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Importance of right diet and nutrition for teenage girls

Luke Coutinho

Luke Coutinho
20 April 2020

This article is authored by Luke Coutinho. Luke is a globally renowned and award winning Holistic Lifestyle Coach in the field of Integrative Medicine.

While talking about the integral role of nutrition for teens’ growth - both boys and girls - it’s meaningful to take into account the importance of diet and nutrition, especially girls, at this age. As the menstrual cycle is one of the fundamental and natural processes that generously takes place in girls’ bodies. The diet and the menstrual cycle share a complementary relation and whatever the diet is taken during this time does have an impact on the cycle. Let’s talk about the nutrition that helps in the menstrual cycle.

Nutrition for a healthy menstrual cycle:

Iron and folic acid-rich foods: Because haemoglobin is a part of blood and a lot of it is lost during the menstrual cycle, a deficiency of that might also cause symptoms like headache, fatigue and weakness. It is, thus, good to take iron-rich foods like Moringa, green leafy vegetables, cumin seeds, beetroot, garden cress seeds and dates.


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Let’s talk about Moringa with its umpteen benefits during the menstrual cycle. A lot of South Indian homes witness its use it - the drumsticks in Sambar and other vegetable preparations. However, not a lot of them focus on the power of nutrients in the leaves that can help with anaemia, immunity, the health of malnourished teens and young girls - not just in rural areas but in urban cities as well. It is nature's multivitamin. Moringa powder is rich in vitamin A and zinc that encourages hair to grow and keep it in good condition. In addition, moringa powder is rich in B vitamins, C and E, biotin, and inositol that provide nutrients to help improve scalp circulation and maintaining capillaries that carry blood to the follicles

Good fats: Good fats help balance the hormonal ups and downs that place during the menstrual cycle. It also helps increase the satiety factor in meals thereby reducing changes of craving and PMS mood swings that are common during menstrual cycle. Consuming nuts, seeds, coconut oil, ghee will allow their bodies to easily boost calories and feel energetic.

Magnesium: It helps in the relaxing of muscles and muscle contraction. It can calm down the nervous system that eventually reduces anxiety. With less stress, the menstrual cycle becomes positive and healthy for teens. Consuming nuts, seeds, leafy greens and cacao can be of big help.

At the end here are some remedies for a pain-free menstrual cycle:

Cacao tea: Cacao contains a rich amount of magnesium and possibly the best food to consume during menstrual cramps as it helps muscles relax.

Jaggery + sesame: Dealing with lethargy can be quite annoying during the menstrual cycle but to soothe the pain jaggery and sesame can be consumed together either in raw form or with a cup of milk. But remember to take sesame seeds in moderation as they tend to generate a lot of heat in the body.

Ginger, turmeric and tulsi tea: Sipping off a cup of warm ginger/tulsi and turmeric tea can ease the discomfort and pain in the menstrual cycle. Ginger helps to lower the level of prostaglandins that are majorly responsible for triggering muscle cramps during the menstrual cycle.



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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Pregnancy’s effect on blood pressure and how a healthy diet helps

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.

It is no mean feat to grow another human being inside oneself. So, it comes as no surprise that pregnancy has several profound impacts on the body.

Plasma volume increases progressively through pregnancy. Cardiac output increases by 20%. The mother’s body requires more iron to produce foetal haemoglobin and certain other enzymes, as well as folate and B12. Her glucose metabolism undergoes changes to provide the foetus with sufficient glucose and energy and fuel its development. And the growing uterus causes mechanical changes to the digestive tract, pushing the stomach upwards and increasing gastric pressure.

Pregnancy and blood pressure

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Among these many changes, one significant shift that women should watch out for is a change in blood pressure. The pregnancy causes blood pressure to decrease in the first and second trimester but increase in the third. This increase in blood pressure can have a significant effect on the foetus if care is not taken.

It can cause a decrease in blood flow to the placenta, affecting the amount of oxygen the baby receives. This can, in turn, lead to intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, or premature birth. High blood pressure can also cause the placenta to be separated from the uterine wall, causing severe bleeding.

There are several factors that contribute to increases in blood pressure during pregnancy. The risk increases if women are overweight or obese, over 35 years of age, not getting enough physical activity, carrying more than one child or have a family history of hypertension.

How a healthy diet can help

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Pregnant woman must also look into their iodine intake, as deficiency of iodine in the mother can lead to congenital abnormalities and decreased intelligence. Supplementation of iodine in severely deficient mothers is likely to increase the IQ of the infant. In severe cases of deficiency cretinism could precipitate. Iodine deficiency also leads to hypothyroid issues in the mother and infant. The easiest and best way to ensure that the required iodine reaches the mother is through iodised salt.

However, one of the main contributors to high blood pressure is dietary sodium. Sodium levels in the diet increase from added salt as well as from processed or ready-to-eat foods. Hence, pregnant women should highly restrict the consumption of foods high in sodiumsuch as pickles, papads, and preserved food. Store-bought sauces are also another prominent contributor of sodium and should be avoided as far as possible.

One good way to do this is to replace salty tastes with tangy or citrus tastes. For instance, pregnant women require a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet to ensure adequate micronutrients. A good way to achieve this without adding more salt to the diet is through fresh salads seasoned with lime juice or coriander.

Another clear contributor to high blood pressure is bad cholesterol. When the arteries get clogged due to cholesterol, this forces the heart to pump harder, which increases blood pressure. Thus, women should also stay away from unhealthy cooking such as fried foods and dishes containing trans fats. What’s more, fried foods also often contain high levels of sodium, which increases sodium intake.

Sweets and desserts, particularly those prepared outside the home, can also be red flag. Such preparations often contain unhealthy fats, which again contribute to bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.

While it might seem like that cravingsareundeniable, all our cravings are learnt and we do get used to a variety of tastes over time. So, when eating while pregnant, it’s time to cut down on sodium-richand fatty foods, and experiment with more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a range of other spices and herbs. This will ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and happy.



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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