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Nutrients Of Importance For Women

A very Happy Women’s Day to all the lovely women out there who are flourishing in various aspects of life and not leaving any leaf unturned. It is very important for women to ensure they are nourished and healthy. In today’s world, where we see no gender discrimination when it comes to nutrient requirements, women's requirements are definitely high compared to men’s due to the demands of the body in each phase of life. We women get so busy taking care of our families that we often fail to keep a check on our body’s requirements and end up with various nutritional deficiencies.

Book an appointment with Ms. Falak Hanif for Nutrition advices and Diet plans.

Let’s brush through various nutrients and their requirements in a woman’s life:


Women require an adequate intake of calories to support energy and nutritional needs for the body to function properly. Energy requirements vary depending on lifestyle, body weight, and age. Carbohydrates are often treated as enemies and tried to be eliminated from the diet as much as possible. But they are equally important and can lead to malnutrition if not taken care of.


It is essential for building and maintaining muscles. Our body’s muscle mass often declines over time, so it’s important to consume adequate protein each day and fulfill its requirements by the body. Women often link protein intake to bulkiness seen in men, which is not true. It is an important nutrient required by women as much as for men, and the requirement also changes depending on the level of physical activity. Women are encouraged to consume adequate protein even during pregnancy as an inadequate protein diet can directly affect the growth of the baby. Lactating mothers are also encouraged to consume adequate protein to maintain good quality of milk and to help them with their recovery. Sources include lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, dairy, and soy foods.


Iron is important in our body for the development of red blood cells, as they carry oxygen around the body and help in strengthening the immune system. The iron requirement of a woman varies from 29mg/day and changes to 27 mg/day for pregnant women and 23 mg/day for lactating mothers. Iron requirements of an adult woman aged 19-50 years are higher compared to men and older women as women can use up their iron reserve during menstruation and it decreases if your iron intake is lower than your requirements. Over a quarter of women would have taken inadequate amounts of iron. Low iron intake can increase the risk of iron deficiency anaemia. Iron is also very important for pregnant mothers. Hence, most of the pregnant mothers are on iron supplements from the second trimester. Sources of iron include spinach, amaranth, peanuts, green gram, jaggery, dates, animal liver, red meat, seashell, eggs, and sardines.


Calcium is also important to maintain both health and helps in the normal functioning of nerves and muscles. Calcium requirements are high during lactation - 1000 mg/day. Since women are at higher risk of osteoporosis as they grow older, it is important to maintain calcium levels. The majority of women are found deficient in Calcium which makes them feel weak. Sources of Calcium include milk and milk products like paneer, cheese, yoghurt, calcium-fortified dairy products such as soy drinks and yoghurts, ragi, and bread (white, brown and wholegrain).

Folate and Folic Acid:

Folate is a nutrient that is crucial for a healthy pregnancy as it helps to prevent neural tube defects in a developing fetus. Folate, along with Vitamin B12, helps in producing red blood cells in the bone marrow. Folic acid is highly recommended for women planning for pregnancy. Women are encouraged to be on folic acid supplements six months before they plan to conceive as it helps in a healthy pregnancy. Sources include lentils, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, avocados, and folate-enriched grain products, and beef liver.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D, together with Calcium plays a key role in building and maintaining our body’s skeletal health as it helps the body absorb calcium from the food or supplement consumed. Vitamin D deficiency may cause diseases like rickets and osteomalacia in children and adults. Older women are at increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency as the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D declines as a woman ages. Sources include tuna, salmon, egg yolks, and fortified milk, sunshine.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

These are the good fats that improve cognition and heart health. They also help in maintaining and regulating the body’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Women are also highly encouraged to consume foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy. Pescatarians can easily get this nutrient if they eat fishes frequently whereas vegetarians might have to look for other sources like almonds, walnuts, and seeds. Sources include salmon, tuna, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.

Vitamin C:

This Vitamin maintains immune health as well as the formation of hormones in the body. It is a powerful antioxidant and it also contributes to collagen synthesis and contributes to maintaining our bones, skin elasticity, and muscle health. It is always encouraged to consume foods rich in Vitamin C along with Iron-rich foods to increase its absorption. Postnatal mothers often avoid vitamin C-rich sources with the fear that the acid in it might slow down the healing process. But, in fact, Vitamin C-rich foods are encouraged post-delivery as they speed up the healing process. However, people suffering from acidity can skip Vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C Sources include citrus fruits, bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and strawberries.


Adequate dietary fiber intake has been associated with several health benefits, including maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract. It is always better to consume foods rich in dietary fibers as it is associated with improved glycemic control, which is an important dietary approach to helping manage diabetes. A diet low in fiber can cause constipation, piles, difficulty in bowel movement. Some lactating mothers tend to skip fiber-rich foods intake due to restrictions set by the family and end up suffering from piles and constipation. So, a fiber-rich diet in every stage of life is important. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, brown rice and popcorn.

Vitamin B12:

It helps keep the body’s blood and nerve cells healthy and also contributes to DNA synthesis. Maintaining B12 levels, i.e., 2.2 ug/d, results in preventing megaloblastic anemia, a blood condition that makes people feel lethargic and weak. Vitamin B12 absorption may decrease with age. Also, if you intake some medications, it can further reduce its absorption. Sources include milk, eggs, lean red meat and fortified cereals.


It is important for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, bone, blood pressure, making protein and DNA. Magnesium absorption decreases as we age, and older women may require medication that alters their magnesium status and puts them at risk for magnesium depletion. Food sources include legumes, green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), fortified breakfast cereals, milk, nuts, seeds, whole grains and yogurt.

Water: Water is directly involved in every process in our body. Decreased water intake can result in dehydration. Drinking ample water also energises muscles and hydrates the skin.

Want to consult the Best Nutritionists/Dietitians in India? Please find the links below.

  1. Best Nutritionists/Dietitians in Bengaluru
  2. Top Nutritionists/Dietitians in Chennai
  3. Best Nutritionists/Dietitians in Mumbai
  4. Top Nutritionists/Dietitians in Pune
  5. Best Nutritionists/Dietitians in Chandigarh
  6. Top Nutritionists/Dietitians in Gurgaon
  7. Top Nutritionists/Dietitians in Noida
  8. Best Nutritionists/Dietitians In Panchkula
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