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Gender Differences In Food Habits

Dr. Shweta U. Shah

Dr. Shweta U. Shah
18 August 2020

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

A balanced, wholesome eating pattern is the very foundation of good health. The key fundamentals of a wholesome diet remain the same for men and women. Incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; consume whole cereals and quality protein and include dairy sources which are low in fat. Steer clear of too much packaged food, trans-fat, and overdose of sugar.

Now, while the general guidelines are the same for males and females, a comprehensive and explicit plan is necessary for women. It becomes important to imbibe healthy eating habits for women.

Men and women need to follow different diet rules!

Men and women have distinct nutritional needs and the needs vary depending up on the body structure, metabolic rate, and the reproductive function. A woman has special nutrient requirements during the diverse phases of her life. Consuming a diet that is chockfull of nutrient-dense foods ensures that you have adequate energy for your busy life, and it promises to significantly cut back on your risk of diseases.

• Understand your calorie requirement: Men have a larger body frame and more muscle mass than women do; consequently, they have increased caloric requirements. On an average, a woman requires approximately 2000 calories per day, whilst a man needs around 2800 calories per day. Typically, women have a smaller build, less muscle mass, and more body fat, thus they require fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight. Also, it is important to balance your calorie intake with your activity level.

• Significance of calcium in a woman’s diet: Eat Breakfast Women are a lot more vulnerable to osteoporosis, because of the changes that occur in the hormone profile every month in relation to menstruation as well as due to childbearing. Pregnant women, lactating mothers and peri-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal women need more calcium than their male counterparts. You must eat plenty of calcium-rich foods on a daily basis. Calcium fortifies your bones and appreciably reduces your risk for osteoporosis. So, load up on - low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, fish, and calcium supplements if necessary.

• Do not overlook the sunshine vitamin: Potatoes proffer starchy carbs which act as high-calorie food for weight gain. The starch in the tuber helps in the release of energy in the form of glucose. Often called a guilty pleasures; you can stack your plate with baked potato wedges, aloo curries and the occasional fries!

• Women and iron insufficiency: Women face a big risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia compared to men – the chief cause is the monthly blood loss in relation to the menses. Women require around 18 mg of iron per day, compared to 8 mg that men need. The requirement for iron is higher during pregnancy and lessens post menopause. Rich sources of the mineral are –meat, fish, leafy greens, beans, and dals. A tip to remember is - plant-based sources of iron are readily and easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods, so try to combine the two whenever possible.

• The import of folic acid: A crucial aspect of healthy diet plans for women is incorporating adequate amounts of folic acid. You need 400 mg of folic acid per day, and the requirement goes up to 600 mg per day during pregnancy and lactation. Sufficient folic acid is essential to avert brain and spinal cord anomalies in a growing fetus. Leafy greens, peas and beans are rich sources. It is also recommended that you confer with your OB/GYN and embark upon supplementation.

Incorporate wholesome and healthy food habits

Radish • You must eat 3 portion sizes of whole grains per day. Integrate atta chapatti, dalia, and rice into your diet.

• 4 to 5 servings of protein rich foods such as – dals, lean meat, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds are very crucial. When buying dals, always opt for unpolished pulses such Tata Sampann Dals which help retain all the essential nutritional value; as they do not undergo artificial polishing with water, oil or leather, they have lower moisture (8-10%) compared to loose dals available in the market.

• Have 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy products to get your calcium requirement.

• Healthy food habits include 2 servings of fresh fruit and 2 servings of veggies!

• Healthy eating habits for women must focus on sources of unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils, nuts and seeds; steer clear of saturated fat and trans-fat.

On the whole, an increased awareness of your nutritional requirement as well as the nutritional value of foods, including calories, the important macro-nutrients, and their vitamin and mineral composition will empower you to make prudent choices, supercharge your health and help you take big strides towards your wellness goals!



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

Eat Breakfast

Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

Skin Care

For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

Eat Breakfast

Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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