Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle and can lead to a balance in mood and feelings of well-being.
Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health. The basics of health eating and good nutrition are the same for women and men but women have some unique nutritional needs, especially in different stages of life. Choosing healthy foods most of the time and limiting the amount of unhealthy foods you eat can help prevent or manage many problems that affect women. Additionally, studies show that when a woman eats healthy, everyone in her household is more likely to eat healthy.
Women's nutritional needs change as our bodies change during different stages of our lives:
Before and during pregnancy. You need more of certain nutrients than usual to support your health and baby's development. These nutrients include protein, calcium, iron, and folic acid. Many doctors recommend prenatal vitamins or a folic acid supplement during this time.
After menopause. Lower levels of estrogen after menopause raise your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become weak and break easily. What you eat also affects these chronic diseases. Talk with your doctor about healthy eating plans and whether you need more calcium and vitamin D to protect your bones. Most women also need fewer calories as they age, because of less muscle and less physical activity.