Nutritional Requirements of a Woman
Nutritional requirements of a Pakistani woman differs from that of men due to a number of reasons. In certain periods, like in menstrual periods, or during pregnancy, a woman needs more nutrition than in normal cases she should take. It is very important for a woman to understand her nutritional needs in all stages of her life. Here we are discussing the topic to make it more understandable for all.
There are a number of vitamins that are required by the body to perform different functions properly. Some of the required vitamins are:
Vitamin A: This vitamin helps in maintenance of vision, and preventing a number of eye diseases. After the age of six, the required amount of vitamin A of a child becomes equal to that of an adult. In women, the requirement of vitamin A increases one and a half times during lactation.
You can meet the requirements of vitamin A by eating green leafy vegetables, papaya, mango, apricot, raspberry, orange, capsicum, green beans, milk, and other milk products. Carrot is an excellent source of vitamin A. Try to drink carrot's juice as much as you can during its season. If you are taking pills for vitamin A, you should not take them without the consultation of your doctor. Excessive amounts of vitamin A could be a toxic for the vital organs of your body, specially for the liver.
Vitamin B6: Women who use to take oral pills, or if they are pregnant or lactating a baby, might face deficiency of vitamin B6. Children, specially girls over the age of seven also require the same amount of vitamin B6, as adults do.
You can use soybean, pulses, whole wheat, dry apricot, all nuts, including cashew nuts and groundnuts, cabbage, banana, spinach, and potatoes. Milk and milk products also help in fighting with the deficiency of vitamin B6.
Vitamin C: The normal dose of vitamin C for women is 49mg/day. It is same for all the children above one years of age. During lactation, this requirement doubles to 89mg/day. Women who use oral contraceptives, require a higher amount of this vitamin, as the hormones present in these oral contraceptives increase the breakdown of vitamin C.
All the citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Capsicum, tomatoes, all leafy vegetables, pulses, raspberry, banana, papaya, red cherries, dry coconut, mango, dry garlic, coriander leaves, cabbage, turnip, bitter ground, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and lady finger are also good source of vitamin C.
In women, iron is required twice than men on daily basis. It is because of the menstrual cycle and blood loss in women. Because of the deficiency of iron, hemoglobin also decreases, because it is an essential part of hemoglobin present in blood. Hemoglobin supplies oxygen to the body. Due to lower level of hemoglobin oxygen is not supplied properly to the body that results in fatigue, weakness, and laziness. In severe cases, this condition may lead to shortness of breath. In pregnancy, most of the women are suffering from deficiency of iron. A woman must add iron rich food in her diet. The foods with high amount of iron are whole grain cereals, whole pulses, leafy vegetables, dried fruits and eggs.
Calcium is necessary for building up and maintaining bones and teeth. Usually, the daily requirement of calcium in women is 400mg. A lactating mother should increase the daily intake of this mineral.
Milk is an ultimate source of calcium. Cheese, turnip, and popcorn also contain good amount of it.