Nutrients Women Need Most – Cooking Light Mobile
These six key nutrients can keep you healthy
Although mainstream today, the idea that women have different nutritional needs than men isn’t as old as you might think. “The field of women’s nutrition has only been around for a few decades,” says Ann Yelmokas McDermott, Ph.D., M.S., L.N., nutrition scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. Fifty years ago, proper nutrition―for everyone―simply meant three solid meals each day.
“Every year, there’s more promising research revealing how nutrients can have a significant positive impact on disease prevention and general well-being in women,” McDermott says. “That’s great news, because changing your diet is one of the simplest ways to improve your health.” With the help of the American Dietetic Association (ADA), we’ve identified six of the nutrients that women need most. Making sure that you include them as part of a well-balanced diet will help ensure that you become―and stay―your healthiest.
1. Folic Acid
Where to find it: Folic acid is found in fortified breads, cereals and pastas, and in multivitamins. Food sources of folate include dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale; nuts; and legumes.
Where to find it: Calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy products, almonds, and some greens, including kale and broccoli, are the best sources of calcium, but supplements also can help you meet your daily requirement.
3. Vitamin D
Where to find it: Vitamin D is naturally found in oily fish like anchovies and salmon and in fish and cod liver oil supplements. Many dairy products like milk, and even some cereals, are fortified with it.
Where to find it: There are two forms of iron: heme iron, found in animal foods such as red meat, fish, and poultry; and non-heme iron, found in plant foods such as beans and spinach.
Where to find it: Food sources of fiber contain both soluble and insoluble. Look for instant or slow-cooked oatmeal; whole-grain bread and pasta (remember to check the label closely―look for the word “whole”―enriched wheat or multigrain aren’t the same thing as whole-grain); popcorn; fruits, including apples and berries; vegetables like peas and broccoli; and beans, which can contain up to 10 grams of fiber in a serving.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Where to find them: Fish are the best source. Wild salmon, halibut, non-white tuna, sardines, herring, and anchovies are high in omega-3s and low in mercury, a neurotoxin fish obtain from polluted water or by eating other fish that contain high levels of it.
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