By Shabana Praveen
Women everywhere are multi-tasking. And their busy schedules can sometimes make it difficult for them to maintain a healthy diet. Women over 30 are the most active, whether at work or at home doing household chores. But the hormonal changes associated with menstruation, childbearing and menopause mean they have a higher risk of anemia, osteoporosis and other health problems, requiring a higher intake of nutrients such as iron. , calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B9 (folate).
Imbalanced calorie and protein intake due to improper food intake leads to weight problems, which makes women severely underweight or obese. A correct balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in the daily diet provides essential benefits for optimal female health and provides adequate energy for daily activities. Emphasis should be placed on certain nutrients and food sources to compensate for body changes beginning around age 30. These include foods that help build lean muscle, build strong bones, and prevent disease.
A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods and saturated fats is essential for women in their thirties to watch their weight.
Here are some of the foods that women over 30 should include in their diet to lead a healthy life.
Carbohydrates: Increase the consumption of complex carbohydrates which can come from whole grain cereals, millets, ragi, jowar, bajra, etc.
Protein: You need to increase your protein intake to improve your metabolic rate and calorie burning potential. Protein is an important macronutrient for muscles, skin, bones, hair and body tissues. Dietary guidelines recommend 0.8 grams to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. High protein sources are legumes, beans, legumes, soy, nuts, chicken, fish, eggs, etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids: It is a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential for certain vital functions and benefits. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is essential for the development of eyes, nerves and membranes. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are important for the production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance, which generally helps regulate blood pressure, inflammation, neurological functions, the production of hormones, etc. It relieves rheumatoid arthritis, to prevent osteoporosis and reduces the risk of cancer.
Sources are fish and other seafood (fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines), nuts, and seeds (such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts ), vegetable oils (such as linseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil).
Vitamin D and Calcium: These are important for bone metabolism, and they support muscle strength and function. Vitamin D also aids in the absorption of calcium. Low levels of vitamin D lead to an increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, or high blood pressure. In pregnant women, low vitamin D levels are linked to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and poor pregnancy outcomes.
The ICMR-NIN recommends 600 international units of vitamin D for adults. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, and good dietary sources include egg yolks, fish and liver, dairy products, and fortified cereals. Always consult a doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
As you age, your estrogen level decreases, which negatively affects your bone density. Therefore, increased calcium intake along with vitamin D becomes essential at this stage. Women need about 1000 mg of calcium per day. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, fish, tofu, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice and the cereals.
The iron: When your body doesn’t have enough iron, your blood will lack healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to body tissues. Some of the common symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, shortness of breath, noticeable heartbeat (heart palpitations), and pale skin. Women in their thirties fall into the category with the greatest risk of iron deficiency.
Rich sources of iron are dried fruits, nuts, iron-fortified breads and breakfast cereals, legumes (mixed beans, baked beans, lentils, chickpeas), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach , broccoli). For better iron absorption, it is also important to include vitamin C in your diet, which can come from all kinds of citrus fruits, lemon, orange, kiwi, grapefruit, bell pepper, strawberry , tomato, broccoli, etc.
Fibre, vitamins and antioxidants: They are very important for a healthy metabolism, boosting immunity and repairing cellular damage. Good sources are whole grains, oats, barley and rye, fruits like berries, pears, melon and oranges. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots and sweet corn, peas, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are also sources of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.
The author is an expert in Nutrition and Dietetics at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon.
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