Six Food Components Of Essential Importance For Women

Until 50 years ago, the healthy diet, recommended by nutritionists, was the same for men and women. Thanks to the many studies conducted in the second half of the last century, concerning good nutrition for both sexes, it was possible to identify the different priorities for them.
What is especially important for women to obtain of the diet in order to be healthy? Specialists of are trying to answer this question.
1. Folic acid
Actually it’s a vitamin of group B, which is especially useful for pregnant women (and those who want to become pregnant). Its deficiency can cause neurological birth defects in the child. Folic acid is necessary for the formation of new cells in the body, i. e. its deficiency immediately affects the skin, hair and nails. Moreover, it successfully counteracts the overproduction of another acid – homocysteine, which in large quantities leads to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, senile dementia and other diseases.
According to some scientists, folic acid helps prevent depression (including postpartum depression).
The necessary daily dose is 400 micrograms (mcg).
It is mostly contained in bakery products- wholegrain bread, pasta, as well as spinach, cabbage, nuts and legumes.
2. Calcium
It is a major component of the body and is particularly important for the structure of bones and teeth. Calcium activates bone growth and prevents loss of bone mass – a problem that women suffer most, and that leads to osteoporosis. According to a new study conducted by American scientists, the increased use of calcium significantly lowers the risk of breast cancer.
The necessary daily dose is 1,000 milligrams (mg) to menopause and 1,200 milligrams afterwards. This amount of calcium is best taken 2 times a day (500 -600 mg).
It is mostly contained in dairy products, almonds, broccoli, white cabbage.
3. Vitamin D
Even though it appertains to vitamins, it works as a hormone in the body. The liver and kidneys process it to a particularly biologically active form – Calciferol which helps extract more calcium from food.
It also prevents a number of serious diseases (including cancer of breast, bowel and uterus). Vitamin D is still required for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland and it protects skin from damage and infections.
The necessary daily dose is 2.5 micrograms (for pregnant and breastfeeding women – 10 mcg).
It is contained in greatest amounts in fish, dairy products and eggs.
4. Iron
It plays an important role in supplying the body cells with oxygen – almost two thirds of its volume in the body is a component of hemoglobin, which binds with oxygen and delivers it to tissues. Therefore, the use of iron is essential for maintaining energy and overall functionality. The first consequence of iron deficiency is a common weakness that occurs three times more often in women than in men.
The necessary daily dose is 18 milligrams (until menopause), and afterwards – 8 milligrams. During pregnancy, the rate increases to 27 milligrams.
Contained in liver, shellfish, meat and fish, spinach and beans;
In order to increase the absorption of iron from food, nutritionists recommend that products rich in this element should be taken with foods rich in vitamin C (tomatoes, peppers, citrus fruits).
5. Cellulose
Cellulose is the part of plant foods that is actually not metabolized by the body (although it is divided into soluble and insoluble).
It is essential for functioning of the digestive and circulatory systems. Soluble cellulose binds to cholesterol and prevents its absorption in the intestines, and thus its penetration into blood. Insoluble cellulose affects the intestines – it has a kind of cathartic effect.
Cellulose is processed slowly in the body and the products which contain it are low-calorie, i. e. it creates a feeling of fullness without many calories having been accepted.
The necessary daily dose is 30 grams, which should be divided into three equal portions between breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Contained mostly in oats, wholegrain bread, pasta, corn, most berries, peas, beans and broccoli.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids
The so called “good” fats cannot be produced in the body by processing other types of fatty acids and that is why it is so important to receive them from food.
The regular use of products containing omega-3 may reduce to three times the risk of stroke and heart attack. So they are particularly recommended for people over 45 years. Studies show that these acids have anti-inflammatory effects and they reduce painful symptoms in certain diseases (such as arthritis).
The necessary daily dose is 1.1 grams.
Contained exclusively in oily fish: salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel.
Source: Tsvetan Petrov writes for his health blog Health and Fitness