Every woman needs to eat right. If you’re a mother, working mum, stay-at-home mum, and especially an expectant mum—you need your vital nutrients to help you stay healthy

IT is no more a men’s world. Women are coming of age and becoming a part of everything that men are doing, and can possibly think of. Women have been versatile in their diverse roles of being a mother, sister, wife and friend. The roles are getting even bigger with the fairer sex storming into all the realms of professional spheres with poise.

Their responsibilities are no more restricted to homes, they have expanded their arms to bring into their horizon myriad jobs and skills. When there are multifarious roles to take care of, ignorance of health is obvious. Irregular eating, consumption of junk food and missing meals are very common with working women. Sometimes, it is a natural phenomenon when pressure is high. But what they forget is that the after  effects are seen at a much later stage, and by that time the damage to the body is already done.

Healthy diet and nutrition is of utmost importance to women, given their bodies undergo many hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. A balanced diet provides enough support at all the stages. It helps to tackle premenstrual syndrome (PMS), boosts fertility, fights stress, makes pregnancy smoother and eases symptoms of menopause. Kanika Malhotra, senior clinical nutritionist, HealthCare at Home advises to eat right and ensure your well being. She offers the following diet guidelines.

THINGS TO TAKE CARE OF: NEVER MISS YOUR MEAL: Follow the essential three times a day meal and try to munch something healthy in between. Munching means taking anything healthy like a fruit or a salad. The repercussion of not eating is that you tend to go hungry all the more, and to satiate it, you eat unhealthy items. Only little thing that needs to be done is planning. The outcome of combination of balanced diet and exercise is lustrous  hair, glowing skin and perfect shape.

COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATE AND FIBER INTAKE: Ditching carbohydrate diet completely is something you should not think of. Meals having complex carbohydrates rich in fiber are a good source of energy supply as they get absorbed slowly. Other than this, the fibre in these meals reduces hunger, preventing you from overeating. Pasta, rice, whole grain breads, beans, fruits, and veggies are great source of complex carbohydrates which are also high on fibre content.

FATS: One thing that women, especially those conscious about their weight and looks, do grossly wrong is that they avoid food which has fat without knowing that it can lead to other problems like skin dryness. Even if they do consume fats, it is in the form of low fat food. Problem with low fat foods is that fat in it is  replaced with starch, which is nothing but another form of sugar. So the result is not too different. It is imperative that you read the label properly before falling for the fad of low fat food. Eating almonds and walnuts is a good way to fill in the gap for fats. Get your food cooked in a combination of vegetable oils. 15 to 20 per cent of total calorie intake should must be fat.

Too much of sugary food leads to bloating and makes one feel heavy an
lethargic. It is also one of the reasons behind weight gain, blemishes and acne on face. It is good to stay away from sweets after meals and from binging on chocolates, cakes, desserts and other sweet items. Long gaps between meals aggravates craving for sugar. The best way is to not have long gaps and take mini meals in between the traditional three-time meal. You can also replace white rice and bread with those with brown ones.

IRON: The risk of osteoporosis being higher in women, they need to consume enough of calcium for good bone health. Beans, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, and collard greens are perfect source for plant-based calcium. Iron is another essential element for women, especially during menstruation. For iron content, intake of lean red meat, dark poultry, lentils, spinach, iron-fortified cereals and almonds is advisable.

While protein is important for body, too much of animal-based protein for women can cause harm as it leads to loss of calcium and decreases bone density. It is advisable that women opt for fish, skinless chicken, low-fat dairy and plantbased protein sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu and soy products rather than red meat and processed meat.

REDUCE STRESS: Changing your lifestyle reduces your stress. Take an adequate sleep of seven to eight hours at least. Get organized, plan things and stop worrying! Lavender, chamomile tea, tulsi, mulethi are some of the herbs that help get rid of stress. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to reduce heart risk factors, stress and depression, so consumption of flaxseeds, unsalted pistachios, walnuts, almonds, salmon and tuna are advisable.

QUIT SMOKING AND CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL: Diet can play a major role in helping you quit smoking. Eating foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, capsicum, amla help in decreasing
the urge to smoke. Keep your mouth busy with the help of a sugar free candy. Decrease your cravings to smoke by smelling on some dried fruits. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Being a women comes with a lot of responsibility. That’s true for your health too!♦

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