Every year 8 March is celebrated as International Women’s Day, this day is celebrated all over the world in order to empower and educate women all over the world. The cultural events of women are celebrated. Now women is a charm for every steps of life nothing is possible without their contribution. Women take different roles in their life, the hectic work schedules with a wide array of responsibilities, enormous amount of stress and during these roles she compromises on her health and well being. Looking after her children, women always put themselves last and in this they tend to ignore their own health.
Women’s bodies from birth, puberty, middle age to old age many hormonal changes take place in the body. Metabolic and hormonal changes play an important role in women’s health. No matter how busy we would be, we should never skip meals and make sure to balance all nutrient requirements with the intake of healthy diet. There are number of health problems related to women’s health. Let’s have a look at some of the issues.
1) Osteoporosis: It means porous bone. One of every two women over age 50 will have osteoporosis. Bone mass begins to decline naturally with age. Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of osteoporosis. Lack of Vitamin D, the body cannot absorb enough calcium. Infrequent menstrual cycles also increases the risk. This is the most common problem found in women mainly in later stages of life. Now a days we can see it even in early age also.
2) Breast cancer: Most common type of cancer in women worldwide. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissues. It can occur at any age but generally after the age of 40. It is caused by damage to cell’s DNA.
3) Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) : Growth of small cysts in the ovaries which are not harmful but causes imbalance in women’s levels of sex hormones. Causes problems with menstrual cycle, most common cause of infertility. Unwanted changes in the look (acne, excess body, facial hair). Hormonal balances and genetics play a role.
4) Anemia: Decrease in the amount of hemoglobin. Various symptoms like fatigue, pale skin colour, weakness, hair loss etc. Anemia can been seen at any age now. Normally women of child bearing are at a higher risk of developing this condition because of blood loss from menstruation. There are intestinal and chronic disorders that can lead to anaemia.
5) Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) : 2nd most common type of infection. 40-50% of women have this infection once in lifetime. This problem is common in any age. Common symptoms include frequent urge of urination, painful and burning sensation while urinating, strong smelling. Risk factors include poor personal hygiene, pregnancy, menopause, suppressed immune system.
6) Menopause- All women go through menopause. The average age of onset for menopause is 51 but nowadays it can be seen in early age also. Symptoms are hot flashes, depression, irregular menstruation, insomnia, weight gain.
There is a long list of women’s related health concern but few health problems of women needs a special consideration. So good nutritional requirements is necessary for them. There are certain nutrient which is require to reduce above complication.
Calcium is important for bone health. As many bone health related issues are rising up from childhood itself, calcium should be included in the diet itself. Rather than taking supplements at later stage we need to start incorporating calcium rich foods from the start only. Consumption of dairy products is downright essential. Ragi, chickpeas, egg, milk, curd should be part of diet.
Vitamin D plays an important role for absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is synthesized in the body in presence of sunlight. Requirement of calcium and vitamin D increases as women get older.
Iron- Important for good health and energy in women prior to menopause. Plant based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by our body when eaten with vitamin C. Iron is important from adolescents as many girls are suffering from anemia. Foods that provide iron include spinach, fish, meat, chicken, beans, lentils etc.
Water- Drinking minimum 8 glasses of water can help in keeping the skin moisturized and reduce vaginal dryness. Drinking water will also help in keeping the bloating also.
Along with these, Discipline is a key to living a healthy life. Certain other key factor also important like
· Eat meal on time
· Reduce stress levels
· Avoid junk food and unhealthy meal consumption
· Be Active
· Limit sugar intake
Dietitian Arti Jain
Chief Nutritionist & Obesity Consultant, Diabetic Educator