affect cognitive functions, the immune system and the development of the skeletal system: precisely in this phase of life, in fact, the peak of bone mass is reached, or that is formed calcium reserves in the bones which, in adulthood, especially after menopause, protects against the risk of osteoporosis.
What to eat, then, to fill up on these two minerals? Meat and fish they are excellent sources of iron and should be served 1-2 times a week (preferring white meat) and 2-3 times a week, respectively. Also legumes not green leafy vegetableslike green radicchio and rocket, are iron-rich foods to be consumed regularly. The milk and its derivativesInstead, they provide a lot of calcium: for this reason it is advisable to eat milk and yoghurt 3 times a day, for example at breakfast and as a snack, and cheese 3 times a week.

Pregnancy: the importance of folic acid for the health of mother and child

It is not true, as we often tend to mistakenly believe, that in pregnancy you have to eat for two. It is a fact, however, that in this period the need for energy and certain nutrients increases, which is essential to consume more abundantly, both with food and through supplementation. One of the most important is thefolic acidessential for the proper development of the fetus and to avoid defects and malformations such as those of the neural tube, which can cause damage to the central nervous system.

For this reason women pregnantand those too of childbearing age who are planning one, should follow a diet rich in this nutrient. They are excellent sources dark green, broad leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes and cabbage, but they are also found in good quantities in other vegetables, such as chard and beetroot, in dried fruit e freshin legumes e Whole grains. It is also recommended to take folic acid supplementsin agreement with your doctor or gynecologist, at least one month before conception and until the third trimester of pregnancy: in this phase of life, in fact, nutrition alone, however balanced and rich in these foods, may not be sufficient to cover the increased daily requirement of folate of women.

A diet rich in calcium, phytoestrogens and vitamin D to better experience menopause

The menopause is a period of major changes in hormonal and metabolic balance. Il drop in estrogen that characterizes this phase of life can cause disorders such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings and palpitations, but it also affects the skeletal metabolismdetermining a reduction in bone density and strength which can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Nutrition helps to act on both these fronts.

One of the most important nutrients in this period is the socceressential for bone health. As we have said, the calcium reserve that serves a counter the inevitable demineralization that occurs in senile age builds much earlier, already in the second and third decade of life, but even in menopause it is still important to continue to take this mineral through the diet to compensate for the physiological loss. The main sources are milk and its derivatives. Better bet on yogurt and low-fat cheeseseating instead seasoned cheeses in moderationmore calories and rich in saturated fat: during menopause, in fact, the basic metabolism decreases and this may promote weight gaintherefore it is advisable to follow a diet not too loaded with fat and calories.

For the health of the skeletal system, the intake of vitamin D, which is used to fix calcium in the bones: among the foods that contain the most there are egg and the pesce. Fish and, in general, molluscs and crustaceans are also very rich in omega 3polyunsaturated fatty acids very beneficial for heart health which in menopause it is important to take with the diet: the drop in estrogen, in fact, reduces cardiovascular protection that these substances carry out naturally, therefore it is useful to bring to the table foods that replace them as protective factors of the well-being of the heart. In addition to fish, dried fruit also provides good quantities of omega 3.

Finally, very important are the foods rich in phytoestrogensnatural substances that help to compensate for the natural decline in estrogen that occurs in menopause: they are an excellent source i legumessuch as chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas and soybeans.
Regularly eating these foods also contributes to alleviate symptoms menopause classics.

Premenstrual syndrome: magnesium against pain and bad mood

It is not a phase of life, but a condition that many women of childbearing age experience every month, in the days before their period, and which is characterized by ailments such as abdominal pain and cramps, heachache, tiredness e irritability. Even against the premenstrual syndrome nutrition can help: i foods rich in magnesium, which promotes relaxation, helping to relax the muscles of the uterus, and has a positive effect on mood. THE Whole grainsthe dried fruiti legumes and the dark chocolate are some of the most precious sources of this mineral salt which is important for female well-being.

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