Nutrition in women is important, needs may vary from one individual to another depending on age, conditions such as pregnancy or illness and personal health goals. A balanced diet regardless of the state of health is important for improving and maintaining good health. Women should consume a variety of healthy foods from all of the food groups which include carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and fruits.
Carbohydrates should provide 45%–65% of daily calories. Most of which should come from complex carbohydrates and unrefined foods, such as whole-grain cereals and other whole-grain products, beans and other legumes, and many fruits and vegetables. Protein should provide about 15% of a healthy person’s daily calories. Low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean proteins should be consumed. Total fat consumption should be kept below 30%–35% of daily calories which should be healthy fats, one should avoid saturated and trans- fats. One should avoid processed sugar and high salt intake.
Women who have reached puberty and pre-menopausal have higher Iron needs due to loss during menstruation after menopause these needs reduce. Calcium needs are also increased due to childbearing and to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. For those planning to conceive pre-pregnancy nutrition is key and should be considered as most people have difficulty tolerating food especially during the first trimester where nutrient needs increase especially for iron, folic acid and calcium.
For women of reproductive age, one may find that sometimes one may experience an increased desire for some foods that may be salty, fried, sweets or sugar. One should avoid overindulging as it may lead to increased weight excessive salt intake may contribute to water retention. One can use sweet foods such as fruits as a substitute for sweets.