What is Nutrition?
At its most basic level, your body breaks down food into three basic components— sugar (carbohydrates), fat, and protein. Your body uses these three things to perform different functions and fuel itself. However, at a higher level, there are some nutrients that are essential to women at different stages of life.
It’s important for women to make up for the amount of iron they lose while bleeding prior to menopause. It’s also extremely important during pregnancy. In order to get sufficient iron, choose foods like red and lean meats, fish, leafy greens, beans, and lentils. Be sure to pair it with foods rich in Vitamin C for better absorption.
Folic acid, or folate, is a B vitamin and is essential in preventing certain birth defects if you plan to become pregnant. Folate can be found in citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans and peas, and fortified breakfast foods. You can also supplement folic acid, which is recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Calcium and Vitamin D
These nutrients go hand-in-hand in maintaining bone health over your lifetime. Women begin to lose bone density more rapidly after menopause because of a lack of estrogen (sometimes leading to osteoporosis), so eating a diet rich in low-fat dairy and calcium-fortified foods is essential at every stage of life. Foods rich in Vitamin D include fatty fish and fortified milk, yogurt, and juices.
Why is Nutrition Important?
In some cases, nutrition is more important than exercise when it comes to remaining healthy and reducing your risk of certain health concerns. Learning about which foods to include in your diet and which to avoid can help optimize your health and establish healthy lifestyles for the long term.
What Steps Can I Take?
You can begin by taking stock of your dietary habits. A healthy eating plan should include:
- Whole grains such as whole grain bread, whole wheat cereal, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and oats
- Low-fat dairy such as milk, yogurt, and cheese or calcium-fortified leafy greens
- Protein such as lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts
- Fruit that is unsweetened, either fresh or frozen
- Vegetables that are colorful, whether fresh, frozen, or canned (without added salt)
It’s recommended that women generally avoid foods high in added sugar or saturated fat, since these can contribute to a risk of heart concerns. Additionally, women should limit their alcohol intake to one drink per day. Your gynecologist can assess your diet and recommended our nutrition services to develop the right eating plan for you and your health.
Schedule an Appointment
If it seems like too much to tackle on your own, our team can help. To meet with our expert nutritionist and gynecology team, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.