How do Women’s Nutritional requirements vary from that of Men’s?
Due to the hormonal and other changes that occur in a woman’s life cycle, they are more prone to nutritional deficiency than men. So, it becomes all the more important that they concentrate on their nutritional requirement either by themselves or by taking a professional help.
The dietary requirements for women are largely similar to that of men when they are in their childhood, however, once they come into adolescence, they begin to develop unique nutritional requirements. As we age, our bodies tend to go through more hormonal as well as physical changes, leading to the evolvement of our nutritional requirements, making it vital that our diets evolve to meet these changing requirements. While women tend to require fewer calories than men, their requirements for some minerals and vitamins are quite higher. Hormonal changes related with having a child, menstruation and menopause implies that women have a greater risk of anemia, osteoporosis and weakened bones, needing a greater intake of nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin B9 (folate).
Reasons for Women being short of nutrition
Many of the women today tend to neglect their dietary requirements. The reason could be their hectic schedule which could deny them from eating right, the habit of putting the requirements of their family first or trying to stick to an extreme diet that leaves them short on important nutrients, and feeling hungry, irritable and low on energy. Even the dietary research often tends to neglect the specific needs of women, while it tends to depend on male subjects who have more stable and predictable hormone levels. These studies, at times make the results immaterial or even misleading to the needs of the women. All this can lead to serious shortfalls in their daily nutrition.
While what works best for one woman might not always be the best choice for another, however, the vital thing is to build the dietary preferences around the essential nutritional needs.
Significance of Calcium for Bones
Some of the best dietitians in the nutrition industry would tell you how important calcium is for the body, especially to build healthy bones and teeth, keep them strong as you age, regulate the rhythm of the heart and ensure that your nervous system functions appropriately. A deficiency in calcium can lead to or aggravate mood problems such as anxiety, irritability, difficulty in sleep and depression. If you deny adequate calcium to your body through the diet then the body will take calcium from your bones to ensure normal cell function, which can further lead to weakened bones or osteoporosis. As women are more prone to developing this disease than men, it’s imperative that they get adequate calcium along with magnesium and vitamin D, to support their bone health.
Requirement of Iron
Iron plays an important role in creating the haemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. So, it’s also vital to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. As there’s a lot of blood loss during menstruation, women of childbearing age require more than twice the amount of iron than men do, even more during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, many expert nutritionists including sports nutritionist are of the opinion that many women don’t get adequate iron in their diets, thus making iron deficiency anaemia the most common deficiency in women.
Women’s nutritional requirements differ a lot from men as they are more prone to the hormonal changes and other natural changes. Thus, when they attain puberty it’s vital for them to consult an expert dietitian or nutritionists if possible to regularise their diet.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Arati Shah is an astute sports nutritionist having expertise in offering all types nutrition to different individuals and corporate. Having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition along with a Post-Graduation in Sports Sciences and Nutrition from S.N.D.T Juhu, she is one of the best dietitians in Mumbai who can also guide the concerned parents about the right nutrition for children with same efficacy. She heads the Nutrition team in Mumbai and takes personal interest in each and every client of Café Nutrition.